The Monitoring Contract is a five-year, legally binding document tailored to the specific recovery needs of the impaired professional. The contract requires total abstinence from alcohol and drugs of abuse; self-help group attendance; random urine screens, individual or group therapy; and monitored professional practice.
How are the urine screens performed?
Urine screens are conducted by a designated Medical Review Organization (MRO) which provides random, supervised collection and testing of urine specimens for the expressed purpose of screening for the presence of alcohol and/or other drugs. The number of required urine specimens each year may vary, but each participant is required to have at least fifteen annually.
What kind of therapy will I have to have?
Formal therapy is a very important component of the MPRS program, and length and frequency will be specified in each individual contract. However, a minimum attendance of two visits per month is required during the first two years. An approved therapist must have demonstrated education in the field of chemical dependency/substance abuse and be willing to collaborate with the necessary MPRS reporting requirements.
What kind of self-help groups will I have to attend?
All MPRS participants are required to regularly attend self-help group meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Rational Recovery, A Way of Life and Women for Sobriety. Other programs may also be acceptable to MPRS. Participants are required to attend a variety of meetings and to obtain a sponsor.
I have been practicing with no history of complaints or discipline. If I enroll in MPRS, will I be restricted from practice?
All MPRS applicants should typically expect to be required to adhere to some form of practice restrictions, especially in the first year of the program. The history and severity of the substance abuse generally determine these restrictions. Required restrictions may range from changes in working hours and access to narcotics, to total restriction from practice for a period of time. The first tenet of MPRS is to protect the public health and safety.
How long do I have to follow the Contract requirements?
MPRS is a five-year program. At the completion of five years, the licensee graduates from the program and may expect to return to professional practice without restrictions, provided no other impediments to unrestricted practice have presented during that time period. However, an MPRS participant may request changes in his or her Monitoring Contract. It should be noted that compliance for six months with all contract terms is required before any requests for changes may be granted.
Is admittance into MPRS confidential?
All inquires to MPRS are kept strictly confidential, and self-referrals are not reported to any disciplinary database. Communication about an applicant's participation in the MPRS program between the MPRS staff, therapists, health care providers, and employers may be required, however. Before admittance occurs, the applicant signs specific releases specifying with whom MPRS staff may communicate.
However, MPRS admittance is not a way to prevent the disciplinary process. Even in the case of self-referral, if at any time during participation in the MPRS program a complaint is filed regarding impaired performance, drug diversion or other substance abuse allegation, MPRS becomes part of the disciplinary process.
Those licensees who are referred to MPRS through disciplinary action by a Board of Registration have generally signed a Consent Agreement with the Board stipulating this action. The Consent Agreement itself is public record. However, the terms of the Monitoring Contract are not subject to public disclosure.
Does confidentiality continue if I do not complete the MPRS Program?
In cases of self-referral, if, at any time prior to signing the Monitoring Contract, the applicant withdraws request for admittance, no further action is taken on the part of MPRS, and the process ends. Once the contract is signed, however, adherence to the contract requirements is mandatory. Non-compliance or withdrawal from the program may result in referral to the appropriate Board of Registration for action. MPRS is always happy to review contracts with an applicant's therapist or legal counsel before signing.
Who is eligible to apply for admittance into the program?
Any licensee of the seven boards within the Division, subject to participation in the program by the Board. The Board of Registration of Nursing has its own Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP).
How much will it cost to participate in MPRS?
There is no fee for entrance into the program. However, the licensee must bear the responsibility of all associated costs, including the initial assessment, therapy visits, urine screens, and continuing education classes. Self-help attendance is free of charge, and many insurance plans offer coverage for therapy visits. The initial assessment is between $200 and $400, and each urine screen is between $50 and $100. Some insurance plans will cover this expense as well.
I have had problems with prescription drugs. Do I have to abstain from alcohol as well?
Yes. In addition, there are certain over-the-counter medications you must avoid.
This information is provided by the Division of Health Professions Licensure within the Department of Public Health.