The Ongoing Battle for Mental Health Care for Physicians

There are health awareness months for many diseases. From heart disease to cancer, disabling conditions receive recognition and campaigns for research and improved treatment options for patients. It is important to raise visibility and awareness of medical conditions, especially those that are not readily apparent. This includes mental health conditions.

Mental health awareness is an ongoing campaign. Many people do not realize how many people around them suffer from a mental health condition and how those conditions impact their ability to perform even simple tasks of daily living despite the outward appearance of having it all together until one day their suffering comes to a crippling point. Even when a mental health condition becomes severe enough to disable a person, they may not seek the help they need due to a lack of available resources or the stigma of admitting they have a mental health impairment. Raising awareness of mental health conditions can improve treatment plans as patients learn what options are available to them as well as reduce their hesitancy in acknowledging their need for help as these conditions become more accepted. 

Healthcare providers including surgeons, medical researchers, and doctors are not immune from psychological or psychiatric impairments. In fact, the high-stakes environment of the medical field and high levels of stress can contribute to declining mental health. Some of the common mental health impairments that prevent physicians from continuing their medical careers are correlated to the intense work of the medical field; these conditions include PTSD, depression, anxiety, and behavior disorders.

Unfortunately, many medical professionals are hesitant to seek the care they need due to the stigma still associated with mental health conditions. There are active campaigns within the medical community with the goal of promoting mental health resources for healthcare providers and encouraging them to seek the treatment they need to take care of themselves and in turn their patients. Through continued advocacy for mental health care, we can help physicians get the medical care they need along with the disability insurance benefits they have contracted for with their insurance company.

Seltzer & Associates has represented physicians and medical professionals across the nation in their pursuit of disability insurance benefits when they become disabled due to mental health impairments. If you are a medical professional who is unable to maintain your medical career due to a disabling psychological or psychiatric impairment, you need the support of an experienced long-term disability lawyer. Seltzer & Associates will handle your claim with care and compassion. We understand the delicate nature of your medical condition and will demonstrate the utmost respect for you while diligently pursuing your disability insurance benefits.

The Importance of Receiving Continuing Care for Disabling Mental Health Conditions

Seeking medical care and treatment for mental health conditions is critical. Even after diagnosis and initial treatment, it is important to continue treatment and allow your treating healthcare provider to continue monitoring your condition and prescribe the appropriate treatment. This could include a combination of talk therapy, behavioral therapy, medication, or intensive inpatient treatment. Despite the growing awareness of available treatment options for disabling mental health conditions, many physicians and medical professionals resist seeking the care they need due to the stigma of mental health diagnoses and the impact it could have on their careers. Not only can this lack of care contribute to the degradation of health, but it can also put their claim for disability insurance benefits at risk.

Long-term disability insurance policies contain a requirement that the disabled insured receive appropriate care for their disabling condition. The definition of appropriate care may vary among disability insurance policies, so it is important to know the requirements to be fulfilled to receive your disability insurance benefits, including how to present the medical evidence of your disability to your insurance company. Your long-term disability attorney can help you understand these contract provisions and guide you toward obtaining your disability insurance benefits. 

Another obstacle that physicians face in seeking treatment for their mental health condition is the impact the necessary treatment may have on their medical career. For example, medication to treat a mental health impairment may have side effects that disrupt concentration, limit the ability to focus, inhibit cognitive function, or cause memory problems. Additionally,  medication therapy could have physical side effects such as changes in appetite, dizziness, and fatigue that would prevent the physician from administering the necessary care to their own patients. Some medical providers would not want to risk the disruption to their career and therefore put off treatment for their own ailments. This ultimately puts their patients in danger of medical error due to the physician not being able to perform their duties due to their disability. 

Another concern that physicians have when seeking medical care for mental health or addiction is if their condition requires inpatient or intensive outpatient therapy that would interrupt their medical career. Ultimately, appropriate care and treatment are crucial for the health and well-being of the suffering medical professional, even if it requires a leave of absence from the medical field. Long-term disability insurance benefits provide replacement income when a disability such as a mental health condition or addiction prevents a physician from working. The financial security afforded by disability insurance benefits allows insureds to take the time they need for treatment and focus on improving their own health. 

A continued record of treatment is important to maintaining your disability insurance benefits. When it comes to psychological conditions, the insurance company may not observe the severity of your condition or how your treatment prevents you from practicing medicine, resulting in the premature termination of benefits. Your own treating physician can provide statements and evaluations of your condition and limitations to demonstrate why you cannot work in the medical field in your current state of health. Your disability insurance lawyer will present this medical proof to the insurance company to support your claim and protect your financial interest in your disability insurance benefits.

Contact a Long Term Disability Lawyer

If you are unable to continue working in the medical field due to a disabling mental health impairment, you need to contact an experienced long-term disability lawyer to pursue your claim for disability insurance benefits. Schedule your free consultation with Seltzer & Associates by completing our online contact form or calling 888-699-4222.