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Regardless of Specialty, All Docs Should Care About Scope Legislation
Eldon A. Trame, MD
ISMS President
Eldon A. Trame, MD  

We physicians tend to be parochial, and for many of us it has become common to identify ourselves less with “physician” and more with “internist,” “surgeon” or fill-in-the-blank based on the three-to-eight years we spent after medical school.

It is understandable that our focus for keeping up with the latest advances within our specialty means more time spent with our specialty peers and reading the journals focused on our unique challenges.

However, there are still many issues and beliefs that should bind us beyond just our clinical interests. One such issue: scope of practice. In recent years there has been a groundswell of efforts by other groups to become licensed health care professionals, achieve equal recognition as MDs/DOs under the Medical Practice Act, or to practice beyond the level for which their training prepared them. They often rely on arguments that aren’t based on their training, suggesting a perceived gap in our current health care landscape or offering a solution where no problem exists. Unfortunately, the proposed scope expansion “solutions” are only roadmaps to more problems. For these reasons, ISMS is at the forefront of protecting our profession, and our patients, against unwarranted scope of practice expansion.

Halting scope expansion benefits all Illinois physicians

We are currently in the midst of Illinois’ 98th General Assembly, and there has already been a great deal of activity. Your ISMS lobbying team is on the ground in Springfield educating lawmakers on health care bills at the point of introduction and committee consideration. 

This year there is no shortage of scope expansion proposals. Expect to hear more about these bills as the session progresses. Our team is effective at nipping the more onerous proposals in the bud, but typically a few bills advance and require more work. Sometimes this can be achieved through targeted constituent physician phone calls. Occasionally it will require more of an effort, such as the case when a coordinated campaign, with the support from the AMA, was initiated in 2013 to educate lawmakers on a harmful psychologist prescribing proposal.

Medicine now is not the same as it was even a decade ago. Health care delivery is team-based and will be even more so in the future. This is a good thing; teams of professionals practicing to the fullest extent of their licensure are effective in serving the best interests of our patients. ISMS is committed to ensuring that this team-based model remains physician-led.

ISMS’ work on scope of practice bills is important for all doctors. It may not be your specialty that is threatened today by unsafe scope expansion, but it could be tomorrow.  We must all rally to oppose any dangerous scope proposal and advocate as a united front of Illinois physicians.

Contact me at DrTrame@isms.org to share your thoughts.

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