Tennessee Professional Assistance Program How to Report Someone with a Problem
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Funding Our Mission Web Site Survey
Who We Are What We Do TnPAP is not
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TnPAP is a program of the Tennessee Nurses Foundation. The program is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Health.

Our Mission

The mission of the Tennessee Professional Assistance Program is to assist in the rehabilitation of impaired healthcare professionals by providing consultation, referral, and monitoring services to facilitate a safe return to practice.

Who We Are

StairsThe Peer Assistance Program (PAP) was established by the Tennessee Nurses Association in 1981 and subsequently placed under the Tennessee Nurses Foundation (TNF) in 1982 to assist in the rehabilitation of nurses who were impaired from the abuse of drugs or alcohol. From 1981 to 1994, the program was staffed with nurse volunteers who contacted the chemically dependent nurses and urged him/her to acknowledge the problem and seek treatment. Failure of the chemically dependent nurse to seek treatment after adequate contacts necessitated reporting the individual to the Tennessee Board of Nursing. Determination of facts and disciplinary action has always been, and will continue to be, the responsibility of the Tennessee Department of Health's Division of Health Related Boards.

In addition to providing administrative support to the licensing boards, a purpose of the Health Related Boards is to assist in the rehabilitation of impaired professionals who are licensed by these Boards. The Health Related Boards has the power to enter into agreements, provide grants, and make other arrangements with statewide nonprofit professional associations or foundations to identify and assist impaired professionals who are licensed by these Boards.

In 1994, the Tennessee Board of Nursing contracted with the Tennessee Nurses Foundation to provide advocacy, referral, and monitoring services for their licensees as an alternative to licensure discipline.

Due to the success of the program, other professional boards expressed an interest in partnering with PAP. In an effort to embrace other health care professionals, the PAP changed its name to the Tennessee Professional Assistance Program (TnPAP); however, the original structure and philosophy have not changed.

In addition to the Tennessee Board of Nursing, TnPAP presently is partnered with the following licensing boards/committees:

Board of Occupational Therapy
October 1, 1998
Board of Physical Therapy
October 1, 1998
Board of Respiratory Care
October 1, 1999
Committee on Physician Assistants
July 1, 2001
Emergency Medical Services Board
July 1, 2005
Medical Laboratory Board
July 1, 1999
Board of Massage Licensure
June 1, 2015
Colleges and Universities for students enrolled in a health profession education progam.

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What We Do

  • Couple at a LakeConfidential consultations.
  • Access incoming referrals to determine appropriate action.
  • Provide education to healthcare students, professional associations and other organizations through access to e-learning.
  • Facilitate evaluations and/or treatment.
  • Establish monitoring upon treatment discharge.
  • Provide advocacy for compliant participants with employer and TN Department of Health (licensure board).
  • Administer support groups throughout TN by tracking meeting attendance. of participants and consulting with facilitators for feedback on participant's progress.
  • Perform day to day case management on all actively monitored participants.
  • Report non-compliance of participants to TN Department of Health for appropriate action to ensure public safety and welfare.

TnPAP is not …

  • a treatment program
  • a place to hide illegal activity
  • an easy way out of a tough situation
  • a program for repeat offenders
  • a program for licensees who do not feel that they have a problem (denial) or who are not ready to change (unwillingness)
  • authorized to provide legal advice


  • The program offers an avenue for early identification, treatment, monitoring and advocacy for healthcare providers whose practice may be impaired due to a physical, psychological or chemical impairment.
  • The program offers compassionate and structured support to impaired healthcare providers.
  • Consultation with employers to assure a safe transition back to practice.
  • To increase awareness of physical, mental, or chemical impairment among healthcare providers, employers and educators.

