HAVEN is the health assistance program authorized by state law to serve virtually all healthcare professionals licensed or eligible for license in the State of Connecticut. HAVEN offers a confidential alternative to "public disciplinary action for professionals suffering from chemical dependency, emotional or behavioral disorder, or physical or mental illness."
HAVEN provides a safe environment for coordinating educational, rehabilitative, and supportive services to healthcare professionals.
HAVEN is an independent non-profit corporation founded by the Connecticut State Medical Society, Connecticut Nurses Association, Connecticut State Dental Association, Connecticut Veterinary Medicine Association and Connecticut Academy of Physician Assistants that provides confidential consultation and support to healthcare professionals facing health concerns related to alcoholism, substance abuse, behavioral or mental health issues and/or physical illness.
HAVEN provides to the Department of Public Health (DPH), licensing boards, and the Public Health Committee Assembly annually the number of professionals in our program and represents that all professionals allowed to return to practice are considered capable of practicing with skill and safety assuming ongoing compliance with their health and wellness plans. HAVEN also undergoes program audits to ensure transparency and quality in our processes.
HAVEN is dedicated to serving healthcare professionals through accountability, support and earned advocacy with dignity, respect, and confidentiality as allowed by law.
Public Act 07-103, signed by Governor Jodi M. Rell on June 12, 2007, enabled the establishment of a confidential assistance program for healthcare professionals licensed by the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health and suffering from physical or mental illness, emotional disorder or chemical dependency. Following the passage of this important legislation, the Connecticut Academy of Physician Assistants, the Connecticut Nurses' Association, the Connecticut State Dental Association, the Connecticut State Medical Society and the Connecticut Veterinary Medicine Association, as a coalition of healthcare professionals, created the Health Assistance InterVention Education Network for Connecticut Health Professionals (HAVEN). This initiative represents a model in our state and the country for the teamwork so essential in today's healthcare environment.
HAVEN is a confidential assistance program that supports the health and well-being of Connecticut health professionals. Although many professionals experience challenging events which motivate the call to HAVEN, HAVEN is a voluntary program for healthcare professionals suffering from physical or mental illness, emotional disorder, or chemical dependency. HAVEN serves as an alternative to the disciplinary programs offered through the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the applicable boards or commissions. If a professional who may be at risk becomes known to HAVEN and elects not to work with HAVEN, HAVEN is required by law to notify DPH. In 2015, the Connecticut General Assembly expanded mandating reporting for healthcare professionals. After October 1, 2015, any healthcare professional who has any information that another healthcare professional is or may be unable to practice with skill and safety due to physical or mental health conditions is required to notify DPH. A referral to HAVEN satisfies this mandate. See Connecticut General Statute Section 19a-12e.
When there is a concern that a healthcare professional may be at risk for a potentially impairing condition, a telephone call to HAVEN begins the process. A healthcare professional may self-refer or be referred by a colleague, employer, family member, or friend. Observations by colleagues as to inappropriate or distressed behavior, disheveled appearances, failure to keep appointments, family or marital stress, or drug control interventions commonly prompt contact with HAVEN. At the time of initial referral, the Medical Director, Professional Director, Case Manager, or Chief Executive Officer will review contact information, eligibility, and confidentiality and schedule an intake meeting. For more information on referrals, click here. PLEASE DO NOT MAKE ANY REFERRALS THROUGH EMAIL. ALL REFERRALS MUST BE MADE BY A PERSONAL TELEPHONE CALL.
A friend, colleague, or facility may call HAVEN for many reasons. Perhaps a professional is unclear if a referral to HAVEN is warranted or how a referral will be managed. However, if HAVEN receives a call inquiring about a participant, HAVEN cannot confirm participation in the program or answer any questions without an appropriate authorization allowing release of information.
