Patients Likely To See More Physician Assistants And Less Physicians Under Revised Maryland Law

Effective October 1, 2012, the requirements for a patient’s care by a physician assistant and supervising physician have changed.  It is no longer required that patients being treated by a physician assistant be seen initially by a supervising physician and as frequently as the patient’s condition requires, but no less than within every five appointments or within 180 days, whichever occurs first. Instead, the law now grants a great deal of discretion and supervisory control to the physician and only requires that there be a delegation agreement between a physician assistant and a supervising physician that provides:

(1) A description of the qualifications of the primary supervising physician and physician assistant;

(2) A description of the settings in which the physician assistant will practice;

(3) A description of the continuous physician supervision mechanisms that are reasonable and appropriate to the practice setting;

(4) A description of the delegated medical acts that are within the primary or alternate supervising physician’s scope of practice and require specialized education or training that is consistent with accepted medical practice;

(5) An attestation that all medical acts to be delegated to the physician assistant are within the scope of practice of the primary or alternate supervising physician and appropriate to the physician assistant’s education, training, and level of competence;

(6) An attestation of continuous supervision of the physician assistant by the primary supervising physician through the mechanisms described in the delegation agreement;

(7) An attestation by the primary supervising physician of the physician’s acceptance of responsibility for any care given by the physician assistant;

(8) A description prepared by the primary supervising physician of the process by which the physician assistant’s practice is reviewed appropriate to the practice setting and consistent with current standards of acceptable medical practice;

(9) An attestation by the primary supervising physician that the physician will respond in a timely manner when contacted by the physician assistant; and 

(10) The following statement: 

PHYSICIAN AND THE PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT ATTEST THAT

(I) THEY WILL ESTABLISH A PLAN FOR THE TYPES OF CASES THAT REQUIRE A PHYSICIAN PLAN OF CARE OR REQUIRE THAT THE PATIENT INITIALLY OR PERIODICALLY BE SEEN BY THE SUPERVISING PHYSICIAN; AND

(II) THE PATIENT WILL BE PROVIDED ACCESS TO THE SUPERVISING PHYSICIAN ON REQUEST

For more information regarding the new requirements or to receive a copy of the new law contact Gregory S. Weiner at gweiner@pklaw.com or 410-339-5785. 

For more information about PK Law’s Medical Malpractice Defense Group go to http://www.pklaw.com/practice-areas/medical-malpractice-defense/.