Attention Florida Psychiatrists

Recent Florida Supreme Court Decision

The Supreme Court of Florida recently decided a case involving a psychiatrist. The case: Chirillo v. Granicz was brought by a husband whose wife committed suicide.1 He claimed the psychiatrist breached his duty of care which resulted in her suicide. One of the issues before the Court concerned whether the doctor had a legal duty to prevent the patient’s suicide. The Court did not expand the duty of care to include duty to prevent suicide. The Florida Supreme Court sent the case back to the Trial Court to decide. In summary, psychiatrists still have the same duty to provide treatment within the standard of care which is an issue of fact to be decided by a jury.

Attention Texas Psychiatrists

Texas Medical Board Reminder About “Prescriptive Authority Agreement”

Recently, the Texas Medical Board reminded physicians about the items that must be included in a “Prescriptive Authority Agreement.” Specifically, under Texas Medical Board Rule 193.8, Prescriptive Authority Agreements must, at a minimum:

  • Be in writing and signed and dated by the parties to the agreement;
  • State the name, address, and all professional license numbers of all parties to the agreement;
  • State the nature of the practice, practice location or practice settings;
  • Identify the types of categories or drugs or devices that may be prescribed or the types or categories of drugs or devices that may not be prescribed;
  • Provide a general plan for addressing consultations and referrals;
  • Provide a plan for addressing patient emergencies;
  • State the general process for communication and sharing information related to the care and treatment of patients; and
  • Describe a quality assurance and improvement plan and how it will be implemented. In particular, the plan must address medical record reviews and periodic face to face meetings.

For more information, view the “Supervision and Delegation FAQs” on the TMB website by visiting: and/or read Chapter 193 of the TMB Board rules, by visiting:

Attention Washington Psychiatrists

Duty to Warn Decision by the Washington State Supreme Court

Recently, the Washington State Supreme Court decided in Volk v. DeMeerleer that under Washington law, in the outpatient context, a psychiatrist has a duty to warn all of their patient’s foreseeable victims because of the special relationship that exists between a treating psychiatrist and his/her patient. The Court also decided whether a potential victim is “foreseeable” is an issue of fact that the jury must decide. In addition, the Court also ruled that the foreseeability of the potential victim, as well as what actions fulfill discharging the duty, is informed by the mental health profession’s standards of care.In summary, the Volk ruling appears to expand the class of individuals to whom a psychiatrist owes a duty of care as well as requires psychiatrists to probe into a patient’s violent statements in order to determine potential victims.

For more information, the decision can be accessed online and the following articles may be of interest:

APA Psychiatric News Alert: “State Supreme Court Ruling Expands ‘Tarasoff’ Duty for Washington State Clinicians” [1/3/17]

Washington State Medical Association: “Court decision could increase liability risks for health care providers” [12/28/16]

APA Psychiatric News: “What is My Duty to Warn?” [1/11/16]


1 Chirillo v. Granicz, 199 So. 3d 246; 2016 Fla. LEXIS 1908

2 Volk v. DeMeerleer, No. 91387-1, 2016 Wash. LEXIS 1374