Excerpts from the Medical Practice Act of the Code of Virginia
Relating to Nursing
Effective July 1, 2012
Medicine and Other Healing Arts.
? 54.1-2900. Definitions.
As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:
"Acupuncturist" means individuals approved by the Board to practice acupuncture. This is limited to "licensed acupuncturist" which means an individual other than a doctor of medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic or podiatry who has successfully completed the requirements for licensure established by the Board (approved titles are limited to: Licensed Acupuncturist, Lic.Ac., and L.Ac.).
"Auricular acupuncture" means the subcutaneous insertion of sterile, disposable acupuncture needles in predetermined, bilateral locations in the outer ear when used exclusively and specifically in the context of a chemical dependency treatment program.
"Board" means the Board of Medicine.
"Healing arts" means the arts and sciences dealing with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure or alleviation of human physical or mental ailments, conditions, diseases, pain or infirmities. "Medical malpractice judgment" means any final order of any court entering judgment against a licensee of the Board that arises out of any tort action or breach of contract action for personal injuries or wrongful death, based on health care or professional services rendered, or that should have been rendered, by a health care provider, to a patient.
"Medical malpractice settlement" means any written agreement and release entered into by or on behalf of a licensee of the Board in response to a written claim for money damages that arises out of any personal injuries or wrongful death, based on health care or professional services rendered, or that should have been rendered, by a health care provider, to a patient.
"Nurse practitioner" means an advanced practice registered nurse who is jointly licensed by the Boards of Medicine and Nursing pursuant to ? 54.1-2957.
"Occupational therapy assistant" means an individual who has met the requirements of the Board for licensure and who works under the supervision of a licensed occupational therapist to assist in the practice of occupational therapy.
"Patient care team" means a multidisciplinary team of health care providers actively functioning as a unit with the management and leadership of one or more patient care team physicians for the purpose of providing and delivering health care to a patient or group of patients.
"Patient care team physician" means a physician who is actively licensed to practice medicine in the Commonwealth, who regularly practices medicine in the Commonwealth, and who provides management and leadership in the care of patients as part of a patient care team.
"Physician assistant" means an individual who has met the requirements of the Board for licensure and who works under the supervision of a licensed doctor of medicine, osteopathy, or podiatry.
"Practice of acupuncture" means the stimulation of certain points on or near the surface of the body by the insertion of needles to prevent or modify the perception of pain or to normalize physiological functions, including pain control, for the treatment of certain ailments or conditions of the body and includes the techniques of electroacupuncture, cupping and moxibustion. The practice of acupuncture does not include the use of physical therapy, chiropractic, or osteopathic manipulative techniques; the use or prescribing of any drugs, medications, serums or vaccines; or the procedure of auricular acupuncture as exempted in ? 54.1-2901
when used in the context of a chemical dependency treatment program for patients eligible for federal, state or local public funds by an employee of the program who is trained and approved by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association or an equivalent certifying body.
"Practice of athletic training" means the prevention, recognition, evaluation, and treatment of injuries or conditions related to athletic or recreational activity that requires physical skill and utilizes strength, power, endurance, speed, flexibility, range of motion or agility or a substantially similar injury or condition resulting from occupational activity immediately upon the onset of such injury or condition; and subsequent treatment and rehabilitation of such injuries or conditions under the direction of the patient's physician or under the direction of any doctor of medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic, podiatry, or dentistry, while using heat, light, sound, cold, electricity, exercise or mechanical or other devices.
"Practice of behavior analysis" means the design, implementation, and evaluation of environmental modifications, using behavioral stimuli and consequences, to produce socially significant improvement in human behavior, including the use of direct observation, measurement, and functional analysis of the relationship between environment and behavior.
