HB 238 - Physician's assistants; license in lieu of certificate

First Reader Summary

A BILL to amend Chapter 34 of Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to physicians, physician's assistants, and respiratory care, so as to provide for the issuance of a license in lieu of a certificate to a physician's assistant upon approval by the Composite State Board of Medical Examiners of an application for utilization; to make conforming amendments to other provisions in said chapter; and for other purposes.

Henson, Michele (65th) Jones, Vernon A (71st) Martin, Jim (47th)
Walker, Len (87th) Hudson, Sistie G (120th)
Status Summary HC: H&E SC: H&HS LA: 04/21/97 Signed by Governor
Page Numbers - 1/ 2/ 3/ 4/ 5
Code Sections - 43-34-22
Recorded Votes
House Action Senate
1/27/97 Read 1st Time 2/10/97
1/28/97 Read 2nd Time 2/24/97
2/6/97 Favorably Reported 2/21/97
2/7/97 Read 3rd Time 3/27/97
2/7/97 Passed/Adopted 3/27/97
Comm/Floor Amend/Sub FA
3/28/97 Amend/Sub Agreed To 3/28/97
4/10/97 Sent to Governor
4/21/97 Signed by Governor
345 Act/Veto Number
7/1/97 Effective Date

HB 238                                              HB 238/AP 
 
      H. B. No. 238 (AS PASSED HOUSE AND SENATE) 
      By:  Representatives Henson of the 65th, Jones of the 71st, 
      Martin of the 47th, Walker of the 87th and Hudson of the 
      120th 
 
                        A BILL TO BE ENTITLED 
                               AN ACT 
 
 
  1- 1  To amend Chapter 34 of Title 43 of the Official Code of 
  1- 2  Georgia Annotated, relating to physicians, physician's 
  1- 3  assistants, and respiratory care, so as to provide for the 
  1- 4  issuance of a license in lieu of a certificate to a 
  1- 5  physician's assistant upon approval by the Composite State 
  1- 6  Board of Medical Examiners of an application for 
  1- 7  utilization; to make conforming amendments to other 
  1- 8  provisions in said chapter; to change the provisions 
  1- 9  relating to the number and geographic representation of 
  1-10  members of such board; to provide for an effective date; to 
  1-11  repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes. 
 
  1-12       BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA: 
 
  1-13                           SECTION 1. 
 
  1-14  Chapter 34 of Title 43 of the Official Code of Georgia 
  1-15  Annotated, relating to physicians, physician's assistants, 
  1-16  and respiratory care, is amended by striking in its entirety 
  1-17  paragraph (1) of subsection (e) of Code Section 43-34-21, 
  1-18  relating to the creation of the Composite State Board of 
  1-19  Medical Examiners, and inserting in lieu thereof the 
  1-20  following: 
 
  1-21      "(e)(1) The board shall appoint a Physician's Assistants 
  1-22      Advisory Committee composed of four physicians, at least 
  1-23      two of whom shall be members of the board, and four 
  1-24      certified licensed physician's assistants, who shall 
  1-25      each serve for terms of office of two years and until 
  1-26      their successors are appointed and qualified.  The 
  1-27      committee shall review matters to come before the board 
  1-28      which relate to physician's assistants, including but 
  1-29      not limited to applicants for physician's assistant 
  1-30      certification and recertification licensure and 
  1-31      relicensure and education requirements therefor, and 
  1-32      proposed board regulations concerning physician's 
  1-33      assistants.  The committee shall periodically make 
  1-34      recommendations to the board regarding matters reviewed. 
  1-35      Each member of the advisory committee shall be entitled 
 
 
                                 -1- 
 
 
 
  2- 1      to the same expense allowances, mileage allowances, and 
  2- 2      reimbursement as members of the board as provided for in 
  2- 3      subsection (f) of Code Section 43-1-2." 
 
  2- 4                          SECTION 1.1. 
 
  2- 5  Said chapter is further amended by striking Code Section 
  2- 6  43-34-22, relating to the number and geographic 
  2- 7  representation of the members of the State Board of Medical 
  2- 8  Examiners, and inserting in its place the following: 
 
  2- 9    "43-34-22. 
 
