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Kentucky Senate looking at bill to foster more physician wellness

Left to Right- Dr. Evelyn Montgomery Jones with the KMA-Jessamine Senator and Dr. Donald Douglas
Left to Right- Dr. Evelyn Montgomery Jones with the KMA-Jessamine Senator and Dr. Donald Douglas

The Kentucky General Assembly is considering legislation aimed at urging physicians to take advantage of wellness programs. Senate Bill 12 states, for example, a doctor who participates in a wellness program shall not be required to disclose the information to healthcare entities as a condition of employment. Evelyn Montgomery Jones is with the Kentucky Medical Association.

“It would assure that a record of a physician’s participation in a wellness program is confidential and has additional legal protections that should provide further encouragement to physicians to seek help when needed.”

Montgomery Jones added it balances the appropriate role of the medical board, hospital systems, and health insurers to protect the public safety for an impaired physician.

The dermatologist said burnout is a significant concern. Montgomery Jones said the effects are being seen in lower morale, diminished productivity, lower patient satisfaction, and increased rates of substance use disorder and suicide.

Louisville Senator and doctor Karen Berg said mental health care is health care, adding, quote, “you can’t separate the two.” Berg said part of the strain in medicine comes from paperwork.

“I really appreciate your discussion of the administrative burden that is just taking the life out of our healthcare providers right now. It is overwhelming,” said Berg.

Nicholasville Senator, Doctor, and Bill Sponsor Donald Douglas told his colleagues physicians are trained to be more concerned for the health of their patients and often neglect their own health.

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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