"Practice of chiropractic" means the adjustment of the 24 movable vertebrae of the spinal column, and assisting nature for the purpose of normalizing the transmission of nerve energy, but does not include the use of surgery, obstetrics, osteopathy or the administration or prescribing of any drugs, medicines, serums or vaccines. "Practice of medicine or osteopathic medicine" means the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human physical or mental ailments, conditions, diseases, pain or infirmities by any means or method. "Practice of occupational therapy" means the therapeutic use of occupations for habilitation and rehabilitation to enhance physical health, mental health, and cognitive functioning and includes the evaluation, analysis, assessment, and delivery of education and training in basic and instrumental activities of daily living; the design, fabrication, and application of orthoses (splints); the design, selection, and use of adaptive equipment and assistive technologies; therapeutic activities to enhance functional performance; vocational evaluation and training; and consultation concerning the adaptation of physical, sensory, and social environments. "Practice of podiatry" means the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure or alleviation of physical conditions, diseases, pain, or infirmities of the human foot and ankle, including the medical, mechanical and surgical treatment of the ailments of the human foot and ankle, but does not include amputation of the foot proximal to the transmetatarsal level through the metatarsal shafts. Amputations proximal to the metatarsal-phalangeal joints may only be performed in a hospital or ambulatory surgery facility accredited by an organization listed in ? 54.1-2939. The practice includes the diagnosis and treatment of lower extremity ulcers; however, the treatment of severe lower extremity ulcers proximal to the foot and ankle may only be performed by
appropriately trained, credentialed podiatrists in an approved hospital or ambulatory surgery center at which the podiatrist has privileges, as described in ? 54.1-2939. The Board of Medicine shall determine whether a specific
type of treatment of the foot and ankle is within the scope of practice of podiatry.
"Practice of radiologic technology" means the application of x-rays to human beings for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.
"Practice of respiratory care" means the (i) administration of pharmacological, diagnostic, and therapeutic agents related to respiratory care procedures necessary to implement a treatment, disease prevention, pulmonary rehabilitative, or diagnostic regimen prescribed by a practitioner of medicine or osteopathic medicine; (ii) transcription and implementation of the written or verbal orders of a practitioner of medicine or osteopathic medicine pertaining to the practice of respiratory care; (iii) observation and monitoring of signs and symptoms, general behavior, general physical response to respiratory care treatment and diagnostic testing, including determination of whether such signs, symptoms, reactions, behavior or general physical response exhibit abnormal characteristics; and (iv) implementation of respiratory care procedures, based on observed abnormalities, or appropriate reporting, referral, respiratory care protocols or changes in treatment pursuant to the written or verbal orders by a licensed practitioner of medicine or osteopathic medicine or the initiation of emergency procedures, pursuant to the Board's regulations or as otherwise authorized by law. The practice of respiratory care may be performed in any clinic, hospital, skilled nursing facility, private dwelling or other place deemed appropriate by the Board in accordance with the written or verbal order of a practitioner of medicine or osteopathic medicine, and shall be performed under qualified medical direction.
"Qualified medical direction" means, in the context of the practice of respiratory care, having readily accessible to the respiratory care practitioner a licensed practitioner of medicine or osteopathic medicine who has specialty training or experience in the management of acute and chronic respiratory disorders and who is responsible for the quality, safety, and appropriateness of the respiratory services provided by the respiratory care practitioner. "Radiologic technologist" means an individual, other than a licensed doctor of medicine, osteopathy, podiatry, or chiropractic, or a dentist licensed pursuant to Chapter 27 (? 54.1-2700 et seq.), who (i) performs, may be
called upon to perform, or who is licensed to perform a comprehensive scope of diagnostic radiologic procedures employing equipment which emits ionizing radiation and (ii) is delegated or exercises responsibility for the operation of radiation-generating equipment, the shielding of patient and staff from unnecessary radiation, the appropriate exposure of radiographs or other procedures which contribute to any significant extent to the site or dosage of ionizing radiation to which a patient is exposed.
"Radiologic technologist, limited" means an individual, other than a licensed radiologic technologist, dental hygienist or person who is otherwise authorized by the Board of Dentistry under Chapter 27 (? 54.1-2700 et
seq.) and the regulations pursuant thereto, who performs diagnostic radiographic procedures employing equipment which emits ionizing radiation which is limited to specific areas of the human body. "Radiologist assistant" means an individual who has met the requirements of the Board for licensure as an advanced-level radiologic technologist and who, under the direct supervision of a licensed doctor of medicine or osteopathy specializing in the field of radiology, is authorized to (i) assess and evaluate the physiological and psychological responsiveness of patients undergoing radiologic procedures; (ii) evaluate image quality, make initial observations, and communicate observations to the supervising radiologist; (iii) administer contrast media or other medications prescribed by the supervising radiologist; and (iv) perform, or assist the supervising radiologist to perform, any other procedure consistent with the guidelines adopted by the American College of Radiology, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.