  2-10    The ten members of the State Board of Medical Examiners as 
  2-11    of March 16, 1970, shall become members of the board, to 
  2-12    serve terms coextensive with their terms on the previously 
  2-13    existing State Board of Medical Examiners. The other two 
  2-14    physician members of the board shall be appointed from 
  2-15    among the members of the State Board of Examiners in 
  2-16    Osteopathy in office as of March 16, 1970, to serve terms 
  2-17    coextensive with their terms on the previously existing 
  2-18    State Board of Examiners in Osteopathy. All subsequent 
  2-19    appointees shall serve for a term of four years and until 
  2-20    successors are appointed and qualified.  All 
  2-21    reappointments and new appointments shall be made so that 
  2-22    each congressional district in the state is represented by 
  2-23    an M.D. member at all times the various geographic regions 
  2-24    of the state shall be represented.  Any vacancy that may 
  2-25    occur in the board as a result of death, resignation, 
  2-26    removal from the state, or other cause shall be filled for 
  2-27    the unexpired term in the same manner as regular 
  2-28    appointments are made." 
 
  2-29                           SECTION 2. 
 
  2-30  Said chapter is further amended by striking in its entirety 
  2-31  paragraph (9) of subsection (a) of Code Section 43-34-26.1, 
  2-32  relating to delegation of authority to a nurse or 
  2-33  physician's assistant, and inserting in lieu thereof the 
  2-34  following: 
 
  2-35      "(9) 'Physician's assistant' means a person certified 
  2-36      licensed as a physician's assistant pursuant to Article 
  2-37      4 of this chapter, the 'Physician's Assistant Act.'" 
 
  2-38                           SECTION 3. 
 
  2-39  Said chapter is further amended by striking in their 
  2-40  entirety subsections (a) and (b) and paragraph (2) of 
  2-41  subsection (e.1) of Code Section 43-34-103, relating to 
 
 
 
                                 -2- 
 
 
 
  3- 1  applications for utilization of a physician's assistant, and 
  3- 2  inserting in lieu thereof the following: 
 
  3- 3    "(a) In order to obtain approval for the utilization of a 
  3- 4    person as a physician's assistant, whether the utilization 
  3- 5    is in a private practice or through a public or private 
  3- 6    health care institution or organization, the licensed 
  3- 7    physician who will be responsible for the performance of 
  3- 8    that assistant shall submit an application to the board. 
  3- 9    Such application shall include: 
 
  3-10      (1) Evidence submitted by the proposed physician's 
  3-11      assistant of his or her good moral character; 
 
  3-12      (2) Evidence of his or her competency in a health care 
  3-13      area related to his the job description which, as a 
  3-14      minimum, shall include: 
 
  3-15        (A) Evidence of satisfactory completion of a training 
  3-16        program approved by the board. If the applicant is not 
  3-17        a graduate of an accredited school approved by the 
  3-18        board, he or she shall be required to receive board 
  3-19        approved refresher training and testing; 
 
  3-20        (B) A finding by the board approved evaluation agency 
  3-21        that the proposed physician's assistant is qualified 
  3-22        to perform the tasks described in the job description; 
  3-23        and 
 
  3-24        (C) Evidence that the person who is to be used as a 
  3-25        physician's assistant has achieved a satisfactory 
  3-26        score on an appropriate examination outlined, 
  3-27        approved, or administered by the board. The board may 
  3-28        issue a temporary permit of temporary certification to 
  3-29        any applicant for licensure who has satisfied the 
  3-30        provisions of subparagraphs (A) and (B) of this 
  3-31        paragraph and who is an applicant for the next 
  3-32        available board approved or administered examination 
  3-33        or who has completed this examination and is awaiting 
  3-34        the results of such examination.  The temporary permit 
  3-35        of temporary certification shall expire upon 
  3-36        notification of the applicant's failure to achieve a 
  3-37        satisfactory score on the board approved or 
  3-38        administered examination; 
 
  3-39      (3) A job description, signed by the applying physician, 
  3-40      which shall include: 
 
  3-41        (A) The qualifications, including related experience, 
  3-42        possessed by the proposed physician's assistant; 
 
 
                                 -3- 
 
 
 
  4- 1        (B) The professional background and specialty of the 
  4- 2        physician submitting the application; and 
 
  4- 3        (C) A description of the physician's practice and the 
  4- 4        way in which the assistant is to be utilized; and 
 
  4- 5      (4) A fee, established by the board; provided, however, 
  4- 6      that no fee will be required if the physician's 
  4- 7      assistant is an employee of the state or county 
  4- 8      government. 
 