At the intake meeting, the healthcare professional will share why he or she has come to HAVEN with the HAVEN medical director or a professional director. The HAVEN process is explained and an Initial Plan is developed. The healthcare professional may be asked to refrain from practice until an evaluation is conducted by an approved professional or treatment facility and/or other data is obtained. When appropriate, urine drug testing will be coordinated. The Initial Plan will identify the authorizations and releases required to allow appropriate communication and to obtain information necessary for a comprehensive review. After the reports and records are received, the information is deidentified for review by the HAVEN Medical Review Committee (MRC). The MRC is a peer review based multidisciplinary committee. By law, the MRC determines eligibility for participation in HAVEN as well as the terms and conditions for participation.
To qualify for HAVEN’s services, the MRC must identify a qualifying diagnosis in a healthcare professional who would benefit from the accountability provisions which are associated with HAVEN participant’s success. Physical illness, including but not limited to chronic degenerative conditions and aging, mental illness including depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and chemical dependence including pain management and substance use disorders qualify a participant for HAVEN’s services. HAVEN is not required to notify DPH unless there are felony charges, a past history of licensure discipline, pending licensure discipline, or allegation of patient harm. Under these limited circumstances, DPH will make the final determination of eligibility to participate in this confidential program. When the discipline is more than five years old or unrelated, or felony charges do not result in a conviction, DPH will often exercise its discretion to allow the professional to work with HAVEN.
A Health and Wellness Contract
The terms and conditions determined by the MRC are documented in a health and wellness contract which is reviewed by the participant. If the participant disagrees with MRC direction, the participant may ask MRC to reconsider, may ask for review by the Oversight Committee, or may meet to explore his or her options with DPH. Contracts may require a commitment from six months to five years depending on the diagnosis and the period of documented wellness. Conditions for participation generally include therapy, medication management, biologic testing, and practice liaison reports. HAVEN will not provide copies of the confidential contract to third parties. Only the participant may elect to share his or her contract.
Accountability and Earned Advocacy
The term of the contract is considered the support, accountability, and earned advocacy phase. HAVEN staff, including our medical director, professional directors, case managers, and medical review officer actively monitor each participant’s engagement in his or her individual health contract. At quarterly meetings with the participant, HAVEN reviews the participant’s engagement and attempts to ensure that the data required for advocacy is available. This data includes but is not limited to monthly support group attendance logs, quarterly therapy/medication management reports, practice liaison reports, and other logs as determined based on individual need. Compliance with this health program enables HAVEN to advocate on the professional’s behalf with an appropriately executed authorization.
HAVEN has provided advocacy to DPH, Department of Consumer Protection, Department of Children and Families, the Division of Criminal Justice, Immigration and Naturalization, other state confidential assistance programs to name only a few.
Upon successful completion of the HAVEN contract, the healthcare professional is expected to have gained insight into his or her illness as well as demonstrated a sustained commitment to health and wellness.
As required under state law, HAVEN will notify the Department of Public Health of participant noncompliance which is unable to be corrected. For example, HAVEN will notify DPH of positive random drug tests not verified by legitimate prescription or of dilute random drug tests. Notifying the Department does not automatically subject the professional to public disciplinary consequences. If the professional commits to his or her individual wellness contract, engages in a higher level of care, and demonstrates a willingness to correct the focus of concern, the professional is generally allowed to remain in a supportive confidential health program through HAVEN. HAVEN may also notify DPH of dilute drug specimens, failure to engage in treatment, or of repeated failure to provide quarterly reports, monthly logs, or other required data. If the public is not at risk, DPH will often allow the professional the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to engage and recommit to the terms and conditions for participation in HAVEN. However, in the event of noncompliance, the Department has absolute discretion to determine ongoing eligibility for this confidential program. The Department may determine that a professional no longer qualifies for an alternative-to-discipline program. HAVEN encourages professionals to maintain compliance and to reach out for help if they are struggling to attain compliance.
In addition to supporting individual professionals, HAVEN offers resources upon request to employers, hospitals, and others regarding professional health. HAVEN offers educational in-service training on various topics, including but not limited to, professional health, prescribing pitfalls, or mandated reporting. For more information, please visit the Education page.
HAVEN will provide information on the availability of healthcare professional anonymous support group meetings in Connecticut. HAVEN will try to give direction for resources in other states. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK.