A Report on Scope of Practice

By Grant McInnes

White Paper on Expanding Scope of Practice for Non-Physician Providers and Implications for Patients and U.S. Healthcare System

The Physicians Foundation released a new white paper by Stephen Isaacs and Paul Jellinek titled, “Accept No Substitute: A Report on Scope of Practice,” that examines the growing trend to expand scope of practice for non-physician providers.  A range of underlying social, economic and political forces are compelling state legislatures to consider whether non-physician providers should be granted full clinical autonomy to treat patients – a responsibility traditionally given to practicing physicians. This growing trend has profound implications for patient care and the broader healthcare system, according to the report. Multiple factors are contributing to this expanded scope of practice trend, including:

  • Payers and large delivery systems trying to contain and reduce rising healthcare costs
  • Growing patient access problems related to physician shortages and PPACA provisions
  • Demand for mid-level providers by physicians seeking to sustain their medical practices due to administrative, regulatory and financial pressures

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