Physician Wellness: A Call to Action
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Posted by: Dr. Sunil Joshi
I am writing again today to express my deep concern about physician burnout and associated suicides in Northeast Florida. Recent studies suggest that 46% of all physicians suffer with symptoms of burnout. We all know the reasons which include electronic medical records, government regulations, malpractice and lower reimbursements just to name a few. Most of you are aware that we have had two physician suicides in the last 3 months and a death from drug overdose as well. Our rate of suicide is now over 5 times higher than the age adjusted suicide rate. We have a problem.
The Duval County Medical Society Foundation launched a physician wellness program in 2017. This completely CONFIDENTIAL program refers physicians to a mental health counselor for up to six sessions at no cost. There is a 24 hour wellness line (904-631-1446). There are four certified counselors to choose from with appointment times that can be convenient for a busy physician. There are also emergency sessions available.
It is also very important to note that there is not a medical record created by this program and it is approved by the Florida Board of Medicine. The 2017 Physicians Foundation Annual Report showed that more than 50% of physicians indicated concern about impact on licensure and ability to practice medicine as factors for not seeking professional treatment. We have ensured that you will not be impacted by using the DCMS Foundation Physician Wellness Program.
This program has received over 20 calls and has paid for 15 sessions in the last few months. It is clearly helping to open up conversations for physicians who need guidance. We want to desperately expand this program, but we need your help. Please forward this letter to your friends or colleagues so that they are aware of this potential benefit.
The DCMSF pays for up to six sessions at $100/session. Please consider donating to this worthy cause. Any gift would be welcomed, but we would truly appreciate a gift of $1000 as this would provide 10 sessions to those who desperately need our help. You may donate online at www.dcmsonline.org/pwpdonation.
I personally ask that you strongly consider supporting this worthy cause which helps support our colleagues in need. Once again thank you for your service to our community and your passion for our profession!
Sunil Joshi, MD
DCMS Foundation President