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Suggested Guidelines for Physician-Physician Assistant Practice

Adopted by the AMA House of Delegates, June 1995

Reflecting the comments from the American Academy of Physician Assistants, separate model guidelines for Physician/Physician Assistants practice have been developed. These are based on the unique relationship of Physician Assistants who recognize themselves as agents of physicians with respect to delegated medical acts, and legal responsibilities. They are consistent with the existing AMA policies concerning Physician Assistants cited in this report. In all settings, Physician Assistants recognize physician supervision in the delivery of patient care. The suggested guidelines reflect those as follows:

  1. Health care services delivered by physicians and Physician Assistants must be within the scope of each practitioners authorized practice as defined by state law.
  2. The physician is ultimately responsible for coordinating and managing the care of patients and, with the appropriate input of the Physician Assistant, ensuring the quality of health care provided to patients.
  3. The physician is responsible for the supervision of the Physician Assistant in all settings.
  4. The role of the Physician Assistant(s) in the delivery of care should be defined through mutually agreed upon guidelines that are developed by the physician and the Physician Assistant and based on the physician's delegatory style.
  5. The physician must be available for consultation with the Physician Assistant at all times either in person or through telecommunication systems or other means.
  6. The extent of the involvement by the Physician Assistant in the assessment and implementation of treatment will depend on the complexity and acuity of the patient's condition and the training and experience and preparation of the Physician Assistant as adjudged by the physician.
  7. Patients should be made clearly aware at all times whether they are being cared for by a physician or a Physician Assistant.
  8. The physician and Physician Assistant together should review all delegated patient services on a regular basis, as well as the mutually agreed upon guidelines for practice.
  9. The physician is responsible for clarifying and familiarizing the Physician Assistant with his supervising methods and style of delegating patient care.