Confidential Assistance – California Medical Association
Asking for help is one of the most difficult and heroic things you can do.
Are you a physician or a dentist or their spouse who is trying to live with the following problems?
- Drug Abuse?
- Severe Stress?
You are not alone. You and your family are important. Asking for help is one of the most difficult and heroic things you can do.
The Physicians’ and Dentists’ Confidential Assistance Line is here to help. This 24-hour phone service provides completely confidential doctor-to-doctor assistance.
This service is free and it will not result in any form of disciplinary action or referral to any disciplinary body. Our goal is to help, not to discipline.
(650) 756-7787 (northern California)
(213) 383-2691 (southern California)
About the Confidential Assistance Line
The Physicians’ and Dentists’ Confidential Assistance Line is a name given to a phone line service for physicians, dentists and their family members who request help with problems of alcoholism, drug dependence or mental illness within their families.
When you call the confidential line, you reach an answering service that relays the message (name and phone number) to the on-call physician, who then returns the call. Physicians and Dentists staffing the line are selected because of their experience with alcoholism, drug dependence and mental health and their ability to work with doctors as patients. They speak with the caller and gather enough information to make the best referral to an appropriate consultant. They may also, if appropriate, refer calls from spouses to trained counselors who are also members of the CMA Alliance.
The Physicians’ and Dentists’ Confidential Line provides counseling for the caller on a completely confidential basis. If the caller is a distressed doctor, assistance takes the form of pre-treatment counseling, referral to an appropriate therapeutic situation, development of a treatment plan, etc. If the caller is concerned about an impaired doctor, counseling/information is given about constructive ways to show concern, how to urge the doctor into a therapeutic relationship, and what resources exist for intervention and referral.
This service is completely divorced from any disciplinary action. If a caller wishes to complain about a physician, it is explained that the Medical Board of California (MBC) is the only agency authorized to take action against a physician’s license and the caller is referred to the MBC at (800) 633-2322. If it is regarding a complaint about a dentist, the Dental Board of California would be the agency to contact and their telephone number is (916) 263-2335.
This project received approval of the CMA Board of Trustees at its meetings February 6-11, 1976, and September 30, 1977.