Maintenance & Monitoring Programs


Approved: February 5, 2009
Revised: June, 2014

Physicians with substance use disorders can benefit from enrolment in formalized maintenance and monitoring programs: some studies indicate that this doubles the likelihood of maintained abstinence[1].

Maintenance of continued abstinence is essential both for physician health and to safeguard the public.

It is can be helpful to physicians to have “proof of abstinence” in case of any complaint being made against them.

After the mandatory period of maintenance and monitoring, physicians may wish to consider voluntary continuation or specialized “alumni” programs tailored to their specific needs.


[1] “Five year outcomes in a cohort study of physicians treated for substance use disorders in the United States”, BMJ 2008 337.


  1. All physicians entering into the College’s physician health monitoring program shall have monitoring systems put in place.
  2. The monitoring system will be individualized based on the known history of the physician.
  3. The variety of monitoring system chosen will take into account findings and reports from the treatment programs attended by the physician.
  4. Monitoring systems may include regular monitoring of body fluids and /or other biological entities.
  5. Monitoring, where possible, shall be done in a randomized fashion, except in cases where regular time based tests may be utilized.
  6. The decision concerning the variety of testing system utilized should be discussed with the Drug Testing Review Consultant. This will ensure that the most appropriate, up-to-date and effective method is utilized.
  7. A system should be in place to make the possibility of abusing the monitoring system as remote as possible. Where possible and appropriate this should include random witnessed collections.
  8. The results of the tests should be sent to the Drug Testing Review Consultant who is the responsible individual for ordering the investigation.
  9. The results of the tests should shared with the Program Coordinator and the College representative responsible for the program.
  10. The duration of the maintenance and monitoring program will be determined by the Assistant Registrar, as outlined in Continuing Care Contracts
  11. Participants will be expected to participate in monthly group monitoring meetings in either Calgary or Edmonton, Alberta.  Accommodations for travel difficulties or other unusual circumstances will be considered.


Dr. Jeremy Beach, Assistant Registrar
780-969-4940 or 1-800-561-3899 ext. 4940 (in Canada)

Leanne Minckler, Physician Health Advisor
780-969-4943 or 1-800-561-3899 ext. 4943 (in Canada)