The causes of professional impairment are varied, and the dental profession is not immune.
Healthcare Professionals are rightfully seen by most as educated, caring people who wish to help their fellow man. The work and hours are demanding, the pressures and responsibilities are stressful, and the isolation and exposure to dangerous substances are problematic. But because they are in the position to deliver care, they often don’t know where to look when they need care.
The Voluntary Wellness Program (VWP) exists to meet the treatment needs of the healthcare professional.
Addiction and emotional issues have serious, adverse effects on the professional, the practice, co-workers, family, and patients. Delayed identification and treatment only compound these consequences.
About the Voluntary Wellness Program (VWP)
As of July 1, 2017 the DWBF no longer holds the contract for the state-mandated wellbeing program overseen by the Missouri Dental Board. Despite this loss in revenue, the DWBF Executive Team decided we could not turn our back on providing recovery services to our colleagues in need. This program has always been rooted in the concept of dentists helping dentists. We have a history of success and a trusted, experienced administrator in Rebecca Mowen. We had to go on. Thus we have launched the Voluntary Wellness Program. It is basically the same program without the obligations of the state contract. It is a safe place for any professional provider who needs help. Please reach out to us if you or someone you know is in need. Just call 314-435-1101.
Who refers to the committee?
Loved Ones or Friends
Dentists and dental hygienists who voluntarily participate in this program have the opportunity to arrest the progression of their disease and resultant impairment before public exposure occurs and before disciplinary actions on licensure and clinical privileges are taken.
Well Being Committee members will advocate on behalf of a licensee enrolled in the program (with written permission of the licensee) before the Missouri Dental Board, the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and other appropriate agencies.
What Is An Intervention
An intervention is a carefully structured method of confronting someone thought to be impaired. Interventions are designed to break through the denial inherent in diseases of impairment. The VWP administrator coordinates the planning and implementation of intervention.
Signs of Alcoholism or Chemical Dependency
Difficulty meeting schedules and deadlines
Prescribes large doses of controlled substances
Impaired motor coordination
Frequently late or fails to show up for work
Obvious physical changes
Dramatic mood swings and periods of isolation
Smells of alcohol
Family and/or financial difficulties
The VWP administrator provides treatment resources and coordinates the care of the licensee throughout the course of treatment. Treatment will be done at a treatment center familiar with handling the dynamics involved in rehabilitation of health professionals. Treatment costs are usually partially covered by the individual’s health insurance, but ultimately the individual is responsible for the costs of the treatment, screenings and administration. Evaluation and treatment begin immediately after intervention.
Treatment & Aftercare Monitoring
Recovery needs are re-evaluated periodically to adjust to changes that occur in the recovery process. The program will provide assistance and monitoring during the period of practice re-entry. Key components of the monitoring agreement may include: random urine screenings, attendance at aftercare, 12-step support groups or professional support groups and psychotherapy if indicated.
The program is available to all licensed dentists and dental hygienists in the state. Confidentiality is maintained for all participants.
ADDICTION IN THE
View an online presentation by Dr. Bill Kane, former DWBF Chair and Well Being Committee Chair (and former Well Being program participant). He addresses:
How dentists and dental professionals encounter numerous sources of professional stress, beginning in dental school. This stress may have a negative impact on both their professional as well as their personal lives.
How chemical dependency and addictive diseases are the same for dentists as well as non-dentists. Yet, how dental practice models creates certain barriers that require modifications to intervention and after care for the dental profession.
The specific behaviors of dental office staff that contribute to "The Conspiracy of Silence" that will enable the disease of addiction to progress.
Strategies for the dentist and the office staff to facilitate a transition back into practice following treatment. The goal being to ensure the office staff and environment are healthy.
Rebecca A. Mowen, LCSW, SAP, CIP, CADC, is a licensed clinical social worker in Missouri and Illinois. She also maintains certifications as a Substance Abuse Professional, Certified Intervention Professional and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville in 2000, and in 2002 her Masters in Social Work from Saint Louis University.
Rebecca has previous experience as Assistant Program Coordinator with the Missouri Physicians’ Health Program (medical counterpart to the Dental Well Being Program) and is currently in private practice providing individual and family therapy, interventions, referral for treatment and aftercare monitoring services.