"Respiratory care" means the practice of the allied health profession responsible for the direct and indirect services, including inhalation therapy and respiratory therapy, in the treatment, management, diagnostic testing, control and care of patients with deficiencies and abnormalities associated with the cardiopulmonary system under qualified medical direction.
? 54.1-2901. Exceptions and exemptions generally.
A. The provisions of this chapter shall not prevent or prohibit:
1. Any person entitled to practice his profession under any prior law on June 24, 1944, from continuing such practice within the scope of the definition of his particular school of practice;
2. Any person licensed to practice naturopathy prior to June 30, 1980, from continuing such practice in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Board;
3. Any licensed nurse practitioner from rendering care in collaboration and consultation with a patient care team physician as part of a patient care team pursuant to ? 54.1-2957 when such services are authorized by
regulations promulgated jointly by the Board of Medicine and the Board of Nursing;
4. Any registered professional nurse, licensed nurse practitioner, graduate laboratory technician or other technical personnel who have been properly trained from rendering care or services within the scope of their usual professional activities which shall include the taking of blood, the giving of intravenous infusions and intravenous injections, and the insertion of tubes when performed under the orders of a person licensed to practice medicine or osteopathy, a nurse practitioner, or a physician assistant;
5. Any dentist, pharmacist or optometrist from rendering care or services within the scope of his usual professional activities;
6. Any practitioner licensed or certified by the Board from delegating to personnel supervised by him, such activities or functions as are nondiscretionary and do not require the exercise of professional judgment for their performance and which are usually or customarily delegated to such persons by practitioners of the healing arts, if such activities or functions are authorized by and performed for such practitioners of the healing arts and responsibility for such activities or functions is assumed by such practitioners of the healing arts; 7. The rendering of medical advice or information through telecommunications from a physician licensed to practice medicine in Virginia or an adjoining state, or from a licensed nurse practitioner, to emergency medical personnel acting in an emergency situation;
8. The domestic administration of family remedies;
9. The giving or use of massages, steam baths, dry heat rooms, infrared heat or ultraviolet lamps in public or private health clubs and spas;
10. The manufacture or sale of proprietary medicines in this Commonwealth by licensed pharmacists or druggists;
11. The advertising or sale of commercial appliances or remedies;
12. The fitting by nonitinerant persons or manufacturers of artificial eyes, limbs or other apparatus or appliances or the fitting of plaster cast counterparts of deformed portions of the body by a nonitinerant bracemaker or
prosthetist for the purpose of having a three-dimensional record of the deformity, when such bracemaker or prosthetist has received a prescription from a licensed physician, licensed nurse practitioner, or licensed physician assistant directing the fitting of such casts and such activities are conducted in conformity with the laws of Virginia;
13. Any person from the rendering of first aid or medical assistance in an emergency in the absence of a person licensed to practice medicine or osteopathy under the provisions of this chapter;
14. The practice of the religious tenets of any church in the ministration to the sick and suffering by mental or spiritual means without the use of any drug or material remedy, whether gratuitously or for compensation; 15. Any legally qualified out-of-state or foreign practitioner from meeting in consultation with legally licensed practitioners in this Commonwealth;
16. Any practitioner of the healing arts licensed or certified and in good standing with the applicable regulatory agency in another state or Canada when that practitioner of the healing arts is in Virginia temporarily and such practitioner has been issued a temporary license or certification by the Board from practicing medicine or the duties of the profession for which he is licensed or certified (i) in a summer camp or in conjunction with patients who are participating in recreational activities, (ii) while participating in continuing educational programs prescribed by the Board, or (iii) by rendering at any site any health care services within the limits of his license, voluntarily and without compensation, to any patient of any clinic which is organized in whole or in part for the delivery of health care services without charge as provided in ? 54.1-106;
17. The performance of the duties of any commissioned or contract medical officer, or podiatrist in active service in the army, navy, coast guard, marine corps, air force, or public health service of the United States while such individual is so commissioned or serving;
18. Any masseur, who publicly represents himself as such, from performing services within the scope of his usual professional activities and in conformance with state law;
19. Any person from performing services in the lawful conduct of his particular profession or business under state law;
8.01-225; 20. Any person from rendering emergency care pursuant to the provisions of ?
