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Explicit Delegation of Authority

Explicit delegation of medical authority occurs when a physician uses protocols to authorize nonphysician personnel to render medical care directly to patients. The physician is allowing the PE to practice medicine by following written protocols that allow the extender to determine the physician's judgment in the specific limited situation. This works well if both physicians and extenders understand that all medical judgments must be made by physicians. Under the law in most states, PEs may not substitute their personal judgment in any decision that requires medical judgment. Even if a state allows PEs to practice independently, any physician nominally directing their actions will be legally liable for their malpractice if it involves an error in medical judgment.


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