Chapter 34. Physicians, Acupuncture, Physician Assistants

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Chapter 34. Physicians, Acupuncture, Physician Assistants

Transcript Of Chapter 34. Physicians, Acupuncture, Physician Assistants

CHAPTER 34. PHYSICIANS, ACUPUNCTURE, PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS, CANCER AND GLAUCOMA TREATMENT, RESPIRATORY CARE, CLINICAL PERFUSIONISTS, AND ORTHOTICS AND PROSTHETICS PRACTICE
ARTICLE 1. GEORGIA COMPOSITE MEDICAL BOARD O.C.G.A.
§ 43-34-1. Definitions.
As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) "Board" means the Georgia Composite Medical Board.
(2) "Physician" means a person licensed to practice medicine pursuant to Article 2 of this chapter.
(3) "To practice medicine," "the practice of medicine," or "practicing medicine" shall have the same meaning as in paragraph (3) of Code Section 43-34-21.
HISTORY: Code 1981, § 43-34-1, enacted by Ga. L. 2009, p. 859, § 1/HB 509.
§ 43-34-2. Creation of board; members; physician assistants advisory committee; review of qualifications
(a) A board is established to be known as the Georgia Composite Medical Board. The board shall be composed of 15 members, all of whom shall be citizens of the United States and residents of this state. All appointments to the board shall be made by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate.
(b) Thirteen of the members shall be actively practicing physicians of integrity and ability and shall hold unrestricted licenses to practice medicine in this state. Eleven of the 13 physician members shall be graduates of reputable medical schools conferring the M.D. degree; the other two physician members shall be graduates of reputable osteopathic medical schools conferring the D.O. degree. All of the physician members shall have been engaged in the active practice of their profession within this state for a period of at least five years prior to their appointment. Any vacancy occurring in a post held by a holder of the D.O. degree shall be filled by a D.O. and any vacancy occurring in a post held by an M.D. degree shall be filled by an M.D.
(c) The fourteenth and fifteenth members of the board shall have no connection whatsoever with the practice of medicine and may vote only on matters relating to administration and policy which do not directly relate to practical and scientific examination of physicians in this state.
(d) Any member of the board may be removed from his or her position and generate an open position on the board:
(1) By a majority vote of the members of the board if a member of the board misses three or more consecutive meetings or misses more than one-third of all meetings including meetings conducted by teleconference, without a valid medical reason or reasons deemed

excusable, which removal shall not be effective unless approved by the Governor; or
(2) By the Governor if the board member:
(A) Has willfully neglected his or her duty as a board member;
(B) Has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude;
(C) Has been convicted of a felony;
(D) Is no longer in the active practice of medicine, if a physician member;
(E) Is no longer a resident of the State of Georgia; or
(F) Has received any restriction of his or her medical license in Georgia or any other state, if a physician member.
(e) (1) The board shall appoint a Physician Assistants Advisory Committee composed of four physicians, at least two of whom shall be members of the board, and four licensed physician assistants, who shall each serve for terms of office of two years and until their successors are appointed and qualified. The committee shall review matters to come before the board which relate to physician assistants, including but not limited to applicants for physician assistant licensure and relicensure and education requirements therefor, and proposed board regulations concerning physician assistants. The committee shall periodically make recommendations to the board regarding matters reviewed. Each member of the advisory committee shall be entitled to the same expense allowances, mileage allowances, and reimbursement as members of the board as provided for in this chapter.
(2) The committee shall appoint a physician assistant in an advisory capacity to the board. The advisory person shall serve at the pleasure of the committee as an ex officio adviser to the board in all matters relating to physician assistants and shall share in the privileges and benefits of the board without a vote.
(f) The board shall review applicants' qualifications for licensure, certification, or permitting pursuant to this chapter.
(g) Reserved.
HISTORY: Ga. L. 1913, p. 101, § 2; Ga. L. 1918, p. 173, § 1; Code 1933, § 84-902; Ga. L. 1963, p. 285, § 1; Ga. L. 1970, p. 301, § 2; Ga. L. 1971, p. 689, § 1; Ga. L. 1974, p. 1156, § 2; Ga. L. 1977, p. 334, § 1; Ga. L. 1979, p. 382, §§ 1, 2; Code 1981, § 43-34-21; Ga. L. 1982, p. 2266, § 3; Ga. L. 1983, p. 3, § 32; Ga. L. 1984, p. 1465, § 1; Ga. L. 1986, p. 304, § 1; Ga. L. 1990, p. 1903, § 10; Ga. L. 1992, p. 1153, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 2062, § 3; Ga. L. 1997, p. 935, § 1; Ga. L. 1999, p. 296, § 25; Code 1981, § 43-34-2, as redesignated by Ga. L. 2009, p. 859, § 1/HB 509; Ga. L. 2010, p. 543, § 1/SB 252.
§ 43-34-3. Terms of office; representation of geographic regions; vacancies
(a) The members of the Composite State Board of Medical Examiners, now known as the Georgia Composite Medical Board, in office on June 30, 2009, shall continue to serve out their respective terms and until their respective successors are appointed and qualified. The two new board members added as of July 1, 2009, pursuant to Code Section 43-34-2 shall

