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AMA Vows to Improve Access for Docs Seeking Mental Health Care

New policy recommends state licensing boards to only inquire about current conditions

MONDAY, June 18, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The American Medical Association (AMA) recently adopted a policy aimed at improving physician access to mental health care in response to physician depression, burnout, and suicide.

The policy aims to further reduce stigma associated with mental health illness to ensure physicians are able to seek the care they need for anxiety, depression, and substance-related disorders, without fear of restrictions on their licensure and or career.

Specifically, the policy encourages state licensing boards to require physicians to disclose in a yes/no fashion any current physical or mental health conditions that impair their judgment or would otherwise adversely affect their ability to practice medicine in a competent, ethical, and professional manner, or when the physician presents a public health danger, but would not require past disclosure.

“We must do everything we can to improve physician wellness and eliminate any barriers that stand in the way of physicians accessing needed mental health care services so they can have more meaningful and rewarding professional experiences and provide the best possible care to their patients,” AMA President David O. Barbe, M.D., said in a statement.

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