Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 54.1. Professions and Occupations
Chapter 29. Medicine and Other Healing Arts
8/18/2017

§ 54.1-2957. Licensure and practice of nurse practitioners; practice agreements.

A. As used in this section:

"Collaboration" means the communication and decision-making process among members of a patient care team related to the treatment and care of a patient and includes (i) communication of data and information about the treatment and care of a patient, including exchange of clinical observations and assessments, and (ii) development of an appropriate plan of care, including decisions regarding the health care provided, accessing and assessment of appropriate additional resources or expertise, and arrangement of appropriate referrals, testing, or studies.

"Consultation" means the communicating of data and information, exchanging of clinical observations and assessments, accessing and assessing of additional resources and expertise, problem-solving, and arranging for referrals, testing, or studies.

B. The Board of Medicine and the Board of Nursing shall jointly prescribe the regulations governing the licensure of nurse practitioners. It shall be unlawful for a person to practice as a nurse practitioner in the Commonwealth unless he holds such a joint license.

C. Except as provided in subsection H, a nurse practitioner shall only practice as part of a patient care team. Each member of a patient care team shall have specific responsibilities related to the care of the patient or patients and shall provide health care services within the scope of his usual professional activities. Nurse practitioners practicing as part of a patient care team shall maintain appropriate collaboration and consultation, as evidenced in a written or electronic practice agreement, with at least one patient care team physician. Nurse practitioners who are certified registered nurse anesthetists shall practice under the supervision of a licensed doctor of medicine, osteopathy, podiatry, or dentistry. Nurse practitioners appointed as medical examiners pursuant to § 32.1-282 shall practice in collaboration with a licensed doctor of medicine or osteopathic medicine who has been appointed to serve as a medical examiner pursuant to § 32.1-282. Collaboration and consultation among nurse practitioners and patient care team physicians may be provided through telemedicine as described in § 38.2-3418.16. Practice of patient care teams in all settings shall include the periodic review of patient charts or electronic health records and may include visits to the site where health care is delivered in the manner and at the frequency determined by the patient care team.

Physicians on patient care teams may require that a nurse practitioner be covered by a professional liability insurance policy with limits equal to the current limitation on damages set forth in § 8.01-581.15.

Service on a patient care team by a patient care team member shall not, by the existence of such service alone, establish or create liability for the actions or inactions of other team members.

D. The Board of Medicine and the Board of Nursing shall jointly promulgate regulations specifying collaboration and consultation among physicians and nurse practitioners working as part of patient care teams that shall include the development of, and periodic review and revision of, a written or electronic practice agreement; guidelines for availability and ongoing communications that define consultation among the collaborating parties and the patient; and periodic joint evaluation of the services delivered. Practice agreements shall include a provision for appropriate physician input in complex clinical cases and patient emergencies and for referrals. Evidence of a practice agreement shall be maintained by a nurse practitioner and provided to the Boards upon request. For nurse practitioners providing care to patients within a hospital or health care system, the practice agreement may be included as part of documents delineating the nurse practitioner's clinical privileges or the electronic or written delineation of duties and responsibilities in collaboration and consultation with a patient care team physician.

E. The Boards may issue a license by endorsement to an applicant to practice as a nurse practitioner if the applicant has been licensed as a nurse practitioner under the laws of another state and, in the opinion of the Boards, the applicant meets the qualifications for licensure required of nurse practitioners in the Commonwealth.

F. Pending the outcome of the next National Specialty Examination, the Boards may jointly grant temporary licensure to nurse practitioners.

G. In the event a physician who is serving as a patient care team physician dies, becomes disabled, retires from active practice, surrenders his license or has it suspended or revoked by the Board, or relocates his practice such that he is no longer able to serve, and a nurse practitioner is unable to enter into a new practice agreement with another patient care team physician, the nurse practitioner may continue to practice upon notification to the designee or his alternate of the Boards and receipt of such notification. Such nurse practitioner may continue to treat patients without a patient care team physician for an initial period not to exceed 60 days, provided the nurse practitioner continues to prescribe only those drugs previously authorized by the practice agreement with such physician and to have access to appropriate physician input in complex clinical cases and patient emergencies and for referrals. The designee or his alternate of the Boards shall grant permission for the nurse practitioner to continue practice under this subsection for another 60 days, provided the nurse practitioner provides evidence of efforts made to secure another patient care team physician and of access to physician input.

H. Nurse practitioners licensed by the Boards of Medicine and Nursing in the category of certified nurse midwife shall practice in consultation with a licensed physician in accordance with a practice agreement between the nurse practitioner and the licensed physician. Such practice agreement shall address the availability of the physician for routine and urgent consultation on patient care. Evidence of a practice agreement shall be maintained by a nurse practitioner and provided to the Boards upon request. The Boards shall jointly promulgate regulations, consistent with the Standards for the Practice of Midwifery set by the American College of Nurse-Midwives, governing such practice.

Code 1950, § 54-274; 1950, p. 98; 1958, c. 161; 1962, c. 127; 1966, c. 657; 1970, c. 69; 1973, cc. 105, 514, 529; 1975, c. 508; 1976, c. 15; 1980, c. 157; 1982, c. 220; 1985, cc. 303, 347; 1986, c. 377; 1988, c. 765; 2006, c. 750; 2012, c. 213; 2015, c. 107; 2016, cc. 308, 409, 495.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.