be appointed by the Governor to serve as members of the board for terms of office beginning on July 1, 2009. The terms of office of the two new members shall be for two years and three years, respectively, with the Governor to specify the initial term of office for each new member at the time of his or her appointment. Upon the expiration of such initial terms, successors to such members of the board whose terms of office expire shall serve for terms of four years each.
(b) Terms of office of members of the board shall be four years. Members of the board shall serve for the terms specified and until their respective successors are appointed and qualified. All reappointments and new appointments shall be made so that the various geographic regions of the state shall be represented. Any vacancy that may occur in the board as a result of death, resignation, relocation from the state, or other cause shall be filled for the unexpired term in the same manner as regular appointments are made.
HISTORY: Ga. L. 1909, p. 123, § 1; Ga. L. 1913, p. 101, § 3; Ga. L. 1918, p. 173, § 3; Code 1933, §§ 84-903, 84-1201; Ga. L. 1939, p. 226, § 1; Ga. L. 1963, p. 285, § 2; Ga. L. 1970, p. 301, § 3; Ga. L. 1971, p. 689, § 1; Ga. L. 1979, p. 382, § 3; Code 1981, § 43-3422; Ga. L. 1997, p. 935, § 1.1; Ga. L. 1998, p. 128, § 43; Ga. L. 1999, p. 296, § 12; Code 1981, § 43-34-3, as redesignated by Ga. L. 2009, p. 859, § 1/HB 509.
§ 43-34-4. Oath of board members; certificate of appointment
Immediately and before entering upon the duties of office, the members of the board shall take the constitutional oath of office and shall file the same in the office of the Governor, who, upon receiving the oath of office, shall issue to each member a certificate of appointment.
HISTORY: Ga. L. 1913, p. 101, § 4; Code 1933, § 84-904; Code 1981, § 43-34-23; Code 1981, § 43-34-4, as redesignated by Ga. L. 2009, p. 859, § 1/HB 509.
§ 43-34-5. Election of board officers; reimbursement of members; meetings; powers and duties; no restriction on licenses
(a) The board shall meet and shall annually elect a chairperson and vice chairperson. Each member of the board may receive the expense allowance as provided by subsection (b) of Code Section 45-7-21 and the same mileage allowance for the use of a personal car as that received by other state officials and employees or a travel allowance of actual transportation cost if traveling by public carrier within the state. Each board member shall also be reimbursed for any conference or meeting registration fee incurred in the performance of his or her duties as a board member. For each day's service outside of the state as a board member, such member shall receive actual expenses as an expense allowance as well as the mileage allowance for the use of a personal car equal to that received by other state officials and employees or a travel allowance of actual transportation cost if traveling by public carrier or by rental motor vehicle. Expense vouchers submitted by board members are subject to approval of the chairperson and executive director. Out-of-state travel by board members must be approved by the board chairperson and the executive director.
(b) The board shall hold regular meetings each month, unless in the discretion of the chairperson it is deemed unnecessary for a particular month. Called meetings may be held at the discretion of the chairperson.

