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Physician Well-Being Program Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the PWBP?

The South Dakota Physician Well-Being Program (PWBP) is a confidential well-being program offered by the SD State Medical Association, with funding support from Avera, Monument and Sanford Health Systems. SDCL 36-2A-16 provides provision for a state medical association to offer a physician wellness program.


2. Who can utilize services with the Physician Well-Being Program?

PWBP services are available for all physicians licensed in South Dakota. Membership in the South Dakota State Medical Association, or employment with supporting health care systems is not a requirement for participation. 

3. I do not live near Sioux Falls. How can I utilize the South Dakota Physician Well-Being Program?

In addition to in person meetings, PWBP confidential services are available via phone consultation or via confidential remote access. 


4. How does the Physician Well-Being Program honor my confidentiality?

In accordance with  SDCL 36-2A-17, PWBP is the only program in SD that is able to provide a safe-haven for confidential services.  Services with PWBP are considered "pre-clinical". As such, PWBP does not create a medical record, does not bill insurance and thus information about your participation is not available on a public domain. SDCL 36-2A-17 holds that any record of a person's participation in a physician wellness program is confidential and not subject to discovery, subpoena, or a reporting requirement to the applicable board, unless the participant voluntarily provides for written release of the information. Without a signed release of information, PWBP will not provide feedback to the medical board or your organization administration. The only break in confidentiality is if an individual’s safety is in question. 

5.  What is my cost for services with the Physician Well-Being Program?

There is an initial administration fee of $200 which can be paid by cash, check, or money order.  For physicians who engage in ongoing supportive services with PWBP, there is a fee of $50 per month. PWBP strives to provide value in services which far outweigh out-of-pocket program costs. 

6. What services are offered by the Physician Well-Being Program?

PWBP can be a resource for a variety of concerns. PWBP seeks to empower providers, assist physicians to move beyond burnout and career fatigue, and assist our valued medical providers to experience more joy and satisfaction in their personal and professional lives.


Individualized consultation or well-being services may include:

  • Support to address work/life balance challenges

  • Support to address personal and family stressors

  • Support to address grief and loss

  • Support to address financial stressors

  • Support to address anxiety and depression

  • Support to address concerns around substance use

7. Is the Physician Well-being Program for impaired physicians?

PWBP seeks to encourage early access to supportive services to prevent health conditions progressing to the level of impairment. Professionals in PWBP may have medical conditions including mental health or substance use conditions. With assistance and support through PWBP, treatment outside of PWBP, and worksite accountability,  PWBP strives to prevent illness from progressing to the level considered to meet the SDCL definition of impairment.

8. What does impairment mean?

In 1973, The American Medical Association defined the impaired physician as one who is unable to fulfill professional and personal responsibilities because of a psychiatric illness, alcoholism, or drug dependency. SDCL 36-2A-1 defines impairment as the inability of a licensee to practice with reasonable skill or safety, or whose practice poses a risk to the public as a result of an unmanaged or undermanaged mental health or substance use related issue or disorder.

9. Is the Physician Well-Being Program part of the South Dakota Board of Medicine (SD BMOE)?

PWBP is not part of the SD BMOE and does not have a reporting obligation to the board.

More Questions?

Please contact us at 605-275-4711.

We look forward to speaking with you.

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