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Medical Malpractice Risk Management

Physician Extenders or Liability Expanders?

For health care services to serve an influx of patients, so-called “physician extenders” now carry out functions previously performed by doctors. The aim of this article is to examine factors driving the growth in physician extenders, identify liability “hotspots” and offer tactics for health care providers to use in managing professional/medical liability risks.

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A heightening shortage of physicians, particularly family care specialists, drives growing reliance on physician extenders. For health care services to serve an influx of patients, so-called “physician extenders” now carry out functions previously performed by doctors. Anyone who has worked in management understands the concept of delegation: It lets managers exercise control through the efforts of others. Similarly, in the medical realm, delegation is manifested by the prevalence of physician extenders.

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