21. Qualified emergency medical services personnel, when acting within the scope of their certification, and licensed health care practitioners, when acting within their scope of practice, from following Durable Do Not Resuscitate Orders issued in accordance with ? 54.1-2987.1 and Board of Health regulations, or licensed health
care practitioners from following any other written order of a physician not to resuscitate a patient in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest;
22. Any commissioned or contract medical officer of the army, navy, coast guard or air force rendering services voluntarily and without compensation while deemed to be licensed pursuant to ? 54.1-106;
23. Any provider of a chemical dependency treatment program who is certified as an "acupuncture detoxification specialist" by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association or an equivalent certifying body, from administering auricular acupuncture treatment under the appropriate supervision of a National Acupuncture Detoxification Association certified licensed physician or licensed acupuncturist;
24. Any employee of any assisted living facility who is certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) acting in compliance with the patient's individualized service plan and with the written order of the attending physician not to resuscitate a patient in the event of cardiac or respiratory arrest;
25. Any person working as a health assistant under the direction of a licensed medical or osteopathic doctor within the Department of Corrections, the Department of Juvenile Justice or local correctional facilities; 26. Any employee of a school board, authorized by a prescriber and trained in the administration of insulin and glucagon, when, upon the authorization of a prescriber and the written request of the parents as defined in ? 22.1-1, assisting with the administration of insulin or administrating glucagon to a student diagnosed as having diabetes and who requires insulin injections during the school day or for whom glucagon has been prescribed for the emergency treatment of hypoglycemia;
27. Any practitioner of the healing arts or other profession regulated by the Board from rendering free health care to an underserved population of Virginia who (i) does not regularly practice his profession in Virginia, (ii) holds a current valid license or certificate to practice his profession in another state, territory, district or possession of the United States, (iii) volunteers to provide free health care to an underserved area of the Commonwealth under the auspices of a publicly supported all volunteer, nonprofit organization that sponsors the provision of health care to populations of underserved people, (iv) files a copy of the license or certification issued in such other jurisdiction with the Board, (v) notifies the Board at least five business days prior to the voluntary provision of services of the dates and location of such service, and (vi) acknowledges, in writing, that such licensure exemption shall only be valid, in compliance with the Board's regulations, during the limited period that such free health care is made available through the volunteer, nonprofit organization on the dates and at the location filed with the Board. The Board may deny the right to practice in Virginia to any practitioner of the healing arts whose license or certificate has been previously suspended or revoked, who has been convicted of a felony or who is otherwise found to be in violation of applicable laws or regulations. However, the Board shall allow a practitioner of the healing arts who meets the above criteria to provide volunteer services without prior notice for a period of up to three days, provided the nonprofit organization verifies that the practitioner has a valid, unrestricted license in another state;
28. Any registered nurse, acting as an agent of the Department of Health, from obtaining specimens of sputum or other bodily fluid from persons in whom the diagnosis of active tuberculosis disease, as defined in ? 32.1-
49.1, is suspected and submitting orders for testing of such specimens to the Division of Consolidated Laboratories or other public health laboratories, designated by the State Health Commissioner, for the purpose of determining the presence or absence of tubercle bacilli as defined in ? 32.1-49.1;
29. Any physician of medicine or osteopathy or nurse practitioner from delegating to a registered nurse under his supervision the screening and testing of children for elevated blood-lead levels when such testing is conducted (i) in accordance with a written protocol between the physician or nurse practitioner and the registered nurse and (ii) in compliance with the Board of Health's regulations promulgated pursuant to ?? 32.1-
46.1 and 32.1-46.2. Any follow-up testing or treatment shall be conducted at the direction of a physician or nurse practitioner;
30. Any practitioner of one of the professions regulated by the Board of Medicine who is in good standing with the applicable regulatory agency in another state or Canada from engaging in the practice of that profession when the practitioner is in Virginia temporarily with an out-of-state athletic team or athlete for the duration of the athletic tournament, game, or event in which the team or athlete is competing;
31. Any person from performing state or federally funded health care tasks directed by the consumer, which are typically self-performed, for an individual who lives in a private residence and who, by reason of disability, is unable to perform such tasks but who is capable of directing the appropriate performance of such tasks; or
32. Any practitioner of one of the professions regulated by the Board of Medicine who is in good standing with the applicable regulatory agency in another state from engaging in the practice of that profession in Virginia with a patient who is being transported to or from a Virginia hospital for care.
