Impaired Professionals Program
The LBESPA contract with Healthcare Professionals’ Foundation of Louisiana (HPFL) has recently ended. The Board is now contracting with Ms. Kathie L. Pohlman, LCSW-BACS, MBA for professional monitoring services.
As a licensure board, the LBESPA is purposed with the task of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public by providing for the licensure and regulation of qualified persons practicing the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology in the State of Louisiana. Historically, this meant that licensees who struggle with mental illness or addiction have been addressed via Consent Agreement and Orders.
What services will Ms. Pohlman provide?
It is the primary role of Ms. Pohlman to offer assistance to health care professionals who are in the program and advocate for them with hospitals, health plan networks, malpractice insurance carriers, licensure boards, etc. Ms. Pohlman offers assistance to audiologists and speech-language pathologists who may be suffering from illnesses that could potentially affect their practice. She monitors the professional and documents their progress in recovery. Professionals who undergo treatment and monitoring have a higher success rate of long term recovery.
Licensees may contact Ms. Pohlman directly, to gain help for substance abuse issues, depression, anxiety, mental illness, or addiction. If you suspect possible impairment of an audiologist and/or speech-language pathologist, or if you have concerns for their safety or the safety of their patients, please email email@example.com. This program protects the identity of any person who makes a referral on behalf of a professional. Referrals can come from hospitals, colleagues, licensure boards, office staff, treatment centers, and family or friends.
The Board and Ms. Pohlman highly value the confidentiality of its participants. In addition, they maintain the confidentiality of those making reports concerning the actual or potential impairment of a health care professional.
Assistance offered by Ms. Pohlman is confidential. For example, an audiologist or speech-language pathologist who is experiencing a problem with substance abuse for which they have not been adequately treated or monitored, can access these services without any obligation for the Program Manager to notify the Louisiana Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology (LBESPA). When the program is entered and completed, the licensee is not required to report this to the Board. Through the guidance of this program, licensees who find themselves with difficulties may avoid disciplinary actions by seeking help.
Concerns which can be directed to Ms. Pohlman
Concerns for which referrals are received include, but are not limited to the following:
- Being under the influence of mood altering substances while in the workplace.
- Excessive use of mood altering substances outside the workplace that may affect a professional's ability to practice with skill and safety.
- Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety or other psychiatric illnesses.
- Workplace disruptive behaviors such as verbal or physical abuse towards staff or patients.
- Boundary violations or sexual inappropriateness with patients.
If you or someone you know needs help, please contact our Program Manager directly at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. Early intervention could save someone's life.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Impaired Professional?
A professional who is unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety to patients. Impairment could be due to a mental illness, substance abuse, or even a physical condition.
Is my participation in the program confidential?
If you have never been treated or monitored, you may be considered a “First Timer”. This means that LBESPA has no knowledge that you are a participant in the program.
Can I be a participant in the program if I am not currently licensed?
Yes. We recommend that you participate in monitoring if you are planning to request re-licensure and are in recovery. This program assists speech-language pathologists and audiologists (professionals) by having documentation from random urine screens, treating providers, meeting attendance, etc., which may be helpful in demonstrating your positive progress.
Kathie Pohlmann, LCSW-BACS, MBA