Western Carolina Medical Society Foundation (WCMSF) Healthy Healer Program Policies
As part of its Healthy Healer Program (HHP), WCMSF has contracted with vetted therapists and coaches to provide their services to WCMS members at a 15% discount (self-pay only).
Contracted Therapists and Coaches
WCMS has selected therapists and professional coaches based on their reputation, location, experience, and professional courtesy in delivering these discounted services to its members. Participating therapists may include psychologists, professional counselors, and social workers, and all are licensed for the services they provide. Participating coaches are experienced in professional/life coaching, with preference for coaches certified by ICF and/or American College of Physician Executives.
WCMS looks for therapists and coaches who have been sensitized to the stressors faced by medical providers, including unforeseen medical outcomes, dealing with bureaucracy, loss of autonomy, depression, anxiety, functional addictions, work/life balance, litigation, etc.
Therapists and coaches agree to maintain professional liability coverage. Should a therapist or coach lose qualifications for licensed service, fail to renew licensure, lose or fail to renew professional services liability insurance, or in any other way fail to maintain professional qualifications for this service, the Memorandum of Agreement with that therapist or coach will be immediately cancelled.
Contracted therapists and coaches will be listed on the mywcms.org website under The Healthy Healer, along with their treatment foci, credentials, fee schedule, and a photo. Members may self-select their therapist or coach of choice and call one directly for an appointment, stating they are a member of WCMS. WCMS encourages Members to interview several coaches/therapists before selecting someone to work with to insure a good match.
Although WCMS does its best to ensure providers are qualified, it cannot guarantee suitability of a particular provider to a Member’s particular circumstances.
Services & Member Discount
These services are completely voluntary and at the Member’s initiative. The HHP does not take referrals from employer organizations. Members may privately access therapists or coaches at any time. Members are welcome to utilize more than one therapist or coach as part of this benefit based on preference, availability, treatment focus, etc. If multiple HHP therapists/coaches are working with the WCMS Member, the 15% discount will apply to all services.
The 15% discount applies only to self-pay patients. If insurance is used, the discount will not apply and the Member will not be participating through the Healthy Healer Program. Therapists and coaches will receive a WCMS membership list so they can accurately enact the 15% discount for members. The WCMS Member should also inform the participating therapist or coach of their membership status.
All services are subject to the same rules of confidentiality that apply to any coach/therapistMember client relationship. There are a limited number of legal circumstances in which a therapist or coach may be required to break confidentiality, such as imminent danger to self or others, which are mentioned in the Informed Consent form. Disclosure may also be permitted without your consent in the event you bring or are involved in a lawsuit against the coach/therapist and/or WCMS. Otherwise, there will be no disclosure without your written consent.
WCMS will have no knowledge of which members have accessed these services. Signed Informed Consent forms will be sent to a 3rd party Law Firm for safekeeping and WCMS will not see them except in the case of legal action.
There may be limited times where a therapist or coach believes a WCMS Member client is impaired in a way that threatens their ability to safely provide medical care. Therapists and coaches may recommend to the Member that they follow NC Medical Board guidelines on addressing mental health, substance abuse, and other health concerns to insure patient safety, including but not limited to anonymous self-referral to the North Carolina Physician Health Program. Failure to take action may be cause for the therapist/coach to discontinue the client relationship at their discretion. Counseling/coaching sessions are NOT reportable to the North Carolina Medical Board.
Therapists and coaches may also consult with professional colleagues about treatment or appropriate resources. All consultation discussion will be limited to de-identified data and Members’ identities will not be communicated or implied, directly or indirectly, without the express written consent of the Member.
In order to access the HHP discount, program utilizers must be current with their WCMS membership dues at the time of making appointments.
Participants may be any WCMS enrolled members including:
- Doctors of medicine or osteopathy
- Medical students
- Physician assistants
- Physician assistant students
- Retired MDs, DOs or PAs
The HHP discount does not include counseling, coaching, or other services for spouses, significant others, or family members, unless the therapist/coach requests they join the Member in a session. The client of record shall remain only the WCMS Member.
