Good news in the fight to maintain confidentiality in physician peer assistance counseling. Yesterday, Tuesday, Nov. 10, a district judge ruled against the procurement process by which the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) sought out and awarded the contract for physician peer assistance services in Colorado, stating that they do not have the authority to award a contract without consultation with the Colorado Medical Board (CMB). This ruling voids the contract as awarded to Peer Assistance Services -- which would have required all physicians accessing the program to sign a Release of Information form allowing PAS to share their medical information with the CMB.
CMS has been working closely with the entire House of Medicine to fight the decision to remove access to confidential counseling since the announcement of the contract with PAS in June. We have engaged with the American Medical Association Litigation Center to provide legal assistance, while also working behind the scenes to challenge the process and decision.
While this ruling is good news, it is not the end of our work; this issue will certainly be raised at the CMB’s regular quarterly meeting next week, Nov. 19. The Medical Board will need to begin the procurement process again. We still strongly believe that the board must pass new policy to eliminate any uncertainty in the future and formally ensure physician confidentiality for voluntary peer assistance services. That policy must then be used in the next procurement process.
The Colorado Medical Society and the collective Colorado House of Medicine are prepared to testify before the CMB at next week’s meeting. In advance of this, there are two things you can do now:
- If you have not already done so, please sign our petition that shows that physicians and medical students in Colorado care about maintaining confidentiality in counseling.
- If you have any information pertinent to this testimony, please email email@example.com.