Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the TXPHP?

The Texas Physician Health Program (TXPHP) promotes wellness and the treatment of health conditions that may compromise a health professional’s ability to practice with reasonable skill and safety. The confidential program provides early intervention, assessment, treatment referrals and post-treatment monitoring for health professionals affected by potentially impairing conditions, including substance use disorders, physical illnesses, and psychiatric conditions.

2. Which health professionals does the TXPHP support?

The program supports physicians, physicians-in-training, physician assistants, acupuncturists, acudetox specialists, surgical assistants, medical radiological technologists, non-certified radiologic technicians, respiratory care practitioners, medical physicists, and perfusionists. The program is also open to medical students and those in the process of applying for a license through the Texas Medical Board or its advisory boards.

3. What are the eligibility criteria for participation?

An individual who has or may have mental or physical impairment or substance use disorder is eligible to participate in the program.

4. Does the TXPHP treat participants of the program?

No. The TXPHP does not treat those who participate in the program but facilitates a participant’s treatment and provides monitoring support as needed. In addition to monitoring, the TXPHP provides education, recognition, and assistance in diagnosis, treatment, and management of potentially impairing conditions.

5. Are TXPHP participants automatically reported to the Texas Medical Board?

No. A TXPHP program participant’s file is confidential and is not available to the Texas Medical Board (TMB) so long as the participant is in compliance with their Monitoring and Assistance Agreement. The TMB may, as a term of an issued Board order, require a public referral to and compliance with the TXPHP.

6. When is the TXPHP required to report participation in the program to the Texas Medical Board or Advisory Board?

An individual applying for a license from the TMB, and existing licensees of the TMB, may need to self-report participation in the TXPHP when providing information on any current impairing condition as part of their application or license renewal. In that case, upon request of the TMB, the TXPHP will confirm to the TMB only the fact of participation. A participant’s written permission is required for the TXPHP to release any additional information to the TMB, with the exception being for cases involving a substantive violation of a Monitoring and Assistance Agreement, or if a participant poses a continuing threat to the public welfare through their practice.

7. How is the TXPHP connected to the Texas Medical Board?

The TXPHP was established by the Texas Legislature (Senate Bill 292, 81st Legislature) in 2009. The state legislature created the TXPHP as an independent and confidential program, overseen by its own Governing Board of eleven members. The TXPHP Governing Board President is appointed by the President of the Texas Medical Board and the TXPHP receives administrative assistance from the TMB such as financial and support services and joint efforts representing the TXPHP before the state legislature.

8. What is the role of the TXPHP’s Governing Board?

The TXPHP is overseen by a Governing Board whose eleven members are experienced in addressing health conditions commonly found in the population of program participants. The Governing Board reviews cases in which participants are in substantive non-compliance with the requirements of their Monitoring and Assistance Agreements and makes recommendations to the Texas Medical Board’s (TMB) Disciplinary Process Review Committee, and respective sub boards for other license types, for final determination and action. The TXPHP Governing Board appoints members of the TXPHP Advisory Committee. The TXPHP Governing Board does not have rulemaking authority. The TMB promulgates all rules pertaining to TXPHP in 22 Tex. Admin. Code Chapter 180. The Governing Board approves participant management policies and procedures with oversight from the TMB. Governing Board members are required to maintain confidentiality and no members of TXPHP’s oversight body can be engaged in the treatment of the program’s participants or have other conflicts of interest – real, perceived, or implied.

9. How does participating in the TXPHP impact Texas Medical Board license status and license renewal?

The TMB understands that medical or mental health treatment is a normal part of many people's lives and receiving treatment such as counseling or therapy does not alone disqualify a licensure application or prevent the renewal of a license. However, the TMB is obligated to determine whether a licensee or applicant is physically and mentally fit to practice and, therefore, must inquire to the extent necessary to make this determination. The TXPHP is a resource available for all licensees and applicants who may suffer from a condition that is or could impair their ability to practice. TXPHP does not itself treat those who participate but facilitates a participant’s treatment and provides monitoring as needed. Examples of conditions that TXPHP can monitor include: substance use disorders and addiction issues, mental health issues, and other medical conditions that may interrupt a licensee’s practice. Upon submission of a licensure application or license renewal, the TMB may privately refer an applicant or licensee to the TXPHP. Individuals who have violated the standard of care as a result of the use or abuse of drugs or alcohol, committed a boundary violation with a patient or patient's family member(s), or been convicted of, or placed on deferred adjudication community supervision or deferred disposition for a felony, may be publicly referred by the TMB through the entry of a disciplinary order that addresses the standard of care, boundary, and/or criminal law related violations.

10. How is the TXPHP Funded?

The TXPHP is funded via a minimal surcharge collected from each professional regulated by the Texas Medical Board or its advisory boards and committees. The surcharge is collected at the time of initial application for a license, permit, or certificate. Those already licensed, certified, or permitted will pay the surcharge at the time of their renewal. In addition to any surcharges collected, the TXPHP Governing Board may receive and accept a gift, grant, donation, or other thing of value from any source, as allowed by Board rule and state law.

11. How does one self-report or make a referral to the TXPHP?

The TXPHP encourages and accepts self-reports. We also accept referrals from hospitals, employers, staff, colleagues, family and friends. All referrals are kept strictly confidential. If you suspect possible impairment of a licensee, or you have concerns for their safety or the safety of their patients, please do not hesitate to refer them or contact us for more information.

A healthcare employer must report to the Texas Medical Board licensed healthcare professionals (physicians, physician assistants, acupuncturists, respiratory care practitioners, perfusionists, medical radiologic technologists, non-certified technicians, or medical physicists) whose practice represents a continuing threat to the public welfare. (Occupation Code Sec. 160.003)

12. What are the next steps following a referral to the TXPHP?

Upon referral, an individual is privately interviewed by the Medical Director for program eligibility and monitoring requirements. The individual may be required to undergo a substance use disorder evaluation, a neurocognitive evaluation, or psychological evaluation, or a medical evaluation by an outside evaluator in order to determine appropriate monitoring terms. Once the Monitoring and Assistance Agreement is executed and signed, the program participant is assigned to a Clinical Coordinator to monitor drug screening results, timely submission of monitoring reports, and other Agreement requirements.