I work in a practice comprising 12 physicians, one physician assistant, and three nurse practitioners. For billing purposes, the physicians review and sign each of our charts. When I joined the group, each NP or PA had a separate liability policy paid for by the practice. On the advice of the clinic’s attorney, these policies were dropped five years ago. According to the attorney, NPs and PAs are covered under the physicians’ policy because they sign our charts. This has always made me uncomfortable. Should we retain separate policies?
—Michelle Bosse, ARNP, Cincinnati
Technically, your attorney is right. In most states, the supervising physician (the one who signs the chart) is responsible for your clinical actions. To make sure you are covered in the case of a malpractice suit, you should ask to be named as an “additional insured” on the policy of your physician.
—David S. Starr, MD, JD (108-16)