Guiding Principles for Physician Reentry Programs

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Physician reentry is defined by the American Medical Association (AMA) as: “A return to clinical practice in the discipline in which one has been trained or certified following an extended period of clinical inactivity not resulting from discipline or impairment.” Physician reentry programs are creating an avenue for physicians who have left medicine in good standing to return to clinical practice. To date, however, programs have developed independently, with little coordination among them. If, as predicted, more physicians seek to reenter practice and more programs are developed in response, the need for information on program outcomes will grow. Valid assessment tools should be developed and shared across reentry programs to assess individual learner outcomes.This discussion paper sets forth Guiding Principles for Physician Reentry Programs as a step toward a more coordinated approach to physician reentry education and training. They serve as a reference for setting priorities and standards for action and, more specifically, offer a foundation from which programs can be planned, evaluated, and monitored. In addition to the guiding principles, an overview of physician reentry is provided including information on reentry physicians and physician reentry programs as well as a definition of physician reentry, reasons for taking leave and returning to clinical practice, and barriers physicians face as they seek to reenter clinical care.

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