Efficient, high quality health care requires all members of the health care team to work closely together. Every member of the health care delivery team plays an important role, but to ensure optimal care and help protect patient safety, physicians and non-physicians must provide only the services that their education and training has prepared them to provide.
Many times people are confused about the differences between various types of health care providers. Often, patients mistakenly believe they are seeing medical doctors when they are not. The AMA and Patients’ Action Network believe that everyone deserves to have increased clarity and transparency in health care. There is no place for confusing or misleading health care advertising that has the potential to put patient safety at risk.
With the escalating cost of health care and an ever growing variety of health care choices, America’s patients deserve to know who provides their health care, and exactly what their health care providers are qualified and licensed to perform. Confusion about who is or is not qualified to provide specific patient care undermines the reliability of the health care system and can put patients at risk. People unqualified to perform health services can lead to medical errors and patient harm.
This issue is about transparency for patients, patient education and patient safety. It does not increase nor limit anyone’s scope of practice. Instead, we hope to increase transparency of health care professionals’ qualifications for patients so that patients can clearly see and make informed decisions about who provides their care.
To help ensure patients answer the simple question, “who is a doctor?,” the AMA believes that all health care professionals – both physicians and non-physicians – should be required to accurately and clearly disclose their training and qualifications to patients.