This note examines the antitrust developments that affect the health care industry; the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986; the treatment of peer review process immunity for physicians as it now exists; how non-physician providers are dealt with in the peer review process; and where physician assistants fit into the whole scheme. Part I of this note lays a foundation of antitrust principles, briefly explaining the applicable portions of the Sherman Act. Part I continues by setting forth the approaches, rule of reason versus per se rule, that courts utilize when dealing with antitrust situations. After explaining these governing principles and citing examples, the note provides a brief history regarding health care, and antitrust strategies and approaches utilized by legal professionals in the health care area. In part II of this note, a profile is constructed on physician assistants as a group, in order to lay a foundation regarding the impact they have on health care services. Implications of case comparisons and relevant health care legislation are also examined. Part III concludes that physician assistants should be addressed separately from other non-physician providers by including physician assistants in the HCQIA, as a 'measuring stick" from which courts can take their cues.
Note, Determining the Immunity Measuring Stick: The Impact of the Health Care Quality Improvement Act and Antitrust Laws on Immunity Aspects of Granting Privileges to Physician Assistants, 47 Clev. St. L. Rev. 115 (1999)