[MCOH-EH] [EXTERNAL] Physician Fitness for Duty

Deborah a Sampson da.sampson at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 10 11:37:50 PST 2019

Hello Mona,

A facility where I worked was in this very same situation with a surgeon several years ago.

Because physicians had no job descriptions, it was very difficult to have ‘fitness for duty’ evaluation criteria that fit state and federal employment and anti discrimination/reasonable accommodations law.  After meeting with the physician, who had a myriad of significant health concerns, and consulting our facility attorneys, we had few options but to allow the physician to continue work. This physician worked weekends only (24 hour on call shifts on both Saturday and Sunday) weekly because he didn’t want to give up being a surgeon and the Chief of Surgery said that no other surgeons wanted to take weekend call….

 It was not until the physician collapsed at work and died ( fortunately without harming a patient) that HR and EH were able to convince administrators and physician leadership that job descriptions should be instituted for physicians but I am not sure it was ever done. 

My belief is that anyone working in healthcare should be able to be held accountable in the defined objective criteria of a well crafted job description. It allows greater protection for the worker, facility and, most importantly, patients. 

Good luck
Deb Sampson
Deborah A. Sampson, PhD, APRN FAANP

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From: Teichman, Ron F
Sent: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 12:57 PM
Subject: Re: [MCOH-EH] [EXTERNAL] Physician Fitness for Duty

My first and primary response is that I have never met an attorney that would rather defend a wrongful death claim due to inaction when a problem was known than defend a discrimination or restrained of trade when there is objective evidence of impairment. Therefore, move forward with the clinical assessment as you lay out and ignore the propensity to sue.
Just MHO,
Ron Teichman, MD, MPH
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From: MCOH-EH <mcoh-eh-bounces at mylist.net> on behalf of Dr. Mona Khanna <drmona10 at gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 6:23:37 PM
To: mcoh-eh at mylist.net <mcoh-eh at mylist.net>
Subject: [EXTERNAL] [MCOH-EH] Physician Fitness for Duty 
Greetings, Work Medicine Specialists --

I have been asked to assist in determining whether a physician on hospital staff is too functionally impaired to perform a job as an interventionalist. The issues are decreased vision and tremor. The procedural staff has raised concerns, but in the past the physician has quashed them with the help of a heavyhanded attorney. 

We all know the usual approach to this process with regular hospital "employees" - obtain a job description, perform a history and physical exam, obtain specialist reports and then define what the individual can/can't do via work restrictions. How should we handle this when the object is a non-employee physician on staff, there is no job description, and there is a very low threshold for litigation? 

Thank you. 
Mona Khanna, MD

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