Osteopathic Physician Advocacy Program (OPAP)

Program Purpose

The Osteopathic Physician Advocacy Program (OPAP) is a voluntary program established by the Kansas Association of Osteopathic Medicine for the purpose of assisting any doctor of osteopathic medicine whose health and/or professional effectiveness has been or is likely to be impaired by the disease of chemical dependency and/or other physical or mental health issues. Services provided by OPAP are intended to be in the best interest of the physician and public.  Through OPAP, impaired physicians are encouraged to seek treatment and rehabilitation.

Program Goals

  1. Protect the public by fulfilling ethical obligations of the profession.
  2. Educate Kansas Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, their families, and concerned others about the disease of chemical dependency and physical or mental health issues, and the Association’s program of assistance.
  3. Encourage voluntary participation in this program or in other programs of recovery for physicians.
  4. Provide a mechanism of intervention, referral, and monitoring of physicians who are actually or potentially impaired by the use of alcohol or other drugs and/or other physical or mental health issues. 

Chemical Dependency

The vast majority of problems seen by OPAP and programs like it around the country are related to a chronic disease called chemical dependency—an addiction to alcohol and/or other drugs.

Over 10% of the total population suffers from chemical dependency.  Some estimate that the risk of becoming chemically dependent is at least this high for health care professionals; others believe this estimate is too conservative.  Clearly, no profession is immune.

Chemical dependency is primarily a disease which follows a predictable and progressive course.  It is a permanent condition.  Left unchecked, it is fatal and threatens the health and safety of family, friends and, in the case of the health care professional, the public.  Fortunately, chemical dependency can be effectively treated. 

OPAP Can Help

Under Kansas law, anyone with knowledge of a physician's practice that is or could be below the standard of care must immediately notify the appropriate authorities.  Since OPAP acts as an agent of the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts, these reports or self-referrals can be made –confidentially –directly to OPAP.  Once notified, OPAP will:

  • Appoint a qualified OPAP representative to verify that a problem exists.
  • Refer the physician for evaluation and treatment if needed. 
  • Monitor and verify treatment progress and compliance.
  • Referring family members and friends to support activities for the recovering physician.


OPAP assures all participants in its program the utmost confidentiality. NO ONE outside of OPAP, not even the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts, will be notified of the referred physician’s condition unless he or she fails to cooperate with the OPAP program.

Together, physician and OPAP can work toward overcoming chemical dependence, ensuring the public and the profession that this illness is being carefully and competently addressed.

Help Us Help You

If you have a problem, or you’re concerned about someone who does, remember: You are not alone…OPAP can help.  Don’t wait until a problem threatens someone’s career and medical license.  Call and see if OPAP can help.  For more information on the services available through OPAP, call 1- 785-234 5563 and ask to speak with the OPAP administrator. 

All calls to OPAP are completely confidential.

OPAP is supported by a grant from the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts and by a medical director who can be consulted through OPAP. 

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