The AAFP defines a physician as impaired when (s)he is unable to exercise prudent medical judgment and/or is unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety without jeopardy to patient care. This may be due to factors such as medical illness, alcoholism or other forms of substance abuse, mental illness, and/or behavioral disorders. In some instances, such factors may be substantially alleviated by treatment. A diagnosis alone of a mental illness is not a proxy for impairment.
The AAFP defines a physician as clinically deficient when (s)he does not exercise prudent medical judgment and/or is unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety without jeopardy to patient care. When the physician behavior is not egregious these factors may, in some instances, be alleviated through education and/or behavioral modification.
AAFP members who are participating in educational, treatment and/or behavioral modification programs for impaired or clinically deficient physicians will be supported by the AAFP and not be excluded from membership solely because of their participation in such programs. This policy does not prevent restriction or revocation of AAFP membership and its privileges if the member fails to meet membership requirements as specified in the Bylaws. The AAFP supports state and local medical society efforts to provide programs and resources (e.g., referral services, support groups) for impaired and clinically deficient physicians. (1987) (2016 COD)