Physician Health and Addiction Program

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The MSDC Physician Health Program is a private, confidential, non-disciplinary program that works to advocate for the health and well-being of all physicians in the metropolitan Washington, DC, area and to safeguard the public.

The Program is HIPAA compliant and protects the confidentiality of participant records as set forth under DC and Federal law. The program is administered by the Medical Society of DC and is separate from the DC Board of Medicine. Read more in the MSDC PHP brochure on this page.

For a confidential consultation for your or a colleague that may benefit from our help, please call (202) 466-1800 x102 or email us.  This is not an emergency service; for emergencies please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.


The PHP can help hospitals meet Joint Commission requirements by providing information on physician impairment at medical staff meetings or grand rounds. An overview of the services or a CME lecture on physician impairment may be scheduled by contacting Robert Hay Jr. by email.

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Do you want to help support your fellow physicians going through their own struggles? The Healthy Physician Foundation was established to fund physician health and addiction programs. Your generous gift allows us to continue supporting those physicians in most need. Donate using the button below.



News Stories About Physician Addiction and Health Programs


Study: Pre-Vaccine Pandemic Expanded Moral Injury to All Healthcare Workers

Dec 3, 2021, 13:00 PM by MSDC Staff
The study shows that moral injury came in different ways over time in 2020 and needs to be addressed by healthcare employers.

We know moral injury was on the rise prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the pandemic has been a traumatic event. In case there was any doubt that it has compounded moral injury in the healthcare workforce, a new study confirms what we have all experienced.

Publish last week in the JAMA Network Open, the study surveyed professionals during two time periods ("phases") before a COVID vaccine became available: April 24-May 30, 2020 and October 24-November 30, 2020. The survey captured over 1,800 individual responses from the physician, nursing, advanced practice practitioner, and chaplain professions. The authors concluded from the data that moral injury came not from one event but from continued exposure and morally injurious environments. 

Studying responses showed the following:

  • Moral injury in the first phase of questions came from fear of the virus and infection, but in the second phase moral injury came from the routinization of treating people infected with the virus.
  • Lack of PPE was a major driver in moral injury in phase 1 but decreased substantially as more PPE was available on phase 2.
  • Over both phases respondents reported increased isolation due to fear of being infected or assuming people were infected and hiding their symptoms. The increased distance - physical and emotion - was a self-reported cause of much moral injury.
  • Over both phases, healthcare practitioners felt burned out due to a physical distance from patients, due to COVID protocols and reliance on telemedicine.
  • Many practitioners felt betrayed by employers in phase 1 due to PPE shortages and requirements. One respondent wrote, "I felt our lives were more disposable than our PPE was".

The study concludes that the workplace bears a large responsibility to address to moral injury the last two years has caused. Urging employers to move beyond slogans like, "heroes work here", the authors propose proactive treatments such as:

  • Providing adequate PPE
  • Available PTO
  • Support for childcare needs
  • Nearby lodging for individuals on rapid-cycle shifts


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