Appointments will typically be one hour sessions based on the availability of the therapist/coach. Urgent appointments to deal with an acute situation may be made at the discretion of the therapist or coach.
Coaches and therapists who are not local may conduct sessions by telephone and/or videoconference. Some coaches and therapists may require in-person meetings. Travel costs are the Members’ responsibility. Appointment availability will usually be provided during daytime business hours; however, some of the therapists and coaches allow for early morning, evening, and weekend hours to better accommodate member clients.
Members who arrive late to scheduled appointments are subject to being limited to the hour reserved by the therapists or coaches, based on their discretion and schedule. There may be a charge to the Member for missed appointments based on coach/therapists’ discretion.
If members are extremely concerned about anonymity, they may make special arrangements with their particular therapist or coach such as arriving off the top of the hour, texting before entering the facility, or whatever is agreed upon by both parties.
WCMS Healthy Healer Committee
The WCMS Healthy Healer Committee is a standing subcommittee of the WCMS Foundation Board of Directors to manage this program and related activities and resources. It is comprised of the Healthy Healer Committee Chair, the WCMS Executive Director, a psychiatrist, WCMS members, and any others whom the committee may choose to be involved. At least one representative from the current WCMS Foundation Board of Directors shall be a part of the committee.
The committee is responsible for producing meeting notes, reports, policy changes, and evaluations for the Board as requested.
The Committee Chair will be a WCMS member physician who agrees to provide oversight to the program in collaboration with the WCMS Executive Director, and report to the WCMS Foundation Board of Directors. Their responsibilities will include:
- Chair the Healthy Healer Committee with administrative assistance from the WCMS Executive Director and WCMS staff
- Along with the Healthy Healer Committee, manage and develop appropriate policies and procedures
- Along with the Healthy Healer Committee, evaluate the program’s effectiveness and report to the WCMS Board on a regular basis
- Along with the Healthy Healer Committee, promote the program within the medical community
- Allow self to be listed publicly as the Healthy Healer Committee Chairperson
- Act as a liaison with contracted therapists and coaches to share feedback, improvements, and/or issues/concerns.
- Vet new coaches and therapists as needed
The Chairperson will NOT do any peer review or clinical oversight of contracted services provided to individual member clients.
WCMS will utilize its website, email list, and printed materials to communicate directly with its members about this program. It will also work with hospital systems and large group employers to disseminate information to its members. WCMS will also market the program to potential members as a benefit of joining WCMS.
It is not the intent of WCMS to draw public attention to this program at this time, preferring to keep its existence known mostly in the medical community. Neither WCMS nor its contractors will use any photos of local members to promote this program and will use generic/stock images instead. Quotes &/or testimonials will only be used with permission of the Member, including any comments left on the participant survey. Any quotes &/or testimonials will remain de-identified, attributed only to “WCMS Member” or similar anonymous title.
These services will not be integrated into ANY mandated program by the NC State Board of Medicine, NC Physicians Health Program, peer review boards, health system, employer, or other disciplinary efforts around licensure, credentialing or employment. However, WCMS may seek endorsement by such programs as a voluntary means of seeking support and assistance for its members. Program Demographics Anonymous demographics forms will be collected by the therapist or coach and forwarded to WCMS after the initial appointment. Demographics to be collected include:
- Burnout Inventory (symptoms, causes, level of burnout)
- Primary medical specialty
- Employment status
Aggregated demographics data will be used for evaluation purposes and may be used to demonstrate the reach of the program to funders and donors.
An anonymous program survey and envelope will be provided to the Member during the first appointment with a reminder given by the therapist or coach to fill it out at the end of treatment. Surveys will be sent directly to WCMS by the participating Member, and can be completed anonymously. Participant survey results will be used to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of the Healthy Healer Program.
The bulk of the HHP will be funded out of the WCMS Foundation through donations, corporate contributions, and/or grants. Some HHP educational events will be funded through the WCMS Foundation.