In Kentucky Board of Chiropractic Examiners v. Barlow, an appeals court upheld the ability of physicians to provide expert review and testimony in keeping with their full scope of practice and training.
“Providing expert opinions and testimony is a facet of the practice of medicine for many physicians, and it is an important service to their patients and the community at large,” the AMA stated in a friend-of-the-court brief (AMA login required) filed by the Litigation Center of the AMA and State Medical Societies in support of the physicians involved in the case.
In its suit, the Kentucky Board of Chiropractic Examiners claimed that physicians could not provide expert review of medical records involving chiropractic services, citing a state statute that limits peer review to other chiropractors. The argument sought to conflate peer review, which assesses the actions or competence of a licensed practitioner, with the broader concept of expert opinions.
“Blurring the lines between expert review and peer review would be a disservice both to litigants and to health care professionals,” the brief stated. “Each type of review serves different purposes and involves different processes, procedures and results.”
The appeals court upheld an earlier circuit court decision that preserved the distinction between the two kinds of review and affirmed that providing expert opinions is perfectly within the scope of medical practice.
In this case, the two physicians in question were evaluating medical records for an auto insurance company to determine whether health care services provided to claimants likely were caused by injuries sustained in automobile accidents. The physicians were not evaluating the quality of that care, whether provided by chiropractors or other clinicians.
The appeals court ruled unanimously in favor of the physicians.