Scope of practice for non-physicians

There are many clinical professionals in the health care industry other than physicians, including:

  • Nurses
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Physical therapists
  • Pharmacists

The laws are generally clear on what these other professionals are allowed to do and what they cannot do. 

  • Who can prescribe drugs
  • Who can perform specific procedures

However, in the broad discussion about health care costs, the issue of what various professionals can do becomes relevant:

  • A shortage of physicians affects access and waiting times.
  • The supply/ demand balance affects the cost of services- if there aren’t enough physicians, thay can raise their prices and there is no alternative.
  • Physicians threaten to refuse Medicare patients if rates are cut, and even Medicare has no alternative.

So here is the question:

Should non-physicians be allowed to do more in the direct care of patients? What do you think? Please select one answer.

In general, should licensed health care professionals who are not physicians be allowed to do more in the direct care of patients?

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