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Doctor not liable for physician assistant’s misconduct, court rules

If a physician has supervised a physician’s assistant properly, the state medical board shouldn’t discipline the supervising physician for the PA’s improper conduct, the Vermont Supreme Court has ruled. The ruling upheld a 2012 decision by the Vermont Board of Medical Practice, which found that the physician wasn’t answerable for a PA who prescribed opiates improperly. The state argued that Jon Porter, MD, should be held accountable for the PA’s actions because physicians are vicariously liable for those that they supervise. “With the court’s decision, physicians may be less likely to supervise PAs to a certain degree,” said Vermont Assistant Attorney General Kurt A. Kuehl. An attorney for Dr. Porter and an executive for the Vermont Medical Society each said the court got the ruling right. If it had ruled the other way, it likely would have made it difficult to find physicians willing to supervise PAs, they said. “Physicians’ licenses would have been at ...

E-prescribing soars among doctors with EHRs

Government incentives and better education on the benefits of e-prescribing are being credited for a dramatic increase in the number of physicians who use electronic health record systems to e-prescribe. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the Dept. of Health and Human Services published a report in November that looked at e-prescribing trends in the U.S. As of June, 48% of physicians are e-prescribing with an EHR. That is up from 7% in December 2008. Physicians sending prescriptions electronically can do so using stand-alone systems or EHRs with an e-prescribing component. Although e-prescribing adoption rates among states vary, each state has seen growth since 2008. In 23 states, more than half of physicians e-prescribe through an EHR. The highest growth rates are in New Hampshire, which saw an increase of 70 percentage points from 2008, and North Dakota, which had an increase of 65 percentage points. “What we are really seeing is ...

Preventable birth injuries cut after proven interventions are bundled

Harm to mothers and their infants is significantly reduced when physicians, nurses and others follow protocols in the perinatal setting, a new study shows. Between January 2008 and December 2010, 14 hospitals participating in the Premier Perinatal Safety Initiative, a collaborative of facilities from 12 states, reduced by 25% birth hypoxia and asphyxia that can cause infant brain damage. Neonatal birth trauma — from minor bruising to nerve or brain damage — was reduced 22%, according to results from the initiative published in December. Mothers saw a 15% decrease in complications associated with anesthesia during labor and delivery, including events such as cardiac arrest and other complications. They also saw postpartum hemorrhaging, the most common cause of perinatal maternal death in the developed world, drop by 5.4%. To achieve those numbers, the initiative used “care bundles,” groups of evidence-based interventions that are more effective when used together rather ...