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SCO-001: Scope of Practice

Scope of Practice: The Wisconsin Medical Society believes that health care professionals should work as partners in health care within the limitations of each profession’s legal scope of practice. The Society also recognizes that the practice of medicine and other health care professions are dynamic disciplines. Enhancements in technology, advances in science, improvements in education and training and changes in health care delivery may necessitate changes in the scopes of practice for non-physician health care professions. In evaluating whether a change or expansion in a non-physician health care profession’s scope of practice is necessary and appropriate, the Society will, at a minimum, evaluate answers to the following questions:

  1. Are members of the profession appropriately educated, trained and experienced in the actions, treatments, responsibilities or procedures for which authority is sought to ensure that if the profession’s scope is changed as proposed the care patients receive:
    1. Is competent and of high quality?
    2. Adheres to accepted or reasonable standards of patient safety?
  2. Has a genuine patient-care need been identified sufficiently to justify the degree of changes requested to the profession’s scope of practice?
  3. Are corresponding changes to the profession’s liability insurance requirements necessary to ensure that patients may be adequately compensated in situations of professional malpractice?
  4. Will the changes proposed have a negative impact on the cost of or access to health care?
  5. Are the proposed changes unambiguous so that
    1. Patients may easily understand the limits of the profession’s legal authority and practice?
    2. Members of the profession may not expand the scope of professional practice without appropriate legislative action?

When these criteria are met, the Society will work to ensure that proposed changes to non-physician health care professional practice acts and regulations accomplish their stated intentions in consultation with medical subspecialties affected by these changes. (HOD, 0415)