  4- 9    (b) No physician shall have more than two physician's 
  4-10    assistants certified licensed to him or her at any one 
  4-11    time.  However, a physician may supervise more than two 
  4-12    physician's assistants while on call for a solo 
  4-13    practitioner or as a member of a group practice setting, 
  4-14    for example, clinics, hospitals, and other institutions. 
  4-15    The physician taking call must be approved to supervise 
  4-16    the physician's assistant of the physician for whom he or 
  4-17    she is taking call." 
 
  4-18      "(2) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to 
  4-19      create a presumption of liability, either civil or 
  4-20      criminal, on the part of a pharmacist who is duly 
  4-21      licensed under Title 26 and who in good faith fills a 
  4-22      prescription drug or device order presented by a patient 
  4-23      pursuant to this subsection.  The pharmacist shall 
  4-24      presume that the prescription drug or device order was 
  4-25      issued by a physician's assistant duly certified 
  4-26      licensed under this chapter who has qualified under this 
  4-27      Code section to prescribe pharmaceutical agents.  The 
  4-28      pharmacist shall also presume that the pharmaceutical 
  4-29      agent prescribed by the physician's assistant is an 
  4-30      approved pharmaceutical agent, unless the pharmacist has 
  4-31      actual or constructive knowledge to the contrary." 
 
  4-32                           SECTION 4. 
 
  4-33  Said chapter is further amended by striking in its entirety 
  4-34  subsection (a) of Code Section 43-34-104, relating to 
  4-35  approval or disapproval of an application for utilization of 
  4-36  a physician's assistant, and inserting in lieu thereof the 
  4-37  following: 
 
  4-38    "(a) Within a reasonable time after receipt of the 
  4-39    documents required by Code Section 43-34-103, the board 
  4-40    shall give to the applicant written notice of approval or 
  4-41    disapproval of the application; and, if approval of the 
  4-42    application is given, the board shall issue to the 
 
 
 
                                 -4- 
 
 
 
  5- 1    assistant a certificate license authorizing the assistant 
  5- 2    to perform medical tasks under the direction and 
  5- 3    supervision of the applying physician." 
 
  5- 4                           SECTION 5. 
 
  5- 5  Said chapter is further amended by striking in its entirety 
  5- 6  subsection (a) of Code Section 43-34-107, relating to 
  5- 7  termination of approval and revocation of a certificate, and 
  5- 8  inserting in lieu thereof the following: 
 
  5- 9    "(a) The approval of a physician's utilization of a 
  5-10    physician's assistant may be terminated and the 
  5-11    certificate license revoked by the board when, after due 
  5-12    notice and a hearing, in accordance with this Code 
  5-13    section, it shall find that the assistant is incompetent 
  5-14    or has committed unethical or immoral acts, including, but 
  5-15    not limited to, holding himself or herself out or 
  5-16    permitting another to represent him or her as a licensed 
  5-17    physician; performing otherwise than at the direction of a 
  5-18    physician approved by the board to utilize the assistant's 
  5-19    services; habitually using intoxicants or drugs to such an 
  5-20    extent that he or she is unable safely to perform as an 
  5-21    assistant to the physician; or being convicted in any 
  5-22    court, state or federal, of any felony or other criminal 
  5-23    offense involving moral turpitude." 
 
  5-24                           SECTION 6. 
 
  5-25  This Act shall become effective on July 1, 1997. 
 
  5-26                           SECTION 7. 
 
  5-27  All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are 
  5-28  repealed. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                 -5- 

Clerk of the House
Robert E. Rivers, Jr., Clerk
Last Updated on 04/20/98