CA auditing drug programs for health professionals

Last year, the Medical Board of California shut down its confidential addiction treatment program for doctors after a series of audits concluded that the program wasn't working. The program, which let drug- and alcohol-abusing healthcare providers avoid public discipline by getting treatment and agreeing to random drug tests, wasn't doing enough to protect the public from harm caused by impaired doctors, the board concluded. Now, the state is taking a hard look at similar "diversion" programs for nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals. Currently seven other healthcare boards offer such programs. Advocates for health professionals, for their part, were disappointed by the Medical Board's decision to drop the diversion program, and hope the legislature will step in and create an alternative option. Otherwise, they suggest, impaired professionals will be more likely to cause harm, since they'll hide their condition as long as possible.

To learn more about this issue:
- read this Los Angeles Times piece

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