The LBVM is committed to its charge to promote the public health, safety, and welfare by safeguarding the people of this state against incompetent, dishonest, or unprincipled practitioners of veterinary medicine, including DVMs, RVTs, and CAETs. In short, the Board’s ultimate responsibility is the protection of the public through its regulatory powers. And while action against an impaired licensee can be taken by the Board through disciplinary procedures, the Board feels that a healthy licensee is an important first step towards ensuring its mission in protecting the public is successfully achieved. The Board can, and is quite willing to, lawfully support the recovery and practice of those professionals and paraprofessionals who are cooperative and willing to receive assistance, and still properly discharge its duty of protecting the public.
Last year, the Board announced the revival of its Peer Assistance Program through a new partnership with the Healthcare Professional’s Foundation of Louisiana (HPFLA), providing vital assistance to Louisiana’s licensed veterinarians, registered veterinary technicians and certified animal euthanasia technicians who may be impaired by chemical dependency on drugs or alcohol or by mental illness.
At its December ’22 meeting, the Board discussed the importance of its licensees to know about the invaluable services provided by the HPFLA and voted to approve one (1) hour of Continuing Education credit for any licensee who attends an HPFLA presentation. For upcoming presentation dates and locations, call (225)291-5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
HPFLA is non-profit organization that provides confidential services to various licensing boards and licensees in the healthcare industry. They offer a voluntary advocacy and monitoring program that allows licensees with impairments or in need of medical treatment to possibly avoid formal disciplinary actions by their licensing boards and obtain remediation in order to practice with skill and safety. The primary role of the HPFL Professionals’ Health Program (PHP) is to offer assistance to health care professionals and paraprofessionals who may be suffering from difficulties such as substance use issues, depression, anxiety, etc., in addition to a host of physical ailments and disruptive behavioral patterns.
There are a few different avenues for one to gain access to HPFLA’s services, the first of which is through self-reporting. If a licensee feels they are impaired and need assistance, help is available. Simply call the HPFLA. A referral can also be made by an outside party if someone knows or suspects that a licensee is impaired. LBVM Board members are not notified of self-referrals or third-party referrals. Lastly, if a formal complaint is submitted to the Board in which a licensee is alleged to be impaired, rather than immediately disciplinary proceedings going forward, the Board has the option of first referring the alleged impaired licensee to HPFLA for an evaluation and assistance.