“I feel that I needed this to begin my sobriety and it helped me grow and be accountable for my actions. It wasn't easy being in this program but I wanted to be sober and have my career. My spiritual journey continues.”

~ Client Testimonial



We expect a lot from our health professionals. They have demanding positions, and when making decisions that will affect the health and well-being of their patients, there is no room for error.  However, they are human too. They can succumb to burnout/stress, addictions, emotional or mental illness and behavioral issues, like everyone else. The difference is their problems can directly impact the safety of the patients they care for.  


Since 1996, the South Dakota Health Professionals Assistance Program (HPAP) has assisted with the recovery and safe return to practice for hundreds of SD healthcare providers. Healthcare professionals who are experiencing mental health or substance use illnesses are individuals who have dedicated their lives to helping others and are now in need of care themselves. If left untreated or if under-treated, these illnesses can place even the finest clinicians and their patients at risk. Many professionals do not get the help they need due to social stigma, fear of exposure, or lack of awareness. HPAP can help.


In accordance with SD Codified Law SDCL 36-2A, HPAP provides evaluation, consultation, coordination of care and ongoing recovery management to ensure adherence to prescribed treatment plans to support successful outcomes. Furthermore, documented recovery through HPAP can provide the basis for HPAP advocacy on behalf of participants.

Per SD Codified Law SDCL 36-2A-7 all Healthcare Professionals who hold an active license or are eligible for licensure under Title 36 are eligible for participation.  SD boards with active agreements with HPAP are: Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Optometry, Nursing Facility Administrators and Addiction & Prevention Professionals.  

Healthcare occupations are considered “safety sensitive” and healthcare professionals have a responsibility to the public. These positions require personal accountability and regulation by a licensing board or similar authority. Like all professionals, workers in safety sensitive positions are susceptible to illnesses that can lead to impairment. Such illnesses are common in society; depression and alcoholism each reportedly affect 1 in 10 Americans. If safety sensitive workers have an untreated or under-treated illness, this may lead to possible impairment in professional practice, and errors may occur which could cause significant harm to themselves or others.


HPAP acknowledges a primary concern for public safety. The program attempts to ensure public safety by providing voluntary, confidential alternatives which support health professionals’ recovery efforts. In addition to voluntary referrals, HPAP also provides mandated/disciplinary options for licensing boards when regulated health professionals’ mental health or substance use disorder requires recovery management and/or practice limitations. We believe a vibrant assistance program will enhance public safety by reducing risk associated with potentially impairing health conditions.


HPAP is a professionally staffed, confidential, statewide program designed for regulated health professionals who hold, or are eligible to hold, licensure as a healthcare professional. Most referrals come from employers and licensing boards; however, in an effort to encourage early intervention and improved outcomes, HPAP encourages self-referrals, referrals from families or peers, or referrals from medical or treatment agencies. If you call HPAP about a colleague, your contact will be held in the strictest confidence. We can serve as a resource to help determine appropriate next steps.

What are the advantages of managed recovery with HPAP?

  • HPAP promotes early intervention, which increases the likelihood of successful treatment and decreases the likelihood of clinical skills being compromised.

  • HPAP assists health professionals in obtaining the appropriate level of treatment and continued care.

  • HPAP believes a vibrant assistance program will enhance public safety by reducing the risk associated with potentially impairing health conditions.

  • HPAP staffed are licensed mental health and addiction counselors who provide care with compassion and dignity.

  • HPAP believes intervention and recovery management can save a career, a reputation, or even a life.

  • HPAP provides education regarding health and wellbeing for professionals in safety sensitive positions