(a) This Code section shall be known and may be cited as the
"Registered Nurse First Assistant Consumer Act."
(b) It is the intent of the General Assembly to:
(1) Encourage the continued use of registered nurse first
assistants who meet the qualifications of this Code section as
"assistants at surgery" by physicians and surgical facilities to
provide quality, cost-effective surgical intervention to health
care recipients in the state; and
(2) Establish policies within managed health care agencies,
workers' compensation carriers, and all private insurance
companies to provide for adequate and justifiable reimbursement
for the registered nurse first assistant for services rendered.
(c) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) "Health benefit policy" means any individual or group plan,
policy, or contract for health care services issued, delivered,
issued for delivery, or renewed in this state, including, but not
limited to, those policies, plans, or contracts executed by the
State of Georgia on behalf of state employees under Article 1 of
Chapter 18 of Title 45, by a health care corporation, health
maintenance organization, preferred provider organization,
accident and sickness insurer, fraternal benefit society, hospital
service corporation, medical service corporation, workers'
compensation insurance carrier in accordance with Chapter 9 of
Title 34, or other insurer or similar entity.
(2) "Insurer" means an accident and sickness insurer, fraternal
benefit society, hospital service corporation, workers'
compensation insurance carrier, medical service corporation,
health care corporation, health maintenance organization, managed
care plan other than a dental plan, or any similar entity
authorized to issue contracts under this title, but shall exclude
any state program funded under Title XIX of the federal Social
Security Act, 42 U.S.C.A. Section 1396 et seq., and any other
publicly funded state health care program.
(3) "Perioperative nursing" means a practice of registered
professional nursing in which the registered nurse provides
preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative nursing care to
(4) "Recognized educational curriculum program" means a program
(A) Addresses all content of the Association of periOperative
Registered Nurses, Inc., Core Curriculum for the Registered
Nurse First Assistant and the Certification Board of
Perioperative Nurses; and
(B) Includes indicated didactic and clinical internship as
required by the curriculum.
(5) "Registered nurse first assistant" means a person who:
(A)(i) Is licensed as a registered professional nurse in the
State of Georgia;
(ii) Is certified in perioperative nursing; and
(iii) Has successfully completed a registered nurse first
assistant education program that meets the Association of
periOperative Registered Nurses, Inc.'s education standard for
the registered nurse first assistant; or
(B) Was holding the title of and practicing as a registered
nurse first assistant as of January 1, 1993.
(d) Notwithstanding any provisions in policies or contracts which
might be construed to the contrary, whenever any health benefit
policy which is issued, executed, or renewed in this state on or
after July 1, 2001, provides that any of its benefits are payable to
a surgical first assistant for services rendered, the insurer shall
be required to directly reimburse any registered nurse first
assistant who has rendered such services at the request of a
physician and within the scope of a registered nurse first
assistant's professional license. This Code section shall not apply
to a registered nurse first assistant who is employed by the
requesting physician or renders such services in the capacity as an
employee of the hospital where services are rendered.