(c) The board shall have the following powers and duties:
(1) To adopt, amend, and repeal such rules and regulations in accordance with this chapter necessary for the proper administration and enforcement of this chapter;
(2) To adopt a seal by which the board shall authenticate the acts of the board;
(3) To establish a pool of qualified physicians to act as peer reviewers and expert witnesses and to appoint or contract with physicians professionally qualified by education and training, medical associations, or other professionally qualified organizations to serve as peer reviewers; provided, however, that no licensing, investigative, or disciplinary duties or functions of the board may be delegated to any medical association or related entity by contract or otherwise;
(4) To employ a medical director and other staff to implement this chapter and provide necessary and appropriate support who shall be subject to the same confidentiality requirements of the board;
(5) To keep a docket of public proceedings, actions, and filings;
(6) To set its office hours;
(7) To set all reasonable fees by adoption of a schedule of fees approved by the board. The board shall set such fees sufficient to cover costs of operation;
(8) To establish rules regarding licensure and certification status, including but not limited to inactive status, as the board deems appropriate;
(9) To issue, deny, or reinstate the licenses, certificates, or permits of duly qualified applicants for licensure, certification, or permits under this chapter;
(10) To revoke, suspend, issue terms and conditions, place on probation, limit practice, fine, require additional medical training, require medical community service, or otherwise sanction licensees, certificate holders, or permit holders;
(11) To renew licenses, certificates, and permits and set renewal and expiration dates and application and other deadlines;
(12) To approve such examinations as are necessary to determine competency to practice under this chapter;
(13) To set examination standards, approve examinations, and set passing score requirements;
(14) To adopt necessary rules concerning proceedings, hearings, review hearings, actions, filings, depositions, and motions related to uncontested cases;
(15) To initiate investigations for the purposes of discovering violations of this chapter;
(16) To administer oaths, subpoena witnesses and documentary evidence including medical records, and take testimony in all matters relating to its duties;
(17) To conduct hearings, reviews, and other proceedings according to Chapter 13 of Title

50;
(18) To conduct investigative interviews;
(19) To issue cease and desist orders to stop the unlicensed practice of medicine or other profession licensed, certified, or permitted under this chapter and impose penalties for such violations;
(20) To request injunctive relief or refer cases for criminal prosecution to appropriate enforcement authorities;
(21) To release investigative or applicant files to another enforcement agency or lawful licensing authority in another state;
(22) To sue and be sued in a court of competent jurisdiction; and
(23) To enter into contracts.
(d) A license issued by the board shall not be limited or restricted to a particular medical specialty.
HISTORY: Ga. L. 1913, p. 101, § 5; Ga. L. 1933, p. 197, § 1; Code 1933, § 84-905; Ga. L. 1962, p. 611, § 1; Ga. L. 1974, p. 1156, § 3; Code 1981, § 43-34-24; Ga. L. 1999, p. 296, § 13; Code 1981, § 43-34-5, as redesignated by Ga. L. 2009, p. 859, § 1/HB 509.
§ 43-34-5.1. Professional health program for monitoring and rehabilitation of impaired health care professionals; definitions; authorization; confidentiality; costs
(a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) "Entity" means an organization or medical professional association which conducts professional health programs.
(2) "Health care professional" means any individual licensed, certified, or permitted by the board under this chapter.
(3) "Impaired" means the inability of a health care professional to practice with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of illness or use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or any other type of material, or as a result of any mental or physical condition.
(4) "Professional health program" means a program established for the purposes of monitoring and rehabilitation of impaired health care professionals.
(b) The board shall be authorized to conduct a professional health program to provide monitoring and rehabilitation of impaired health care professionals in this state. To this end, the board shall be authorized to enter into a contract with an entity for the purpose of establishing and conducting such professional health program, including but not limited to:
(1) Monitoring and rehabilitation of impaired health care professionals;