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Steps in Basic TnPAP Services

  1. Initial contact with TnPAP representative.
  2. Evaluation/assessment by TnPAP approved healthcare provider
  3. Evaluator provides TnPAP with recommended treatment plan.
  4. If appropriate, TnPAP refers and/or assists participant in selecting appropriate treatment center.
  5. TnPAP provides support throughout the period of treatment.
  6. Treatment facility staff develop aftercare plan.
  7. Participant must be deemed safe to return to work as a practitioner by treatment facility, evaluator, and TnPAP staff.
  8. Participant is monitored from 3 to 5 years (or longer if necessary).


  • Addiction graphicTo provide support and close monitoring of professionals who are unsafe, or potentially unsafe, to practice due to a physical, mental or chemical impairment;
  • To facilitate early intervention, thereby decreasing the time between the professional's acknowledgement of the problem and his/her entry into a recovery process;
  • To provide a program for affected professionals to be rehabilitated in a therapeutic, non-punitive and non-public process;
  • To develop a statewide resource network for referral of impaired professionals to appropriate services;
  • To provide outreach and education to healthcare facilities, professional organizations, and healthcare professional schools throughout the state of Tennessee to promote understanding of chemical impairment and the recovery process.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is TnPAP? TnPAP is a voluntary program that aids healthcare professionals struggling with physical, psychological or chemical impairment impacting their professional practice by providing an avenue for early identification, treatment, monitoring and advocacy.
Why is this program offered? The Tennessee Department of Health, Division of Health Related Boards, believes that chemical impairment is an illness and should be treated as such. A healthcare provider who cooperates fully with recommended evaluation/treatment and comply with requirements of the program, may be allowed to continue practicing if they engage in sound recovery techniques.
Who is eligible to enroll in TnPAP?
  • An individual who agrees to cease practice until a return to practice authorization is obtained from TnPAP.
  • An individual who holds a valid Tennessee license or is eligible for licensure in the state of Tennessee.
  • An individual who voluntarily requests admission to the program.
  • An individual who agrees to undergo an evaluation from a TnPAP approved evaluator and adheres to any/all evaluation recommendations.
  • An individual who agrees, in writing, to comply with the Monitoring Agreement.
Who may be ineligible for TnPAP enrollment? Factors which may disqualify a healthcare practitioner include, but may not be limited to:
  • An individual who refuses to cease practice when requested to do so by TnPAP.
  • An individual who has caused actual or potential patient harm.
  • An individual who is considered an imminent danger to the public.
  • An individual who has a recent history of chemical dependency and failed treatment.
  • An individual who has been determined not fit for enrollment after independent comprehensive evaluation.
  • An individual who does not hold a Tennessee license or is not eligible for a Tennessee license.
  • An individual whose license has been disciplined in another state.
Who can refer?
  • Employer.
  • Self-Referral. The individual contacts TnPAP prior to being confronted or requested to do so by an employer, co-worker, friend, or family member.
  • Board-Referral. The individual is referred to TnPAP as a result of a complaint indicating that a practice act violation occurred.
  • Family members, co-workers, and friends.
When to refer? The sooner the better. Contact us if you have any questions about any health or personal problem, especially if this issue may have the potential to affect work.
What are the terms of the monitoring agreement? The monitoring agreement usually includes, but may not be limited to the following:
  • Attendance at support group and 12-step meetings.
  • Toxicology screening.
  • Refrain from the use of mood altering drugs including alcohol.
  • Timely submission of reports.
  • Narcotic restriction, if deemed appropriate.
  • Obtaining an AA/NA sponsor.
Will I need to stop working if I decide to enroll in TnPAP? Yes. When you are enrolling in the TnPAP you must stop working until it is determined that you are safe to practice. This will be determined by TnPAP.
How long will I be off work if I decide to enroll in TnPAP? The length of time is very individualized and largely depends on how quickly you obtain an evaluation and adhere to the recommendations, if any.
Will my employer be notified that I am participating in TnPAP? Yes. However, you are encouraged to notify your employer first. You will be required to provide your employer with a copy of the Monitoring Agreement. Your case manager will also have a conversation with your employer to discuss any workplace restrictions.
How will I be able to survive financially if I cannot work? Many healthcare providers who have enrolled in TnPAP have experienced financial hardships.Some have been able to get assistance by obtaining disability during this time. You may also be able to obtain work outside of your licensed field. Remember, many providers face the possibility of losing their license if they do not enter this program and that would be more of a financial hardship in the long run.
Does a court ordered diversion program take the place of TnPAP? A court ordered diversion program does not take the place of TnPAP.
I am licensed in another state and participating in their alternative/ diversion program. I am thinking about transferring to TN. Can I automatically transfer while I am in the process of obtaining a TN license? No. Individuals who are participating in another state’s alternative/diversion program and not yet licensed in TN are not eligible to participate in TN. A practitioner must be licensed and residing in or working in TN before requesting monitoring by TnPAP. Also, permission from the out-of state licensure board, alternative program and the TN licensure board must be provided, in writing, to TnPAP along with a copy of the TN license at the time the request to transfer is made.
What is the cost? There is no cost for TnPAP services when the individual has an active TN license. However, the cost of the evaluation, treatment support group meetings and toxicology screens are the responsibility of the healthcare professional.

