The IDA Well Being Program addresses the needs of dentists impaired by substance abuse or chemical dependence.
Identifying and assisting a dentist with signs and symptoms of impairment is a difficult challenge. Fears of legal and personal risk prevent colleagues from becoming involved. These fears often are compounded by a lack of confidence in the ability to accurately diagnose impairing illnesses, particularly chemical dependency.
Incompetence as an etiology of impairment is not within the scope of the program. Additionally, the program does not consider cases of impairment due to incompetence appropriate for its program.
Who is the impaired dentist (signs and symptoms)?
- Disruption of appointment schedule
- Hostile, withdrawn or unreasonable behavior toward patients and staff
- Excessive ordering of supplies of drugs by mail or from local druggists
- Patient complaints regarding dentist’s behavior
- Unexplained absence from office or absence due to frequent illnesses
- Inappropriate orders, prescriptions or treatments
- Decrease in quality of performance (e.g., incomplete charts)
- Reports of behavioral changes from staff
- Appearing under the influence
- Frequently late for meetings
According to federal law, state law and IDA program policies, all participant information is confidential. The IDA does not automatically refer a dentist to the licensing board for a minor infraction of the contract. It is only after all attempts to work with a dentist have failed that a referral is made to the Indiana State Board of Dentistry.
Often other parties (e.g., a partner or office personnel) request information regarding a program participant. With the participant’s written consent, periodic progress reports can be sent. Information is not released without the participant’s permission.
Candace Backer, Well Being Coordinator