There is no equivalency between a physician and a nonphysician health professional. The primary care physician possesses distinctive skills and knowledge. The specialty undergirds the nation's health, providing comprehensive medical care, health maintenance, and preventive services to patients of every demographic, across a range of biological and behavioral concerns while serving as patient advocates in all health-related matters. Because of the long-term patient relationships and global proficiency, family physicians are best-positioned to lead patient care teams.
For these reasons, the Academy advocates at every level of policymaking for clear delineation of the separate roles of allied health professionals. While such individuals provide essential assistance to family physicians in delivering care as part of a physician-directed team, their practices should not undermine or impede the ability of family physicians to lead the patient's health care team or provide a traditional array of comprehensive services. Patients are best-served by ensuring that many of the services provided by allied health professionals are done only under a physician's supervision.
Family physicians are singularly qualified to offer whole-person care and lead patient care teams, but they face encroachment on their scope of practice by clinicians without equivalent training. The Academy advocates for policies and guidelines that push back against such encroachment, protect the scope of primary care and allow family physicians to work closely with other specialties and health professionals.
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