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Who’s Really in Charge?



by Linda Miller Atkinson as published in the May 2007 issue of Trial Magazine.

Physician assistants and nurse practitioners are common in health care facilities. But how much responsibility do they have? If a patient is injured, you need to find out who the midlevel provider, the supervising doctor, the facility, or all of them-is responsible.

Once upon a time, a person seeking medical care walked into a doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic expecting to see a  doctor who would perform the examination. Not anymore. Most patients seeking primary care today will leave the  office, clinic, or hospital without ever being seen by a doctor. They will be examined, possibly get some tests and even a prescription or two, and bed is charged with instructions from a midlevel provider. The role of physician  assistants and nurse practitioners-collectively called  midlevel providers-in health care is growing. Once they gained  statutory recognition and licensing, their ranks expanded to meet patient needs for health care-particularly in  primary care, where physicians have become scarce. Health care facilities save money by employing midlevel  providers to see patients in place of doctors, because the physician can bill for supervisory functions and still see and treat other patients.’

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About the Author

About Linda Miller Atkinson

Linda Miller Atkinson is a decorated, award winning lawyer and a member of the Bar in Michigan, Wisconsin, Indian, Georgia and in the United States District Court for the Eastern District, Michigan and United States District Court for the Western District. In addition, she is also a speaker, author and active in the community. Click here to learn more >>