Individuals who do not hold an active license will be asked to pay a monitoring fee annually until the license status is once again active.
How does an individual get into TnPAP? Participation in TnPAP is always voluntarily. The first step is to request enrollment.
Can I take my legitimate prescription for a controlled substance and work? That is a decision for the nurse, their physician and the employer. However, the practitioner cannot work if the substance impairs their ability to provide safe care to the public.
What if I have a legitimate prescription for a controlled substance and it shows on a drug screen?
  • If there is a Verification of Prescribed Medication report on file in the TnPAP office and the MRO determines legitimate use, the screen will be considered negative.
  • If there is no Verification of Prescribed Medication report on file in the TnPAP office and/or the MRO determines illegitimate use, the screen will be considered positive.
What if I am a "recreational drug user" and not a substance abuser? TnPAP does not discriminate between these two individuals. TnPAP is an abstinence based program. Abstinence is defined as refraining from the use of any mood-altering substance, including alcohol.
Is the Program successful? Yes. The majority of participants successfully complete the program. To do so, they must adhere to all the stipulations contained in a signed monitoring agreement and demonstrate a change in lifestyle that supports continuing recovery.

Participants who violate their agreement and are unable or unwilling to become compliant are reported to the Tennessee Department of Health, Office of Investigations and possible disciplinary action against the license.

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Contact Us Online Web Site Survey - First time users only

Staff Directory

Contact us by Email, Telephone or Mail
TnPAP takes our customer service seriously. While our aim is to make our website easy to understand and navigate, we know there are times when you may need a bit of assistance. Therefore, we have provided a number of ways for you to contact us.

Steve Allen Case Manager 615-250-6103 steve@tnpap.org
Darren Thompson Case Manager 615-250-6109 darren@tnpap.org
Mike Harkreader Executive Director 615-250-6111 mike@tnpap.org
Teresa Phillips Associate Executive Director 615-250-6105 teresa@tnpap.org
Rachel Talley Administrative Director 615-250-6109 rachel@tnpap.org
Jeanie Brown Sr. Administrative Assistant 615-250-6104 jeanie@tnpap.org
Robin Bell Case Manager 615-250-6113 robin@tnpap.org

Main 615-726-4001 Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Central Time (except major holidays)
General Information 615-250-6104 jeanie@tnpap.org
Referral Questions 615-250-6104 jeanie@tnpap.org
Report Practitioner 615-250-6104 jeanie@tnpap.org
Education 615-250-6106  
Fax 615-726-4003  
Affinity Online Solutions (Drug testing agency) 877-267-4304  
Emergency After business hours, contact your local alcohol and drug treatment program, crisis intervention or emergency room for immediate assistance or call 911.

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TnPAP is a program of the Tennessee Nurses Foundation. This program is funded under an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Health.

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Tennessee Professional Assistance Program
545 Mainstream Drive, Suite 414
Nashville, TN  37228-1219
FAX 615-726-4003

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