(2) Performing duties related to paragraph (13) of subsection (a) of Code Section 43-348; and
(3) Performing such other related activities as determined by the board.
(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of Code Sections 43-34-7 and 43-34-8, the board shall be authorized to provide pertinent information regarding health care professionals, as determined by the board and in its sole discretion, to the entity for its purposes in conducting a professional health program pursuant to this Code section.
(d) All information, interviews, reports, statements, memoranda, or other documents furnished to the entity by the board or other source or produced by the entity and any findings, conclusions, recommendations, or reports resulting from the monitoring or rehabilitation of health care professionals pursuant to this Code section are declared to be privileged and confidential and shall not be subject to Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50, relating to open records. All such records of the entity shall be confidential and shall be used by such entity and its employees and agents only in the exercise of the proper function of the entity pursuant to its contract with the board. Such information, interviews, reports, statements, memoranda, or other documents furnished to or produced by the entity and any findings, conclusions, recommendations, or reports resulting from the monitoring or rehabilitation of health care professionals shall not be available for court subpoenas or for discovery proceedings.
(e) An impaired health care professional who participates in a professional health program conducted pursuant to this Code section shall bear all costs associated with such participation.
(f) Any entity that contracts with the board pursuant to this Code section shall be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed, for the performance of any functions or duties under the contract if performed in accordance with the terms of such contract and the provisions of this Code section.
HISTORY: Code 1981, § 43-34-5.1, enacted by Ga. L. 2010, p. 543, § 2/SB 252.
§ 43-34-6. Board as an independent agency; executive director; meetings and hearings; licenses, certificates, and permits; investigations; venue; credit to veterans; annual report
(a) The board shall not be under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of State but shall be an independent state agency attached to the Department of Community Health for administrative purposes only, as provided in Code Section 50-4-3, except that such department shall prepare and submit the budget for the board. The board shall have with respect to all matters within the jurisdiction of the board as provided under this chapter the powers, duties, and functions of professional licensing boards as provided in Chapter 1 of this title.
(b) The board shall appoint and fix the compensation of an executive director of such board who shall serve at the pleasure of the board. Any reference in this chapter to the executive director shall mean the executive director appointed pursuant to this subsection.
(c) Meetings and hearings of the board shall be held at the site of the office of the board or at such other site as may be specified by the chairperson of the board. A majority of the

members of the board shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business of the board.
(d) Licenses, certificates, and permits issued by the board shall be subject to renewal and shall be valid for up to two years unless otherwise specified by this chapter and shall be renewable biennially on the renewal date established by the board.
(e) The board, through the executive director, may hire investigators for the purpose of conducting investigations. Any person so employed shall be considered to be a peace officer and shall have all powers, duties, and status of a peace officer of this state; provided, however, that such investigators shall only be authorized, upon written approval of the executive director, notwithstanding Code Sections 16-11-126 and 16-11-129, to carry firearms in the performance of their duties and exercise the powers of arrest in the performance of their duties.
(f) The venue of any action involving members of the board shall be the county in which is found the primary office of the governmental entity of which the defendant is an officer. The executive director of the board shall not be considered a member of the board in determining the venue of any such action and no court shall have jurisdiction of any such action solely by virtue of the executive director residing or maintaining a residence within its jurisdiction.
(g) The board shall give point credit to veterans in the same manner as required under Code Sections 43-1-9 through 43-1-13.
(h) Initial judicial review of a final decision of the board shall be had solely in the superior court of the county of domicile of the board.
(i) The executive director shall make a report no later than December 31 of each year covering the activities of the board for that calendar year, which shall be made available to any member of the General Assembly upon request.
(j) The executive director, with the approval of the board, notwithstanding any other provisions of law to the contrary, shall enter into such contracts as are deemed necessary to carry out this chapter to provide for all services required of the board.
HISTORY: Code 1981, § 43-34-24.1, enacted by Ga. L. 1999, p. 296, § 13; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1706, § 14; Ga. L. 2001, p. 1240, § 6; Code 1981, § 43-34-6, as redesignated by Ga. L. 2009, p. 859, § 1/HB 509; Ga. L. 2010, p. 963, § 2-18/SB 308.
§ 43-34-7. Maintenance of roster; confidentiality
The executive director shall prepare and maintain a roster containing the names and business addresses of all current licensees, certificate holders, and permit holders for each of the various professions regulated by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. A copy of the roster shall be available to any person upon request at a fee prescribed by the board sufficient to cover the cost of printing and distribution. The following shall be treated as confidential, not subject to Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50, relating to open records, and shall not be disclosed without the approval of the board:
(1) Applications and other personal information submitted by applicants, except to the applicant, the staff, and the board;

