Posted on June 14, 2016 in Health and Human Services
Scope of practice describes the procedures, actions and processes that a healthcare practitioner in a given field is permitted to undertake according to the law. Scope of practice policies and regulations, which are applicable to professionals across the field of medicine, vary substantially from state to state and, in some instances, continue to spark passionate debates about the proper extent to which medical professionals should be permitted to exercise certain responsibilities.
Physician Assistants, or PAs, are nationally certified and state-licensed medical professionals who work with physicians and other providers to treat patients. Among other things, PAs can take patients’ medical history, conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, develop treatment plans, counsel on preventive care, assist in surgery, write prescriptions, and make rounds in hospitals and nursing homes. However, specifically designated duties depend on a number of factors, including work setting, level of experience, specialty and, lastly, state laws.
A list of scope of practice regulations currently in place among SLC states, as well as a set of maps outlining various scope of practice policies throughout the United States, follows.*
(click on headers to sort by column)
|SLC States||Full prescriptive authority||Scope of practice determined on site||Adaptable supervision requirements||Co-sign requirements determined at practice||Maximum number of PAs a physician can supervise at one time|
Full prescriptive authority: Refers to whether or not PA prescriptive authority is determined at the practice level by the supervising physician.
Scope of practice determined on site: Refers to whether or not the supervising physician and PA jointly establish a written agreement outlining the PA’s scope of practice.
Adaptable supervision requirements: Refers to whether or not the circumstance of each practice determine the exact means by which responsible supervision is accomplished. If supervision requirements are not adaptable, state law determines the exact means by which responsible supervision is accomplished.
Co-sign requirements determined at practice: Refers to whether or not co-signature requirements for PAs are determined at the practice level by the supervising physician.
Maximum number of PAs a physician can supervise at one time: Refers to the limit on the number of PAs a physician can supervise at one time. If no numerical limit is listed, law does not include a specific numerical limit on the number of PAs that one physician may supervise.
* The information is provided by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.