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Use of chaperones: Updated FAQ

23 Apr 2023

Oregon Medical Board changes begin July 1

By: Kelly Aebi, director of medical staff services

On behalf of the Salem Hospital and West Valley Hospital Medical Executive Committees:

The March 12 Common Ground article, “Use of chaperones: Oregon Medical Board changes,” featured the Oregon Medical Board rule change that begins July 1, which requires licensees to offer a trained chaperone to be physically present for:

  • Genital and rectal examinations regardless of gender; and
  • Breast examinations for patients who identify as female.

The article also included Salem Health’s chaperones policy changes, effective July 1, and requested providers seek clarity from their section chiefs to prepare for the upcoming Medical Chaperone Rule OAR 847-010-0130.

The Physician Leadership Council, comprised of 30 clinical section chiefs, met in March and below is an updated FAQ based on questions they’ve received. Please note that several questions can also be located in the OMB FAQ.

Frequently asked questions

Who is considered a “trained” chaperone? 

The OMB considers trained chaperones to include:

  • A health care professional who holds an active Oregon license (physician, physician assistant, registered nurse, etc.)
  • A non-licensed health care professional who has completed additional training approved by the Oregon Medical Board. (Examples of non-licensed health care professionals who require additional training: medical assistants, ED techs, medical techs and unit clerks.)

Will training be provided to those who are currently non-licensed healthcare professionals?

All employees of Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics who have been identified as non-licensed healthcare professionals and who serve as chaperones have been assigned an OMB approved training course via HealthStream with completion due by July 1. This includes medical assistants, ED techs, medical techs and unit clerks on applicable units. All incoming employees for these roles will complete training upon hire.

If my clinic is not a part of Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics how can I train my staff?

The Oregon Medical Board provided an example course on their FAQ # 15. The OMB approved the Salem Health Hospitals and Clinics HealthStream slides for internal education.  These slides will be distributed to the clinical section chiefs should you want a copy for your clinic.  Please contact your section chief or if you are interested.  Please note that you are responsible for tracking any education you provide to your staff for OMB compliance.  The slide deck provides helpful and useful information on the required use of trained chaperones for sensitive examinations.  Salem Health makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy, reliability, sufficiency or completeness of the Medical Chaperone Rule OAR 847-010-0130. Please refer to FAQ #16 from the OMB.

Is there a gender requirement for the chaperone?

The Medical Staff Office contacted the OMB to learn the OMB rule does not include gender requirements for the chaperone, but the patient may request a certain gender and licensees should ensure that patient is comfortable to the best of their ability.

If a chaperone is already present in the normal course of the examination, do I still need to offer one?

The OMB FAQ #6 states, “A licensee is not required to offer a chaperone if a medical chaperone is already present in the normal course of the examination.”

Can the chaperone also assist the licensee during the examination?

The OMB FAQ #20 states, “The medical chaperone may assist the licensee during the examination as long as the tasks do not obstruct or distract the chaperone from observing the licensee’s behavior and actions.” 

Questions? Please contact your clinical section chief or