B. Notwithstanding any provision of law or regulation to the contrary, a nurse practitioner licensed by the Boards of Nursing and Medicine in the category of certified nurse midwife may practice without the requirement for physician supervision while participating in a pilot program approved by the Board of Health pursuant to ? 32.1-11.5.
? 54.1-2957. Licensure and practice of nurse practitioners; practice agreements.
A. 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.
B. 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. 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.
C. 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.
D. 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. E. Pending the outcome of the next National Specialty Examination, the Boards may jointly grant temporary licensure to nurse practitioners.
F. 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.
? 54.1-2957.01. Prescription of certain controlled substances and devices by licensed nurse practitioners. A. In accordance with the provisions of this section and pursuant to the requirements of Chapter 33 (? 54.1-3300 et seq.), a licensed nurse practitioner, other than a certified registered nurse anesthetist, shall have the authority to prescribe Schedule II through Schedule VI controlled substances and devices as set forth in Chapter 34 (? 54.1-3400 et seq.). Nurse practitioners shall have such prescriptive authority upon the provision to the Board of Medicine and the Board of Nursing of such evidence as they may jointly require that the nurse practitioner has entered into and is, at the time of writing a prescription, a party to a written or electronic practice agreement with a patient care team physician that clearly states the prescriptive practices of the nurse practitioner. Such written or electronic practice agreements shall include the controlled substances the nurse practitioner is or is not authorized to prescribe and may restrict such prescriptive authority as described in the practice agreement. Evidence of a practice agreement shall be maintained by a nurse practitioner pursuant to ? 54.1-2957. Practice agreements authorizing a nurse practitioner to prescribe controlled substances or devices pursuant to this section shall either be signed by the patient care team physician who is practicing as part of a patient care team with the nurse practitioner or shall clearly state the name of the patient care team physician who has entered into the practice agreement with the nurse practitioner.
B. It shall be unlawful for a nurse practitioner to prescribe controlled substances or devices pursuant to this section unless such prescription is authorized by the written or electronic practice agreement. C. The Board of Nursing and the Board of Medicine shall promulgate such regulations governing the prescriptive authority of nurse practitioners as are deemed reasonable and necessary to ensure an appropriate standard of care for patients.
Regulations promulgated pursuant to this section shall include, at a minimum, such requirements as may be necessary to ensure continued nurse practitioner competency, which may include continuing education, testing, or any other requirement, and shall address the need to promote ethical practice, an appropriate standard of care, patient safety, the use of new pharmaceuticals, and appropriate communication with patients. D. This section shall not limit the functions and procedures of certified registered nurse anesthetists or of any nurse practitioners which are otherwise authorized by law or regulation.
E. The following restrictions shall apply to any nurse practitioner authorized to prescribe drugs and devices pursuant to this section:
1. The nurse practitioner shall disclose to the patient at the initial encounter that he is a licensed nurse practitioner. Any member of a patient care team shall disclose, upon request of a patient or his legal
representative, the name of the patient care team physician and information regarding how to contact the patient care team physician.
2. Physicians shall not serve as a patient care team physician on a patient care team at any one time to more than six nurse practitioners.
F. This section shall not prohibit a licensed nurse practitioner from administering controlled substances in compliance with the definition of "administer" in ? 54.1-3401 or from receiving and dispensing manufacturers' professional samples of controlled substances in compliance with the provisions of this section. G. Notwithstanding any provision of law or regulation to the contrary, a nurse practitioner licensed by the Boards of Nursing and Medicine in the category of certified nurse midwife and holding a license for prescriptive authority may prescribe Schedules II through VI controlled substances without the requirement for collaboration and consultation with a patient care team physician as part of a patient care team pursuant to ? 54.1-2957 or a written or electronic practice agreement between the licensed nurse practitioner and a licensed physician while participating in a pilot program approved by the Board of Health pursuant to ? 32.1-11.5. ? 54.1-2957.02. When nurse practitioner signature accepted.
Whenever any law or regulation requires a signature, certification, stamp, verification, affidavit or endorsement by a physician, it shall be deemed to include a signature, certification, stamp, verification, affidavit or endorsement by a nurse practitioner.
? 54.1-2957.03. Certified nurse midwives; required disclosures; liability.
A. A certified nurse midwife who provides health care services to a patient outside of a hospital or birthing center, as defined in subsection E of ? 32.1-11.5, shall disclose to that patient, when appropriate, information on health risks associated with births outside of a hospital or birthing center including but not limited to risks associated with vaginal births after a prior cesarean section, breech births, births by women experiencing high-risk pregnancies, and births involving multiple gestation.
