The Medical Society of Sedgwick County is working with the Kansas Medical Society to try to alter some questions on the Kansas license application that could discourage physicians from seeking help for depression, burnout or other mental health issues.
A recent survey of MSSC members by the KU School of Medicine-Wichita found a higher rate of burnout than national surveys of physicians (49.5 percent vs. 43.9 percent). The burnout rates were even higher for MSSC members in early or mid-career.
One major barrier to physicians seeking help is fear they could be punished professionally. National research found that questions on license applications about mental health can contribute to this fear.
MSSC and KMS are asking the Kansas Board of Healing Arts to review the impairment-related questions on its application.
“MSSC respects the role and responsibilities of the BOHA,” said MSSC President Michael Lievens, MD “Our hope is that by helping physicians receive the care they need, both physicians and patients can be protected.”