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Travis CMS Safe Harbor Counseling Program

 

Confidential physician counseling program now available throughout Texas

Sometimes it’s easy to bounce back from challenges or setbacks. Other times it can seem overwhelming and feel impossible to get things back on track.

TMLT is partnering with the Travis County Medical Society to bring their Safe Harbor Counseling Program to physicians across Texas. TMLT will cover the cost of up to four visits for you and four visits for your spouse/partner with a counselor from the Travis CMS-vetted, doctorate-level counselors.

The Safe Harbor program was created to help clear the roadblocks many physicians face when considering therapy. It offers a way for physicians to access counseling without the fear that their employer, practice partners, or medical board will know that they’ve accessed it.

Because access to the program is confidential, there is no identifying information shared between TMLT, the counselors, or the Travis CMS Wellness Program. Wellness program sessions do not require reporting to the Texas Medical Board or to credentialing entities as there is no diagnosis made and no insurance is billed. 

The Travis CMS Safe Harbor Program has been providing direct, meaningful help to physicians since 2017. 
 

How do I access the program?

Click here and contact the counselor of your choice by using the contact information listed with the counselor bios. When you call, identify yourself as a TMLT policyholder or spouse accessing the physician wellness program. You will need to give them your name during the scheduling process, but the names of those accessing counseling are never passed along to TMLT or TCMS by the counselor.
 

How it works

  • As you renew your policy with TMLT, you will be sent information on how to access the program.
  • TMLT will pay for up to four visits for you and four visits for your spouse with a counselor from the Travis CMS panel.
  • These doctorate-level counselors were researched, interviewed, and selected by TCMS staff and physician members of the PWP Steering Committee. Travis CMS reviews feedback from those accessing counseling services to make sure these counselors are providing excellent care.
  • Counselors are Austin-based and available for in-person or virtual visits.
     

Safe Harbor FAQs

What is the Travis County Medical Society (CMS) Safe Harbor Counseling Program?
Travis CMS Safe Harbor Counseling Program provides a limited number of confidential counseling or therapy services to physicians as a benefit of medical society membership.

TMLT will pay for up to four visits with the Travis CMS network of counselors for any TMLT policyholder (four visits for physicians and four visits for their spouses) — no matter where they live in Texas.

Safe Harbor is very similar in design to an employee assistance program (EAP), which is frequently added on to health insurance policies. An EAP provides employees the opportunity to seek a limited number of counseling sessions which are usually paid for 100 percent by the employer or the health insurance plan.

Although 97 percent of large employers in the U.S. offer EAPs, they are not widely used by physicians. In the medical profession, there is great stigma around asking for help and intense scrutiny by boards of medicine and credentialing bodies over mental health issues that might cause impairment. Thus, it is no surprise when large employers or hospital HR personnel report that “very few” physicians access their EAP.

By providing a PWP outside of employment, Travis CMS and TMLT offer a way for policyholders to find the same types of counseling services without the inherent fear that their employer, practice partners, or medical board will find out that they’ve accessed it.

CMS-sponsored physician wellness programs have a history of success. The nation’s first counseling and coaching program sponsored by a medical society was launched in 2012 in Lane County, Oregon. This program began after a series of physician suicides in Eugene, Oregon’s medical community. Physicians implored the medical society to “do something,” and the medical society decided it would not be “another” poorly attended conference on physician suicide. Instead, staff and the CMS board of directors launched a program that has since been replicated in more than two dozen societies, including Travis CMS.

Why is TMLT partnering with Travis CMS?
After studying physician wellness programs of all sizes and types, the TMLT Board of Governors concluded that the Travis CMS Safe Harbor Program is highly effective in providing direct, meaningful help to physicians.

TMLT wants to complement the success of the Travis CMS Safe Harbor Program and bring the program to physician policyholders across Texas.

How does the program work?
As you renew your policy with TMLT, you will be sent information on how to access to the program. TMLT will pay for up to four visits for you and four visits for your spouse with a counselor from the Travis CMS panel.

These doctorate-level counselors were researched, interviewed, and selected by TCMS staff and physician members of the PWP Steering Committee. Travis CMS reviews feedback from those accessing counseling services to make sure these counselors are providing excellent care. Counselors are Austin-based and available for in-person or virtual visits.

Visit the landing page to access the program or to learn more.

My policy does not renew until December, but I need help now.
If you need help now, please click here and reach out to one of the counselors.

Will TMLT know that I’ve sought counseling through the program?
No. The names of those accessing counseling are not passed along to TMLT or to Travis CMS.

My group provides my insurance through TMLT. Will my group know I’ve sought counselling through the program?
No. There is no identifying information shared between the counselors, TMLT, or the Travis CMS Safe Harbor Program.

Will participating in the program make my rates go up or affect my insurability?
No. Since information that could identify you is NOT shared with TMLT, accessing the program will not affect your rates or your insurability with TMLT.

Will this count against my claim record as a claim or reportable incident at TMLT?
No. Information that could identify you is not shared with TMLT. Accessing the program will not affect your claim history at TMLT.

If I ever have a claim, will TMLT or my attorney know that I sought counseling in this program?
No. The names of those accessing counseling are not passed along to TMLT.

Will it be reported to the Texas Medical Board that I’ve sought help through this program?
No. Access to the program is confidential. Information that could identify you is not shared with TMLT or the Texas Medical Board.

Do I have to use counselors from the Travis CMS panel?
Yes. To have your four counseling sessions paid for by TMLT, you must use a counselor from the Travis CMS panel. These counselors have been vetted and selected by Travis CMS based on their credentials, experience in working with physicians, and feedback from those who have accessed the program. They are also able to offer priority and flexible scheduling to physician wellness program participants.