Millions of Americans suffer from alcohol and other substance abuse, and physicians are not immune.
If you or a colleague is struggling and needs treatment, the Texas Medical Association’s Physicians Benevolent (PBF) Wellness Fund is here to provide financial assistance for qualified physicians and their immediate families.
The prevalence of alcohol abuse among physicians is significant. Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance among U.S. physicians, according to the American Addiction Centers. A nationwide survey of physicians reported alcohol abuse at higher rates than the general population: 12.9% of male physicians and 21.9% of female physicians abuse alcohol, compared with around 6% of the general adult population.
The PBF Wellness Fund is available for physicians who cannot afford treatment for depression, substance-abuse disorders, or other impairments. Financial assistance also is available for short-term living expenses for families while the physician receives treatment.
Retired Houston urologist Bernard Feldman, MD, says he has known three physicians who received assistance from TMA because of alcohol abuse and other problems.
“All three were helped by The PBF Wellness Fund and returned to an active medical practice,” Dr. Feldman said. “When the opportunity arose to help support PBF Wellness with a donation, I decided to help.”
Applicants must complete a confidential application. If you need financial assistance, or know of a physician or physician’s family in need, contact Chris Johnson, PBF senior program manager, via email.
Contributions from physicians and their spouses support the fund. Contributions are tax-deductible and may be in the form of honoraria or memorials. To contribute a secure, online donation, text CARING to 15128661422, or send a check to PBF Wellness Fund, Attn: TMA Finance Department, 401 W. 15th St., Austin, TX 78701-1680.
TMA’s Committee on Physician Health and Wellness offers resources about substance abuse disorders, including a brochure to help you recognize substance abuse in a colleague.
If you or someone you know needs immediate assistance, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's national helpline at (800) 662- 4357. The confidential helpline is a free, 24-7 information service for people and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. The service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.