B. The certified nurse midwife who provided health care to a patient shall be liable for the midwife's negligent, grossly negligent, or willful and wanton acts or omissions. Except as otherwise provided by law, any (i) doctor of medicine or osteopathy who did not collaborate or consult with the midwife regarding the patient and who has not previously treated the patient for this pregnancy, (ii) nurse, (iii) prehospital emergency medical personnel, or (iv) hospital as defined in ? 32.1-123 or agents thereof, who provides screening and stabilization health care services to a patient as a result of a certified nurse midwife's negligent, grossly negligent, or willful and wanton acts or omissions, shall be immune from liability for acts or omissions constituting ordinary negligence.
? 54.1-2972. When person deemed medically and legally dead; determination of death; nurses' or physician assistants' authority to pronounce death under certain circumstances.
A. A person shall be medically and legally dead if:
1. In the opinion of a physician duly authorized to practice medicine in this Commonwealth, based on the ordinary standards of medical practice, there is the absence of spontaneous respiratory and spontaneous cardiac functions and, because of the disease or condition which directly or indirectly caused these functions to cease, or because of the passage of time since these functions ceased, attempts at resuscitation would not, in the opinion of such physician, be successful in restoring spontaneous life-sustaining functions, and, in such event, death shall be deemed to have occurred at the time these functions ceased; or
2. In the opinion of a physician, who shall be duly licensed and a specialist in the field of neurology, neurosurgery, electroencephalography, or critical care medicine, when based on the ordinary standards of medical practice, there is the absence of brain stem reflexes, spontaneous brain functions and spontaneous respiratory functions and, in the opinion of another physician and such specialist, based on the ordinary standards of medical practice and considering the absence of brain stem reflexes, spontaneous brain functions and spontaneous respiratory functions and the patient's medical record, further attempts at resuscitation or continued supportive maintenance would not be successful in restoring such reflexes or spontaneous functions, and, in such event, death shall be deemed to have occurred at the time when these conditions first coincide. B. A registered nurse or a physician assistant who practices under the supervision of a physician may pronounce death if the following criteria are satisfied: (i) the nurse is employed by or the physician assistant works at (a) a home health organization as defined in ? 32.1-162.7, (b) a hospice as defined in ? 32.1-162.1, (c) a hospital or
nursing home as defined in ? 32.1-123, including state-operated hospitals for the purposes of this section, (d) the Department of Corrections, or (e) a continuing care retirement community registered with the State Corporation Commission pursuant to Chapter 49 (? 38.2-4900 et seq.) of Title 38.2; (ii) the nurse or physician
assistant is directly involved in the care of the patient; (iii) the patient's death has occurred; (iv) the patient is under the care of a physician when his death occurs; (v) the patient's death has been anticipated; (vi) the physician is unable to be present within a reasonable period of time to determine death; and (vii) there is a valid Do Not Resuscitate Order pursuant to ? 54.1-2987.1 for the patient who has died. The nurse or physician
assistant shall inform the patient's attending and consulting physicians of his death as soon as practicable. The nurse or physician assistant shall have the authority to pronounce death in accordance with such procedural regulations, if any, as may be promulgated by the Board of Medicine; however, if the circumstances of the death are not anticipated or the death requires an investigation by a medical examiner, the nurse or physician assistant shall notify the chief medical examiner of the death and the body shall not be released to the funeral director.
This subsection shall not authorize a nurse or physician assistant to determine the cause of death. Determination of cause of death shall continue to be the responsibility of the attending physician, except as provided in ? 32.1-
263. Further, this subsection shall not be construed to impose any obligation to carry out the functions of this subsection.
This subsection shall not relieve any registered nurse or physician assistant from any civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred for failure to follow statutes or Board of Nursing or Board of Medicine regulations.
C. Death, as defined in subdivision A 2, shall be determined by one of the two physicians and recorded in the patient's medical record and attested by the other physician. One of the two physicians determining or attesting to brain death may be the attending physician regardless of his specialty so long as at least one of the physicians is a specialist, as set out in subdivision A 2.
D. The alternative definitions of death provided in subdivisions A 1 and A 2 may be utilized for all purposes in the Commonwealth, including the trial of civil and criminal cases.