Scope of Practice

    MSNJ Comments on Collaborative Agreements with Pharmacists

    In late May, MSNJ filed comments with the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners and the Board of Pharmacy on their jointly re-proposed rules governing collaborative practice agreements between physicians and pharmacists. We are pleased that the re-proposed rule contains many of the provisions that MSNJ sought in earlier comments. These include the requirement of a bona fide physician-patient relationship, and the requirement that these agreements be with individual pharmacists, not retail chains or entities. We continue to voice concerns about the level of training required of collaborating pharmacists and the limitation of the agreements to a “patient’s specific condition, disease or diseases.”


    NJ Supreme Court Rules to Limit Scope of Practice for PAs 

    In their January 19 opinion, the Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled that physician assistants cannot perform needle electromyography, as the procedure is not in their scope of practice. In an American Medical News article published on Monday, MSNJ CEO and General Counsel, Larry Downs said, "The Supreme Court upheld the appellate decision, basically narrowing the [trial] court's broad opinion. If the court had reversed, "physician assistants would have had an equal scope of practice without the similar background and training" of licensed physicians”

    MSNJ thanks the AMA and the AMA Litigation Center for their support on this issue.


    MSNJ Objects to Expansion of Chiropractors' Scope of Practice

    On January 20, 2012, MSNJ filed comments in opposition to the New Jersey Board of Chiropractors proposed regulations that would expand chiropractors’ scope of practice by allowing them to perform pre-participation screens—medical examinations of students, clearing them for sports and intramural activities. While the New Jersey Legislature previously expanded the chiropractors’ scope of practice, it specifically considered and deliberately declined to include pre-participation screens in the enabling legislation. Read more.


    New Jersey Supreme Court Rules on Scope of Practice Case

    This week the Supreme Court of New Jersey published its decision in the Selective Insurance Company v. Rothman case. MSNJ and the AMA were granted leave to appear as amici curiae and filed a joint amicus brief for the court’s consideration. MSNJ and the AMA participated in the case because the trial court decision interpreted the medical practice act so broadly that there was no practical difference between a physician's scope of practice and a physician assistant’s scope of practice. The supreme court agreed with arguments advanced by MSNJ objecting to the overly broad interpretation of the medical practice act. The supreme court found that performing needle electrodiagnostic tests (EMGs) was outside the scope of practice for physician assistants.

    A second issue in this case was whether the decision should be applied retroactively. On that point the court declined to act, stating the record below did not contain sufficient facts to support a prospective application. The court agreed to give Dr. Rothman an opportunity to establish such facts.

    Participation in this case is part of MSNJ's legal advocacy efforts aimed at protecting the profession of medicine by ensuring that scope of practice statutes are strictly construed. We appreciate the support of the AMA's Litigation Center on this matter. Read the opinion in its entirety.


    MSNJ Opposes Expansion of Scope of Practice for Nurses in Death Certification

    In a January 3, 2012 letter to Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, MSNJ stated opposition to A-3987, a bill expanding the scope of nursing to include determining the cause of death in a patient. MSNJ maintains that determining cause of death is in fact practicing medicine and should not be extended to nurses to make the death certification process more efficient. Read the letter.  

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