2007 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare; Judiciary, Division A
By: Senator(s) Nunnelee
AN ACT TO DEFINE THE SCOPE OF PRACTICE OF A PHYSICIAN ASSISTANT WHO IS RENDERING CARE IN A STATE OR LOCAL NATURAL DISASTER; TO AMEND SECTIONS 73-25-37 AND 73-25-38, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE IMMUNITY FOR PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS FOR RENDERING CHARITABLE MEDICAL CARE AND TO PROVIDE IMMUNITY FOR LICENSED PHYSICIANS, PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS OR CERTIFIED NURSE PRACTITIONERS FOR RENDERING MEDICAL CARE IN MAN-MADE OR NATURAL DISASTERS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. In the event of a national emergency duly declared by federal officials or in the event of a natural disaster or state emergency duly declared by the Governor, a physician assistant licensed in this state or licensed or authorized to practice in any other United States jurisdiction or who is credentialed as a physician assistant by a federal employer who is responding to a need for medical care created by an emergency or a state or local disaster (not to be defined as an emergency situation which occurs in the place of one's employment) may provide emergency medical treatment without the immediate physician supervision or direction to patients within the affected areas of the state, provided that treatment is within the scope of the assistant's education, training and approved job description. The physician assistant in such circumstances shall make reasonable efforts to inform his supervising physician of the location and type of emergency medical services being provided and shall act in conformance with the direction of local medical supervisors. Any physician who supervises a physician assistant providing medical care in response to such an emergency or state or local disaster shall not be required to meet the requirements set forth in Section 73-26-5. The authority granted under this section shall extend only for the duration of the declared national emergency or state emergency or natural disaster.
SECTION 2. Section 73-25-37, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
73-25-37. * * * No duly licensed, practicing physician, physician assistant, dentist, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, certified registered emergency medical technician, or any other person who, in good faith and in the exercise of reasonable care, renders emergency care to any injured person at the scene of an emergency, or in transporting the injured person to a point where medical assistance can be reasonably expected, shall be liable for any civil damages to the injured person as a result of any acts committed in good faith and in the exercise of reasonable care or omissions in good faith and in the exercise of reasonable care by such persons in rendering the emergency care to the injured person.
* * *
SECTION 3. Section 73-25-38, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
73-25-38. (1) Any licensed physician, physician assistant or certified nurse practitioner who voluntarily provides needed medical or health services to any person without the expectation of payment due to the inability of such person to pay for said services shall be immune from liability for any civil action arising out of the provision of such medical or health services provided in good faith on a charitable basis. This section shall not extend immunity to acts of willful or gross negligence. Except in cases of rendering emergency care wherein the provisions of Section 73-25-37 apply, immunity under this section shall be extended only if the physician, physician assistant or certified nurse practitioner and patient execute a written waiver in advance of the rendering of such medical services specifying that such services are provided without the expectation of payment and that the licensed physician or certified nurse practitioner shall be immune as provided in this subsection. The immunity from liability granted by this subsection also shall extend to actions arising from a church-operated outpatient medical clinic that exists solely for the purpose of providing charitable medical services to persons who are unable to pay for such services, provided that the outpatient clinic receives less than Forty Thousand Dollars ($40,000.00) annually in patient payments.
(2) Any licensed physician, physician assistant or certified nurse practitioner assisting with emergency management, emergency operations or hazard mitigation in response to any emergency, man-made or natural disaster, who voluntarily provides needed medical or health services to any person without fee or other compensation, shall not be liable for civil damages on the basis of any act or omission if the physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner was acting in good faith and within the scope of their license, education and training and the acts or omissions were not caused from gross, willful or wanton acts of negligence.
(3) Any physician who voluntarily renders any medical service under a special volunteer medical license authorized under Section 73-25-18 without any payment or compensation or the expectation or promise of any payment or compensation shall be immune from liability for any civil action arising out of any act or omission resulting from the rendering of the medical service unless the act or omission was the result of the physician's gross negligence or willful misconduct. In order for the immunity under this subsection to apply, there must be a written or oral agreement for the physician to provide a voluntary noncompensated medical service before the rendering of the service by the physician.
(4) Any physician who is retired from active practice, and who has been previously issued an unrestricted license to practice medicine in any state of the United States or who has been issued a special volunteer medical license under Section 73-25-18, shall be immune from liability for any civil action arising out of any medical care or treatment provided while voluntarily serving as "doctor of the day" for members of the Mississippi State Legislature, legislative or other state employees, or any visitors to the State Capitol on the date of such service. This subsection shall not extend immunity to acts of willful or gross negligence or misconduct.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2007.