Scope of Practice
Family physicians possess distinctive attitudes, skills, and knowledge that collectively allow them to provide comprehensive medical care, health maintenance, and preventive services to each member of the family – regardless of sex or age -- for a range of biological and behavioral problems.
Because of their patient relationships and training, family physicians are uniquely positioned to lead patient care teams, especially under the Patient Centered Medical Home model. Family physicians also serve as patient advocates in all health-related matters, including the appropriate use of specialists, health services, and community resources.
Despite the family physician’s singular qualifications for guiding patients in the Patient Centered Medical Home, many primary care doctors could face encroachment on their scope of practice by clinicians seeking to gain exclusive domain over certain services.
The AAFP believes policies and guidelines should be adopted that protect the scope of family medicine while also allowing family physicians to work closely with other specialties and health professionals within the context of the Patient Centered Medical Home team.
As part of this effort, the AAFP urges policymakers to delineate the roles of allied health professionals more clearly. These individuals play an important part in the delivery of health services, and provide essential assistance to family physicians in providing care as part of a physician-directed team.
The AAFP continues to believe that the scope of allied health professionals' respective practices should not undermine or impede the ability of family physicians to lead the PCMH or provide a traditional array of comprehensive services. Given family physicians' extensive education and training, we believe patient safety and care quality are best served by ensuring that many of the services provided by allied health professionals are done so only under supervision of a physician.
- Needle Electromyography (EMG) - June 2005(3 page PDF)
- Issue Brief: Newborn Screening - January 2006(12 page PDF)
- Trial of Labor after Cesarean Section (TOLAC) - September 2005(2 page PDF)
- State Scope of Practice Kit - May 15, 2013(34 page PDF)
- AAFP Letter to Nebraska Legislature Urging the Passage of LB 916 - January 30, 2014(2 page PDF)
- Joint Letter to the Veteran Affairs Expressing Strong Concern Regarding the Draft VHA Handbook that designates APRNs as Independent Providers Regardless of State Practice Acts - October 28, 2013(4 page PDF)
- AAFP Letter to West Virginia Auditor - October 16, 2013(2 page PDF)
- AAFP Signs on to Coalition for Fair Participation and Coverage Letter in Support of Physician-led Practice - July 23, 2013(1 page PDF)
- Letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs Expressing Concern Regarding Expansion of APRN License Without Rule-making - June 20, 2013(2 page PDF)
- AAFP Letter to Nevada Governor - June 4, 2013(2 page PDF)
- AAFP Letter to the FDA in Response to Their "Safe Use" Drug Classification Proposal -- April 30, 2012(2 page PDF)
- Letter to Committee on Finance Regarding Requirement for Mid-Level Practitioners in Rural Health Clinics - January 30, 2007(2 page PDF)