The Georgia Composite Medical Board voted in its meeting today to update language for the mental health question on all licensure applications.

The question now reads:
"Are you currently suffering from any condition for which you are not being appropriately treated that impairs your judgment or that would otherwise adversely affect your ability to practice medicine in a competent, ethical, and professional manner?
NOTE: If you are currently enrolled in Georgia PHP, you may answer NO."

"The Board believes this is a step in right direction to address clinician burnout and encourage mental health care while still protecting patients from impaired professionals," said GCMB Chair Matthew Norman, MD. "Applicants should not fear loss of a license or denial of a licensure application for seeking mental health services."

Applicants and licensees who enroll in the Georgia Professional Health Program may answer "no" to the question. The Georgia PHP is a nonprofit organization formed in 2012 to assist all licensees of the GCMB who develop potentially impairing conditions, mental illnesses, substance abuse, and other addictive disorders. The Georgia PHP is not a treatment provider but interacts with assessors of its participants, coordinates this care with the healthcare entities that employ those individuals and monitors disease status in its participants. The primary goal of the PHP is to ensure that the professionals who return to the practice of medicine do so only if they can practice with reasonable skill and safety.

The change is consistent with guidance from the Federation of State Medical Boards and the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes' Foundation.