By Kim Stanger
The Idaho Board of Medicine’s recent disavowal of the corporate practice of medicine doctrine has made it easier for corporations and non-physician individuals to invest in or own medical practices in Idaho.
The Corporate Practice of Medicine. For decades, the Idaho Board of Medicine took the position that, with limited exceptions, the Idaho Medical Practice Act “prohibits unlicensed corporations and entities from hiring physicians as employees to provide medical services to patients.” (Memo from J. Uranga to Idaho State Bd. of Medicine dated 2/26/07). This “corporate practice of medicine” doctrine (“CPOM”) had its foundation in a 1952 Idaho Supreme Court case which held that:
[n]o unlicensed person or entity may engage in the practice of the medical profession though licensed employees; nor may a licensed physician practice as an employee of an unlicensed person or entity. Such practices are contrary to public policy.
(Worlton v. Davis, 73 Idaho 217, 221 (1952)). The Board of Medicine warned that violations of the doctrine may result in disciplinary action against physicians and, more recently, physician assistants. Entities that improperly employed physicians or physician assistants risked the possibility of criminal action for the unauthorized practice of medicine. Continue reading