(2) Information, favorable or unfavorable, submitted by a reference source concerning an applicant, except to the staff and the board;
(3) Examination questions and other examination materials, except to the staff and the board; and
(4) The deliberations of the board with respect to an application, an examination, a complaint, an investigation, or a disciplinary proceeding, except as may be contained in official board minutes; provided, however, that such deliberations may be released only to another state or federal enforcement agency or lawful licensing authority. Releasing the documents pursuant to this paragraph shall not subject any otherwise privileged documents to the provisions of Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50.
HISTORY: Code 1981, § 43-34-7, enacted by Ga. L. 2009, p. 859, § 1/HB 509; Ga. L. 2012, p. 218, § 12/HB 397.
§ 43-34-8. Authority to refuse license, certificate, or permit or issue discipline; suspension; restoration; investigations; evidentiary privileges; closed hearings; immunity for reporting; failure to appear; publication of final disciplinary actions
(a) The board shall have authority to refuse to grant a license, certificate, or permit to an applicant or to discipline a person regulated under this chapter or any antecedent law upon a finding by the board that the licensee, certificate holder, or permit holder or applicant has:
(1) Failed to demonstrate the qualifications or standards for a license, certificate, or permit contained in this chapter or in the rules and regulations of the board. It shall be incumbent upon the applicant to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the board that he or she meets all requirements for the issuance of a license; and, if the board is not satisfied as to the applicant's qualifications, it shall not issue a license, certificate, or permit;
(2) Knowingly made misleading, deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations in the practice of a profession licensed, certified, or permitted under this chapter or in any document connected therewith, or practiced fraud or deceit or intentionally made any false statement in obtaining a license, certificate, or permit under this chapter to practice pursuant to this chapter, or made a false statement or deceptive registration with the board;
(3) Been convicted of a felony in the courts of this state or any other state, territory, country, or of the United States. As used in this paragraph, the term "conviction of a felony" shall include a conviction of an offense which if committed in this state would be deemed a felony under either state or federal law, without regard to its designation elsewhere. As used in this paragraph, the term "conviction" shall include a finding or verdict of guilt, a plea of guilty resulting in first offender status, or a plea of nolo contendere in a criminal proceeding, regardless of whether the adjudication of guilt or sentence is withheld or not entered thereon;
(4) Committed a crime involving moral turpitude, without regard to conviction; the conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude shall be evidence of the commission of such crime. As used in this paragraph, the term "conviction" shall have the meaning prescribed in paragraph (3) of this subsection. For the purpose of this chapter, a conviction or plea of

guilty or of nolo contendere to a charge or indictment by either federal or state government for income tax evasion shall not be considered a crime involving moral turpitude;
(5) Had his or her license, certificate, or permit to practice pursuant to this chapter revoked, suspended, or annulled by any lawful licensing authority; or had other disciplinary action taken against him or her by any lawful licensing authority; or been denied a license by any lawful licensing authority;
(6) Advertised for or solicited patients; obtained a fee or other thing of value on the representation that a manifestly incurable disease can be permanently cured; or made untruthful or improbable statements, or flamboyant or extravagant claims concerning his or her professional excellence or treatment protocols;
(7) Engaged in any unprofessional, unethical, deceptive, or deleterious conduct or practice harmful to the public, which conduct or practice need not have resulted in actual injury to any person. As used in this paragraph, the term "unprofessional conduct" shall include any departure from, or failure to conform to, the minimum standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice and shall also include, but not be limited to, the prescribing or use of drugs, treatment, or diagnostic procedures which are detrimental to the patient as determined by the minimum standards of acceptable and prevailing medical practice or by rule of the board;
(8) Performed, procured, or aided or abetted in performing or procuring a criminal abortion;
(9) Knowingly maintained a professional connection or association with any person who is in violation of this chapter or the rules or regulations of the board; or knowingly aided, assisted, procured, or advised any person to practice pursuant to this chapter contrary to this chapter or to the rules and regulations of the board; or knowingly performed any act which in any way aids, assists, procures, advises, or encourages any unlicensed person or entity to practice pursuant to this chapter; or divided fees or agreed to divide fees received for professional services with any person, firm, association, corporation, or other entity for bringing or referring a patient;
(10) Violated or attempted to violate a law, rule, or regulation of this state, any other state, the board, the United States, or any other lawful authority without regard to whether the violation is criminally punishable, which law, rule, or regulation relates to or in part regulates the practice of medicine, when the licensee or applicant knows or should know that such action is violative of such law, rule, or regulation; or violated a lawful order of the board, previously entered by the board in a disciplinary hearing;
(11) Committed any act or omission which is indicative of bad moral character or untrustworthiness;
(12) Been adjudged mentally incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction, within or outside this state. Any such adjudication shall automatically suspend the license, certificate, or permit of any such person and shall prevent the reissuance or renewal of any license, certificate, or permit so suspended for as long as the adjudication of incompetence is in effect unless the board, upon a finding that the licensee, certificate holder, or permit holder is mentally competent, orders otherwise. Any applicant who has been so adjudged to be mentally incompetent shall not receive a license, certificate, or permit unless the board, upon a finding that the applicant is mentally competent, orders otherwise;

