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Health Law Alert: Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure Proposes New 75-Mile Limit for Nurse Practitioner Collaborating Physicians

April 12, 2016

On April 4, 2016, the Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure filed proposed regulations with the Mississippi Secretary of State, which would, among other things, change the maximum distance a nurse practitioner may practice under a collaborating physician’s supervision from 15 miles to 75 miles. The Board concurrently withdrew previous proposed rulemaking on this issue, which was submitted March 28, 2016 “due to a technicality.”

Current Board regulations define a “free standing clinic” as a clinic or other facility (excluding hospitals and certain other specialized facilities) where patients are treated by a nurse practitioner located more than 15 miles away from the primary office of the collaborative/consulting physician. Physicians who wish to collaborate/consult with a nurse practitioner practicing in a free-standing clinic currently are required to obtain a special approval from the Board, which requires, among other things, that the physician appear before the Board personally or by telephone.

The proposed regulations revise the definition of a “free-standing clinic” by increasing the maximum distance from the collaborative/consulting physician’s primary office from 15 miles to 75 miles.  

Thus, the proposed regulations, if adopted, would allow nurse practitioners to practice up to 75 miles away from the primary office of their collaborating physicians without obtaining special approval from the Board and offer greater flexibility for nurse practitioners — such as those located in rural areas — who have found it difficult to secure a suitable collaborating physician within 15 miles of their practice under the current rules.

Public comments on the proposed regulations should be submitted to the Board no later than April 25, 2016. There is presently no oral hearing scheduled on the proposed rule changes.

A copy of the proposed regulations, taken from the Mississippi Secretary of State’s website, is available by clicking here.