1. What is HAVEN?
Health Assistance InterVention Education Network (HAVEN) is a confidential assistance program for healthcare professionals facing the challenges of physical illness, mental illness, chemical dependence, or emotional disorder. HAVEN is designed as a peer-based process to encourage early identification of healthcare professionals who are at risk for impairment.
2. Is HAVEN an impaired professionals’ program?
No, HAVEN is a professional health and wellness accountability program. Professionals in HAVEN may have medical conditions with the potential to cause impairment, but with treatment and accountability these professionals are not considered impaired. HAVEN also offers education on topics concerning professional health.
3. Who does HAVEN help?
HAVEN is a voluntary program available to virtually all healthcare professionals licensed by the Connecticut State Department of Public Health. This includes, but is not limited to: physicians/surgeons, dentists, registered nurses, veterinarians, psychologists, chiropractors, optometrists, podiatrists, professional counselors, funeral directors, paramedics, APRNs, dental hygienists, LCSWs, LPNs, massage therapists, and physician assistants. HAVEN offers support to more than thirty (30) disciplines of health professionals. This means that a professional who is concerned about him or herself, a friend, a partner or licensed staff may turn to HAVEN for help.
4. How does HAVEN provide assistance?
HAVEN does not provide care and treatment. HAVEN will meet with the professional and initiate a health and wellness plan. HAVEN makes referrals for evaluation or treatment and obtains records or reports and when appropriate, coordinates toxicology testing. Eligibility for confidential participation in HAVEN is then determined by the HAVEN Medical Review Committee (MRC). If the professional accepts the terms and conditions for participation, the terms are set forth in a health contract. HAVEN will support and advocate commensurate with the professional’s commitment to the health contract. The professional meets with HAVEN quarterly. HAVEN also obtains quarterly or monthly reports/logs from the participating professional, therapists and practice liaisons as determined by the terms of the contract. Based on toxicology testing results, the reports, logs, and other information, HAVEN fulfills its responsibility to state that any professional who is practicing while participating with HAVEN is expected to do so with skill and safety.
5. What is the HAVEN MRC?
Currently there are two HAVEN Medical Review Committees (MRCs) which meet on alternative months. These multidisciplinary committees review deidentified records and are run in accordance with peer review guidelines. Professionals, such as dentists and veterinarians, who may not have education and training in addiction or mental health but who volunteer on the MRCs offer valuable insight into monitoring provisions for their peers and the stress and demands of peer work environments. Similarly, physicians whose specialties do not include addiction or mental health contribute unique insights into medical issues, practice safety and return to practice success. When issues require special expertise such as diabetes, aging, early onset dementia, or neurological disorders, the medical review committees may ask a specialist to volunteer for one meeting or to be available when a matter is under review. In addition to eligibility, the MRCs consider such issues as fitness to return to practice, access to narcotics, and requests for advocacy to reinstate controlled substance registrations.
6. Should I call HAVEN if the professional is facing felony charges, has a history of licensure discipline, or allegation of patient harm?
Yes. Although the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health determines eligibility under these conditions, when felony charges are reduced or dismissed, or if the licensure discipline is remote or unrelated, the Department has allowed professionals to have health issues addressed without public discipline. Working with HAVEN is an effective way to demonstrate commitment to health and wellness and to demonstrate acceptance for accountability. Although patient harm disqualifies a professional, the professional may still benefit from working with HAVEN and his or her good faith efforts may mitigate consequences with the Department and/or appropriate Board or Commission.
7. What does it mean to be confidential?
No information about participation in HAVEN is available on a public domain. The professional will work with HAVEN to identify a success team who will need to know about participation in HAVEN or about the medical history. For example, practice liaisons, therapists, primary care providers, and other specialists are considered critical members of the support team. Recognizing that sustained remission requires support helps decrease the shame and stigma associated with mental health care. Information about HAVEN will not be disclosed without an appropriate authorization. State law provides additional protections in the event of court proceedings.
