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DATE: 9/20/2006
Two New Areas of Unprofessional Conduct

Scottsdale, Ariz. - Two new laws approved by the Arizona Legislature during the 2006 legislative session and signed by Governor Janet Napolitano take effect as of September 21st. They define two new areas of unprofessional conduct for physicians and physician assistants.

The first, House Bill 2786, deals with the problem of abandoned medical records. Every year, the state agencies that regulate health care professionals receive numerous complaints regarding abandoned or unavailable medical records that can create privacy and continuation of care concerns. In response to this problem, the Legislature enacted a law requiring all health care professionals to develop a written protocol for the secure storage, transfer and access of patient medical records.

The Arizona Medical Board and the Arizona Regulatory Board of Physician Assistants have modified their initial and renewal application forms to require licensees to certify that they had developed the required protocol. The law makes it an act of unprofessional conduct for a health care professional who fails to implement the required protocol. This new law can be found on the Arizona Legislature Web Site. Click here.

The second new law, House Bill 2426, makes it an act of unprofessional conduct for a health care professional to request that a laboratory send its bill through the health care professional, rather than bill the patient or the payor directly. This law requires what is called “direct billing.” It does not apply to tests conducted by the health care professional or by a laboratory operated by the health care professional. This law can also be found on the Legislature‘s Web site. Click here.