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Physician Drug Testing

The WSMA recommends that each hospital medical staff adopt a provision in the medical staff bylaws which requires physician staff members to be free from abuse of any type of substance or chemical that affects cognitive, motor or communication abilities in a manner that interferes with, or presents reasonable probability of interfering with, the physician's ability to optimally discharge his/her medical practice responsibilities.

In addition, the WSMA recommends the bylaws provide that medical staff members be required to submit to or obtain such examinations or tests as may be reasonably requested by an appropriate authority of the medical staff when reasonable suspicion suggests that a problem may exist. The WSMA recommends that each hospital medical staff establish an "impaired physician committee" to develop a testing program, establish reasonable suspicion guidelines, and methods by which positive tests, possible interventions, and rehabilitative treatment can be managed. (Reaffirmed A-17)

The WSMA believes physicians convicted of DWI should automatically be reported to the Washington Physicians Health Program (WPHP), which may impose appropriate procedures for evaluation, treatment and on-going monitoring of substance or chemical abuse problems discovered which seems capable of affecting optimal medical care by that physician. (PA Rpt D, '87) (Amended A-17)

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Abbreviations for House of Delegates report origination:

EC – Executive Committee; BT – Board of Trustees; CPA – Council on Professional Affairs; JC – Judicial Council; CHS – Community and Health Services

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