Donations sought to help sustain Physician Assistance Program
The 2017 fund-raising campaign for the ISMA Physician Assistance Program (ISMA PAP) is under way, with letters sent to past and potential donors last week.

The ISMA PAP is available to assist all practicing physicians in Indiana who have substance use disorders, physical or psychiatric illnesses and behavioral concerns. The highly regarded, confidential program is the only one of its kind in the state to help physicians and their families, colleagues, hospitals and employers.

Andrew Satz, MD, a longtime active ISMA member and managing partner of Northside Anesthesia in Indianapolis, considers the program invaluable.

“The ISMA PAP fills a critical need to help physicians when they need it most and can set a directed course of recovery,” Dr. Satz said. “Not only do we have an opioid epidemic in the general population, the problem also exists within the physician community, requiring vigilance and careful attention. This program provides the critical services needed along with a keen ability to help restore physicians to health safely and effectively.”

The ISMA PAP also utilizes state-of-the-art toxicology screening and clinical programs designed to optimize best-practice outcomes. One innovative option that yields consistently favorable outcomes is a Distressed Physician Course, which meets for one weekend, followed by one-day sessions at intervals of one month, three months and six months. Another successful program is a “virtual” group for physicians struggling with behavior in the workplace. These physicians are connected by phone with a master’s-trained therapist and other physicians to discuss the week and any events that may impact their workplace status.

The ISMA PAP is directed by physicians, for physicians and provides much-needed, established resources where few exist. These include:
  • Consultations with hospital administration, staff and committees
  • Assistance with interventions involving potentially impaired physicians
  • Education for interested groups throughout the state
  • Referrals for evaluation and, if necessary, treatment
  • Monitoring services for participants, including drug screening
  • Long-term advocacy on behalf of participants, including compliance letters and testimony before the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana

The ISMA PAP relies on contributions to continue to meet the growing needs of Indiana physicians facing health difficulties. If you would like to contribute or have questions, please contact program coordinator Candace Backer at (800) 257-5762 or