(a) As used in this section:
(1) "Approved program" means an educational program for osteopathic physician assistants approved and accredited by the Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation or its successor.
(2) "Board" means the Board of Osteopathy established under the provisions of article fourteen, chapter thirty of this code.
(3) "Direct supervision" means the presence of the supervising physician at the site where the osteopathic physician assistant performs medical duties.
(4) "Health care facility" means any licensed hospital, nursing home, extended care facility, state health or mental institution, clinic or physician's office.
(5) "License" means a certificate issued to an osteopathic physician assistant who has passed the examination for a primary care or surgery physician assistant administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners on behalf of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. All osteopathic physician assistants holding valid certificates issued by the board prior to March 31, 2010, are licensed under the provisions of this article, but must renew the license pursuant to the provisions of this article.
(6) "Osteopathic physician assistant" means an assistant to an osteopathic physician who is a graduate of an approved program of instruction in primary care or surgery, has passed the National Certification Examination and is qualified to perform direct patient care services under the supervision of an osteopathic physician.
(7) "Supervising physician" means a doctor of osteopathy permanently licensed in this state who assumes legal and supervising responsibility for the work or training of an osteopathic physician assistant under his or her supervision.
(b) The board shall propose emergency and legislative rules for legislative approval pursuant to the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, governing the extent to which osteopathic physician assistants may function in this state. The rules shall provide that:
(1) The osteopathic physician assistant is limited to the performance of those services for which he or she is trained;
(2) The osteopathic physician assistant performs only under the supervision and control of an osteopathic physician permanently licensed in this state but such supervision and control does not require the personal presence of the supervising physician at the place or places where services are rendered if the osteopathic physician assistant's normal place of employment is on the premises of the supervising physician. The supervising physician may send the osteopathic physician assistant off the premises to perform duties under his or her direction, but a separate place of work for the osteopathic physician assistant may not be established; and
(3) The board may allow the osteopathic physician assistant to perform those procedures and examinations and, in the case of authorized osteopathic physician assistants, to prescribe at the direction of his or her supervising physician in accordance with subsections (p) and (q) of this section those categories of drugs submitted to it in the job description required by subsection (f) of this section.
(c) The board shall compile and publish an annual report that includes a list of currently licensed osteopathic physician assistants and their employers and location in the state.
(d) The board shall license as an osteopathic physician assistant a person who files an application together with a proposed job description and furnishes satisfactory evidence that he or she has met the following standards:
(1) Is a graduate of an approved program of instruction in primary health care or surgery;
(2) Has passed the examination for a primary care or surgery physician assistant administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners on behalf of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants; and
(3) Is of good moral character.
(e) When a graduate of an approved program submits an application to the board, accompanied by a job description in conformity with this section, for an osteopathic physician assistant license, the board may issue to the applicant a temporary license allowing the applicant to function as an osteopathic physician assistant for the period of one year. The temporary license may be renewed for one additional year upon the request of the supervising physician. An osteopathic physician assistant who has not been certified as such by the National Board of Medical Examiners on behalf of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants will be restricted to work under the direct supervision of the supervising physician.
(f) An osteopathic physician applying to the board to supervise an osteopathic physician assistant shall provide a job description that sets forth the range of medical services to be provided by the assistant. Before an osteopathic physician assistant can be employed or otherwise use his or her skills, the supervising physician must obtain approval of the job description from the board. The board may revoke or suspend a license of an assistant to a physician for cause, after giving the person an opportunity to be heard in the manner provided by sections eight and nine, article one of this chapter.
(g) The supervising physician is responsible for observing, directing and evaluating the work records and practices of each osteopathic physician assistant performing under his or her supervision. He or she shall notify the board in writing of any termination of his or her supervisory relationship with an osteopathic physician assistant within ten days of his or her termination. The legal responsibility for any osteopathic physician assistant remains with the supervising physician at all times, including occasions when the assistant, under his or her direction and supervision, aids in the care and treatment of a patient in a health care facility. In his or her absence, a supervising physician must designate an alternate supervising physician but the legal responsibility remains with the supervising physician at all times. A health care facility is not legally responsible for the actions or omissions of an osteopathic physician assistant unless the osteopathic physician assistant is an employee of the facility.
(h) The acts or omissions of an osteopathic physician assistant employed by health care facilities providing in-patient services are the legal responsibility of the facilities. Osteopathic physician assistants employed by such facilities in staff positions shall be supervised by a permanently licensed physician.
