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December 17, 1982

Outlook for Impaired Physicians With Appropriate Treatment

JAMA. 1982;248(23):3144. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330230056035

The results reported by Shore in this issue of The Journal (p 3127), like those of others he cites in his article, are generally encouraging and imply an optimistic outlook for the recovery of impaired physicians, particularly those recovering from substance-use disorders. His finding, that 74% of 34 impaired physicians showed improvement on a multivariate criterion of recovery, is indeed a strong and positive indication that a great majority of physicians can resume their medical practice successfully after a period of treatment and with ongoing administrative monitoring and supervision. Moreover, his finding that after more than 3 1/2 years the relapsed physicians were no less likely to be improved than were the nonrelapsers certainly impresses us with the importance of persevering in treatment efforts.

Of particular interest is the observation that 79% of the treated physicians had been impaired by substance-use disorders, with an 81.5% improvement rate for that group