Though it can be exciting to encourage young or interested parties in practicing osteophatic medicine and surgery, there are major licensing penalties you could face for knowingly aiding, assisting or advising an unlicensed person to practice.

Whether you are with a student, relative or patient in the workplace, it’s important to ensure that any unlicensed person is not violating the law. Here are a few key principles to remember.

Discretion is key

A health care practitioner or technician can perform some medical services that a medical doctor delegates if certain conditions are met. Because the quick performance of medical services can be very important in treating the injured or the ill before the condition worsens, choosing delegable duties largely comes down to the medical doctor using discretion wisely, as the parameters can be vague.

According to Pennsylvania law, if you are working with an unlicensed medical assistant, you may assign the person medical services and/or related medical duties if:

  • The delegee has education, training, experience and continued competency to safely perform the task being delegated
  • The delegation of the task does not create undue risk to the patient being treated
  • The performance of the service does not entail risks that require knowledge and skill for which a non-physician normally wouldn’t have
  • The nature of the service being performed and the delegation of the service to a practitioner has been explained to the patient and the patient does not object
  • The task has been assigned as a procedure to stabilize a patient in an emergency until the medical doctor or emergency medical services can tend to the patient
  • Responsibility for the performance of the service falls on the medical doctor
  • The action is not explicitly prohibited by board regulations, statutes or regulations relating to licensed or certified health care practitioners
  • The instructions comply with standards of acceptable medical practices, as discerned by peer review medical literature, teaching practices and commonly accepted practices of expert practitioners in the field

Seek out Legal Counsel

If you are facing a professional licensing issue because of a criminal matter, consult with an attorney who understands the details of both medical licensing and criminal defense.

These lawyers can help defend you in gray areas of medical ethics and amidst some of the more vague conditions of practicing. An attorney will also have knowledge of certain procedures and rights that are exclusive to medical or nursing professionals to incorporate into a defense plan.