SafeHaven™ was founded in 2020 after recognizing a greater need to provide physicians and PAs the support they need to stay well and prevent burnout. It was established when HB115 (Hope) and SB120 (Barker) successfully passed both chambers and were signed by Governor Northam.
As of 2021, the SafeHaven™ protections have been extended through additional legislation to now include nurses and pharmacists; as well as medical, nursing, PA, and pharmacy students.
In 2020, the Medical Society of Virginia introduced new legislation to help physicians and PAs get the emotional support they need. In response, on March 8, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam signed into effect HB115 and SB120, providing for the creation of the SafeHaven™ program. The SafeHaven™ legislation offers:
Independence. The bill establishes in the Virginia Code legal protections for a professional program which addresses issues related to burnout by Doctor of Medicine or osteopathic medicine, PAs, NPs, nurses, pharmacists, and students of medicine, PA, nursing and pharmacy.
Immunity. The law expands civil immunity for those practitioners who serve as members of or consultants to the MSV SafeHaven™ program, providing help to clinicians experiencing burnout. Clinicians participating in the SafeHaven™ program will not be reported unless they are not competent to practice or are a danger to themselves or others.
Privilege. Consultations under SafeHaven™ are considered privileged communications and only under extraordinary circumstances and in very rare cases would the communication become discoverable in litigation proceedings.
To read more about HB115 and how SafeHaven™ benefits clinicians, download our legislative guide.
How does SafeHaven™ address confidentiality?
SafeHaven™ is a confidential resource for healthcare practitioners seeking help to address career fatigue and other mental health issues. The law protects information, including proceedings, minutes, records and reports; and communications, written and oral, originating in SafeHaven™ as privileged. This protection means that such information or communications may not be disclosed or produced in a legal proceeding absent an order from a circuit court judge showing “good cause arising from extraordinary circumstances.”
Furthermore, the clinicians participating in the SafeHaven™ program will not be reported to the Virginia Board of Medicine unless they are not competent to practice or are a danger to themselves or others.