Dower C, Moore J, Langelier M. It is time to restructure health professions scope-of-practice regulations to remove barriers to care. Health Affairs. 2013;32(11):1971-1976. http://10.1377/hlthaff.2013.0537b
Regulation and licensure of health professionals—nurses, physicians, pharmacists, and others—currently falls to the states. State laws and regulations define legal scopes of practice for these practitioners. Concern is growing that this system cannot support workforce innovations needed for an evolving health care system or for successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act. This article highlights reforms that are needed to strengthen health professions regulation, including aligning scopes of practice with professional competence for each profession in all states; assuring the regulatory flexibility needed to recognize emerging and overlapping roles for health professionals; increasing the input of consumers; basing decisions on the best available evidence and allowing demonstration programs; and establishing a national clearinghouse for scope-of-practice information.