(13) Become unable to practice pursuant to this chapter with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of illness or use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or any other type of material, or as a result of any mental or physical condition:
(A) In enforcing this paragraph the board may, upon reasonable grounds, require a licensee, certificate holder, permit holder, or applicant to submit to a mental or physical examination by physicians designated by the board. The expense of this examination shall be borne by the licensee, certificate holder, or permit holder or applicant. The results of such examination shall be admissible in any hearing before the board, notwithstanding any claim of privilege under a contrary rule of law or statute, including, but not limited to, Code Section 24-5-501. Every person who shall accept the privilege of practicing a profession regulated under this chapter or who shall file an application for a license to practice a profession regulated under this chapter in this state shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to submit to such mental or physical examination and to have waived all objections to the admissibility of the results in any hearing before the board, upon the grounds that the same constitutes a privileged communication. If a licensee, certificate holder, or permit holder or applicant fails to submit to such an examination when properly directed to do so by the board, unless such failure was due to circumstances beyond his or her control, the board may enter a final order upon proper notice, hearing, and proof of such refusal. Any licensee, certificate holder, permit holder, or applicant who is prohibited from practicing pursuant to this chapter under this paragraph shall at reasonable intervals be afforded an opportunity to demonstrate to the board that he or she can resume or begin practice pursuant to this chapter with reasonable skill and safety to patients;
(B) For the purposes of this paragraph, the board and any entity which has entered into a contract with the board pursuant to Code Section 43-34-5.1, if specifically provided for in such contract, may, upon reasonable grounds, obtain any and all records relating to the mental or physical condition of a licensee, certificate holder, or permit holder or applicant, including psychiatric records; and such records shall be admissible in any hearing before the board, notwithstanding any privilege under a contrary rule of law or statute, including, but not limited to, Code Section 24-5-501. Every person who shall accept the privilege of practicing pursuant to this chapter in this state or who shall file an application to practice pursuant to this chapter in this state shall be deemed to have given his or her consent to the board's obtaining any such records and to have waived all objections to the admissibility of such records in any hearing before the board, upon the grounds that the same constitute a privileged communication; and
(C) If any licensee, certificate holder, or permit holder or applicant could, in the absence of this paragraph, invoke a privilege to prevent the disclosure of the results of the examination provided for in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph or the records relating to the mental or physical condition of such licensee, certificate holder, or permit holder or applicant obtained pursuant to subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, all such information shall be received by the board in camera and shall not be disclosed to the public, nor shall any part of the record containing such information be used against any licensee, certificate holder, or permit holder or applicant in any other type of proceeding;
(14) Cheated on or attempted to subvert an examination by the board;
(15) Committed an act of sexual abuse, misconduct, or exploitation of a patient including guardians and parents of minors;
(16) Mistreated or abandoned a patient or his or her records; provided, however that a physician in compliance with Chapter 33 of Title 31 shall not be considered to have
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