Negligent Supervision: Physician Responsible for Prescribing Practices of Collaborating Nurse Practitioner

April 1, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


In a case of first impression, the Court of Appeals of Indiana held that physicians who undertake the responsibility to oversee a nurse practitioner's prescribing practices—in a collaborative practice agreement, for example—owe a legal duty to the nurse practitioner's patients to fulfill their contractual obligations with reasonable care. In so ruling the court allowed a wrongful death suit filed by the estate of a patient of the nurse practitioner to proceed against the physician.

The defendant physician had a contractual relationship in the form of a collaborative practice agreement with a nurse practitioner who owned her own medical clinic. According to the agreement, the physician was to collaborate with the nurse practitioner and oversee her prescriptive authority, reviewing at least 5% of her charts weekly and documenting her prescriptive practices. The physician had no ownership or employment interest in the nurse practitioner's clinic;...

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