A lengthy study from the American College of Surgeons and 20 other surgical specialty organizations provides new guidance on whether an operation may call for the use of a physician as an assistant during surgery.
Study guides use of docs as surgical assistants
The 176-page Physicians as Assistants at Surgery report (PDF) was last published four years ago and now accounts for 371 new Current Procedural Terminology, or CPT, codes. Organizations that participated in its publication—including the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons—reviewed codes applicable to their respective specialty in the surgery section of the American Medical Association's CPT 2010 to determine the need of a physician as an assistant.
“It may be necessary to utilize nonphysicians as first assistants,” the guide noted. “Surgeon's Assistants, or physician's assistants with additional surgical training should meet national standards and be credentialed by the appropriate local authority,” the guide noted.”
The first iteration of this guide—which appears in table format—was published in 1994.
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