8. What does this cost?
Evaluations may be out-of-pocket expenses if not covered by the professional’s health insurance plan. Ongoing care and treatment is coordinated whenever possible with an in-network provider. Toxicology testing is out-of-pocket. HAVEN’s administrative fees are paid by the professional and when in a contract, the monthly fee is $150.00. Professionals do weigh the benefit of maintaining a license without discipline and the overwhelming success rate when long-term health accountability is embraced.
1. How do I know a professional is at-risk for impairment?
Consider all information available to you. See Symptoms of Impairment. Does the behavior or condition raise a concern that the professional may be unable to practice with skill and safety if the condition or behavior is not managed? The intention is early intervention. The behavior or condition does not need to have displayed in practice setting. You are responsible to intervene prior to direct impact on practice.
2. Am I obligated to make a report?
If you have any information that a professional may be unable to practice with skill and safety and you are a health professional, you are legally obligated to report. If you acquired the information as a treatment provider, you should report if you believe the report is necessary to prevent or lessen risk of harm to the health or safety of other persons, patients, or the public.
3. Where do I make the report?
Call HAVEN at (860) 828-3175
4. Will my report be anonymous?
If the report is made to DPH, it will not be anonymous.
If the report is made to HAVEN, you must give your name and contact information. However, you may ask that your identity not be disclosed. Referral source will be identified as anonymous in the participant record. In order to satisfy the mandated reporting requirement, HAVEN must document who made the referral. This information is kept in a secure location.
5. Am I protected from retaliation?
If the report is made in good faith and without malice, you are entitled to immunity by law.
6. Will the professional’s license be at risk for public discipline?
If the professional is eligible to participate in HAVEN and is compliant with the health plan designed for the professional, his or license will not be subject to discipline. If the professional caused patient harm, was convicted of a felony, or has a history of licensure discipline, the Department of Public Health will determine eligibility for the confidential program or establish a disciplinary track.
7. What happens if the professional refuses to participate with HAVEN?
HAVEN is responsible to notify DPH. The Department will determine if discipline is appropriate or may offer the professional another opportunity to work with HAVEN.
8. Is HAVEN part of the Department of Public Health?
No. HAVEN is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Although established by state law to be an alternative to discipline program, HAVEN is independent from the Department. HAVEN is required by law to notify the Department and to transfer HAVEN records to the Department if a professional is not compliant.
9. If I know a professional has a DUI or other arrest due to a health condition, do I need to make a report?
Yes. A healthcare professional may not rely on the individual professional’s obligation to self-report. A health care professional who is aware that another professional has been arrested for a drug related offense is legally obligated to report to HAVEN or to DPH. A healthcare professional who is aware of an arrest for behavior which raises a concern for fitness to practice is also required to make a report, although the professional does not have an obligation to self-report an arrest related to mental health.
10. If the Department of Consumer Protection (Drug Control Division) was notified, do I still need to make a report to DPH or HAVEN?
Yes. A report to Department of Consumer Protection does not satisfy the mandated reporting responsibility. The Department may wait for DCP to complete its investigation. HAVEN will reach out to the professional.
11. May I investigate to confirm or rule out a physical or mental health condition prior to deciding if I am required to make a report?
Although you should confirm that the concern arises from fact, e.g. professional observed slurring words on an identified date and time, you may not coordinate a medical or psychiatric evaluation, require production of medical or mental health records, or require a report whether oral or written from a treatment provider in lieu of making the report. A hospital committee, employee assistance program, or other entity does not satisfy mandated reporting responsibilities. If you have sufficient information to require that a health condition with the potential for impairment must be ruled out, you are mandated to report the concern to the Department or HAVEN.
12. Is the professional referred entitled to due process or a hearing?
If the referral is made to the Department, the professional is entitled to due process and a hearing before the appropriate Board or Commission. If the professional elects to work with HAVEN, the professional is not entitled to due process or a hearing. Working with HAVEN is not disciplinary and is a choice for an eligible professional.