Difficult Conversations Podcast

Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician

Episode 136 | March 22, 2021

Substance Abuse and Healthcare Workers

Steven Wolt and Dr. Michel Sucher

CEO and Chief Medical Advisor of Veritus

Steven Wolt

Hello and welcome to Difficult Conversations -Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician with Dr. Anthony Orsini. Today I have two great guests to talk about something that affects all of us: drug and alcohol addiction among healthcare providers such as doctors and nurses. We all know it exists, but it’s something no one ever wants to talk about. Today, I have Steven Wolt, CEO and Co-Founder of Veritus, whose personal journey as an executive in corporate America with a substance use disorder and his story of recovery is the reason he created Veritus. I also have Dr. Michel Sucher, Chief Medical Advisor of Veritus, who has been practicing addiction medicine for over 30 years and regarded nationally as a pioneer and foremost industry expert in alcohol and drug monitoring and after care programs. Veritus offers virtual substance abuse and trauma treatment programs exclusively for licensed medical professionals. Keep listening to hear more about the incredible things they are doing to help with this problem. As always, Dr. Orsini keeps his promise about two things, that you will feel inspired, and you will have learned valuable lessons to be a better and more compassionate communicator.

Steven shares his journey with drug addiction, his recovery, and how he became the CEO of Veritus. Dr. Sucher explains how prevalent addiction is among physicians and nurses, and the recent spike in physician burnout, suicide, and depression due to COVID. We find out why doctors and nurses start getting addicted to drugs. Many doctors find it helps with their emotional pain. We also learn why the Veritus approach works and how they help people by supporting and encouraging them to get help early. Dr. Sucher educates explains the laws that protect doctors from losing privileges. Steven tells us why he would not use the resources provided by his employers when he was going through his addiction, and about the uphill battle that goes on right now with people that are suffering and needing treatment.

Steven shares his advice on having that first conversation with someone after realizing you have a problem, being in denial, and saying, “Me too.” Dr. Sucher explains what he tells the people that think they are Superman and stresses how Veritus tries to get early recognition, early intervention, and early treatment to prevent consequences. Steven explains how Veritus does virtual treatments and the encouraging data that came out recently showing how it compares to in-person treatment, and Dr Sucher shares one other amazing finding about tele-health. Steven walks us through the process from making the first call to Veritus saying you need help, and he explains the program they offer called the Intensive Outpatient Program. If you enjoyed this podcast, please hit the subscribe button, and download all the previous episodes to find out more about what we do and how we teach communication.

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