Businesses and Professions

Physician Assistants

SECTION 5-54-8

§ 5-54-8. Permitted health care practices by physician assistants.

(a) Physician assistants shall practice with physician supervision and shall be considered the agents of their supervising physicians in the performance of all practice-related activities. Whenever any provision of general or public law, or regulation, requires a signature, certification, stamp, verification, affidavit or endorsement by a physician, it shall be deemed to include a signature, certification, stamp, verification, affidavit or endorsement by a physician assistant; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall be construed to expand the scope of practice of physician assistants. Physician assistants may perform those duties and responsibilities consistent with the limitations of this section, including prescribing of drugs and medical devices, which are delegated by their supervising physician(s). Physician assistants may request, receive, sign for and distribute professional samples of drugs and medical devices to patients only within the limitations of this section. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, a physician assistant may perform health care services when those services are rendered under the supervision of a licensed physician.

(b) Physician assistants, depending upon their level of professional training and experience, as determined by a supervising physician, may perform health care services consistent with their expertise and that of the supervising physician, who is a licensed physician in solo practice, in group practice, or in health care facilities.

(c) Physician assistants may write prescriptions and medical orders to the extent provided in this paragraph. When employed by or extended medical staff privileges by a licensed hospital or other licensed health care facility a physician assistant may write medical orders for inpatients as delineated by the medical staff bylaws of the facility as well as its credentialing process and applicable governing authority. Physician assistants employed directly by physicians, health maintenance organizations or other health care delivery organizations may prescribe legend medications including schedule II, III, IV and V medications under chapter 28 of title 21 of the Rhode Island Uniform Controlled Substances Act, medical therapies, medical devices and medical diagnostics according to guidelines established by the employing physician, health maintenance organization or other health care delivery organization.

(d) When supervised by a physician licensed under chapter 29 of this title, the service rendered by the physician assistant shall be limited to the foot. The "foot" is defined as the pedal extremity of the human body and its articulations, and includes the tendons and muscles of the lower leg only as they are involved in conditions of the foot.

(e) Hospitals and other licensed health care facilities have discretion to grant privileges to a physician assistant and to define the scope of privileges or services which a physician assistant may deliver in a facility. In no event shall those privileges, if granted, exceed the privileges granted to the supervising physician.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1982, ch. 94, § 2; P.L. 1991, ch. 72, § 1; P.L. 1991, ch. 358, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 223, § 1; P.L. 1992, ch. 346, § 1; P.L. 1995, ch. 42, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 42, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 197, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 130, § 2; P.L. 2006, ch. 156, § 2.)