(i) A health care facility shall report in writing to the board within sixty days after the completion of the facility's formal disciplinary procedure, and after the commencement and the conclusion of any resulting legal action, the name of an osteopathic physician assistant practicing in the facility whose privileges at the facility have been revoked, restricted, reduced or terminated for any cause including resignation, together with all pertinent information relating to such action. The health care facility shall also report any other formal disciplinary action taken against an osteopathic physician assistant by the facility relating to professional ethics, medical incompetence, medical malpractice, moral turpitude or drug or alcohol abuse. Temporary suspension for failure to maintain records on a timely basis or failure to attend staff or section meetings need not be reported.
(j) When functioning as an osteopathic physician assistant, the osteopathic physician assistant shall wear a name tag that identifies him or her as a physician assistant.
(k) (1) A supervising physician shall not supervise at any time more than three osteopathic physician assistants except that a physician may supervise up to four hospital-employed osteopathic physician assistants: Provided, That an alternative supervisor has been designated for each.
(2) An osteopathic physician assistant shall not perform any service that his or her supervising physician is not qualified to perform.
(3) An osteopathic physician assistant shall not perform any service that is not included in his or her job description and approved by the board as provided in this section.
(4) The provisions of this section do not authorize an osteopathic physician assistant to perform any specific function or duty delegated by this code to those persons licensed as chiropractors, dentists, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, dental hygienists, optometrists or pharmacists or certified as nurse anesthetists.
(l) An application for license or renewal of license shall be accompanied by payment of a fee established by legislative rule of the Board of Osteopathy pursuant to the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
(m) As a condition of renewal of an osteopathic physician assistant license, each osteopathic physician assistant shall provide written documentation satisfactory to the board of participation in and successful completion of continuing education in courses approved by the Board of Osteopathy for the purposes of continuing education of osteopathic physician assistants. The osteopathy board shall propose legislative rules for minimum continuing hours necessary for the renewal of a license. These rules shall provide for minimum hours equal to or more than the hours necessary for national certification. Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter to the contrary, failure to timely submit the required written documentation results in the automatic suspension of a license as an osteopathic physician assistant until the written documentation is submitted to and approved by the board.
(n) It is unlawful for any person who is not licensed by the board as an osteopathic physician assistant to use the title of osteopathic physician assistant or to represent to any other person that he or she is an osteopathic physician assistant. A person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $2,000.
(o) It is unlawful for an osteopathic physician assistant to represent to any person that he or she is a physician. A person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned in a state correctional facility for not less than one, nor more than two years, or be fined not more than $2,000, or both fined and imprisoned.
(p) An osteopathic physician assistant may write or sign prescriptions or transmit prescriptions by word of mouth, telephone or other means of communication at the direction of his or her supervising physician. The board shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code governing the eligibility and extent to which an osteopathic physician assistant may prescribe at the direction of the supervising physician. The rules shall provide for a state formulary classifying pharmacologic categories of drugs which may be prescribed by such an osteopathic physician assistant. In classifying such pharmacologic categories, those categories of drugs which shall be excluded include, but are not limited to, Schedules I and II of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, antineoplastics, radiopharmaceuticals, general anesthetics and radiographic contrast materials. Drugs listed under Schedule III are limited to a seventy-two hour supply without refill. In addition to the above referenced provisions and restrictions and at the direction of a supervising physician, the rules shall permit the prescribing an annual supply of any drug other than controlled substances which is prescribed for the treatment of a chronic condition other than chronic pain management. For the purposes of this section, a "chronic condition" is a condition which last three months or more, generally cannot be prevented by vaccines, can be controlled but not cured by medication and does not generally disappear. These conditions include, but are not limited to, arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy and seizures and obesity. The prescriber authorized in this section shall note on the prescription the condition for which the patient is being treated. The rules shall provide that all pharmacological categories of drugs to be prescribed by an osteopathic physician assistant be listed in each job description submitted to the board as required in this section. The rules shall provide the maximum dosage an osteopathic physician assistant may prescribe.
(q) (1) The rules shall provide that to be eligible for such prescription privileges, an osteopathic physician assistant must:
(A) Submit an application to the board for prescription privileges;
(B) Have performed patient care services for a minimum of two years immediately preceding the application; and
(C) Have successfully completed an accredited course of instruction in clinical pharmacology approved by the board.
(2) The rules shall provide that to maintain prescription privileges, an osteopathic physician assistant shall:
(A) Continue to maintain national certification as an osteopathic physician assistant; and
(B) Complete a minimum of ten hours of continuing education in rational drug therapy in each licensing period.
(3) Nothing in this subsection permits an osteopathic physician assistant to independently prescribe or dispense drugs.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session