ABOUT SafeHaven™

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.

SafeHaven Legislation

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.

Independence. The bill establishes in the Virginia Code legal protections for a professional program which addresses issues related to burnout by doctors of medicine or osteopathic medicine and physician assistants.

Immunity. Amendments give more professional discretion to the provider on when to report to the board a belief that a physician or PA is in danger to themselves or others. All participants of SafeHaven™ are immune from reporting unless they are a danger to themselves or others.

Privileged. Consultations under SafeHaven™ are considered privileged communications and do not pose a risk to your medical license, except in the case of extraordinary circumstances.

To read more about HB115 and how SafeHaven™ benefits clinicians, download our legislative guide.

FAQs

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.

CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER

Terri Babineau, M.D. MSt FAAFP is a family physician and Associate Professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the Chief Medical Officer for the Medical Society of Virginia’s SafeHaven™ Program. Dr. Babineau attended the University of Virginia for undergrad and graduated from Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS). Dr. Babineau earned a Master’s degree from the University of Oxford in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and wrote her dissertation on healthcare burnout. She is an advocate for Humanism in Medicine and is on the National Advisory Council for the Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society as well as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society.

On top of her continuous work as a physician and advocate for physician mental health and wellness, Dr. Babineau has multiple publications, “Physician Burnout and Compassion Fatigue: Individual and Institutional Response to an Emerging Crisis” and “Covid-19, Healthcare Workers and Their Mental Health.” Her passion for mental health and working with the underserved also led her to work on the development of a course, Mindfulness as Service Learning Program. This course taught mindfulness to medical students and underserved elementary students. Dr. Babineau’s work will continue to support physicians, residents, and medical students throughout their career to combat physician burnout and compassion fatigue.

Publications by Dr. Babineau

Physician Burnout and Compassion Fatigue: Individual and Institutional Response to an Emerging Crisis 

COVID-19, Healthcare Workers and Their Mental Health
via Richmond Times Dispatch