Conference on Ethical and Legal Implications of Health Manpower Innovations [First Duke Conference]

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  • Summary report of a conference held at Duke University on March 31 and April 1, 1968 to discuss ethical and legal implications of introducing new health practitioners, using physician assistants as an example, into the American health care delivery system. This became known as the First Duke Conference. It was proposed that a committee be formed, for example under the Board of Medical Examiners, to assess applications from institutions wishing to introduce new health care team members into the delivery system. The committee would have "representation from nursing, hospital administration and from other organized elements of the health care profession." The questioning of licensing new health manpower categories was raised and the general consensus was that formal licensing was likely to lead to more complications than solutions and that a "dependent assistant" - one working under the authority, supervision and responsibility of the physician - would provide greater safeguards to the public and more flexibility for task delegation. This conference eventually led to the development of model legislation to be used to enact regulatory statutes enabling physicians to hire and use physician assistants in their practices.
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  • Physician Assistant Program Records
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