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License defense and medical duties that cannot be delegated

| Apr 21, 2021 | Licensure Defense |

In Alaska, there are certain rules in place for physicians to follow to comply with the requirements of their medical license. That includes how they care for patients and what areas of their practice they are legally allowed to delegate to others. In some cases, there might be assertions that the physician allowed a person who is not a medical doctor and does not have the credentials to perform certain duties to have done so in violation of the statewide standards. This could place the medical license in jeopardy. While there are some duties that can be delegated, it is imperative to understand which cannot as this will be a fundamental part of an effective license defense.

What duties violate the law if they are delegated?

Some aspects of medical care require professional knowledge, judgment and medical training that are not transferrable to people who have not had that education and experience. Physicians cannot delegate patient assessment, referral and follow-up care; planning the care itself and evaluating it; giving the patient and family advice about health; giving a verbal order for a prescription; overseeing pain management, opioids and the potential for addiction; intravenous therapy; sedation; wound care; dialysis; suctioning; managing medication if the person’s medical condition is unstable; assessing feeding tubes; and administering injectable medications, except in certain circumstances. These rules apply to a physician, a podiatrist, an osteopath or a physician assistant.

Losing a professional license can damage a career and a reputation

The threat to a professional license can have a snowball effect on a person’s entire life. Not only will their work suffer, but they can face financial challenges, a negative perception in the community and the possibility that their business will never recover. Some medical offices are alleged to cut corners and allow employees who might have some knowledge about patient care to perform duties they are legally precluded from doing. While this might seem to enhance efficiency and not do any harm, it can also jeopardize the medical professional’s license.

Formulating a defense to avoid losing a license

Often, these cases are simply a misunderstanding or the accusations are untrue. Regardless, a physician whose professional license is at risk because of this should lodge a strong license defense. Having professional assistance can be imperative to avoid a license suspension and the inevitable problems that accompany it.