MAFP on New Scope Bill: NPs Should be Part of, Not Independent From, the Physician-led Care Team

October 28, 2021 - Legislation was recently introduced in the Michigan Senate that, if passed, would grant full autonomy to nurse practitioners (NP) in the state. Among the provisions of Senate Bill 680 are allowing NPs, without undergoing additional training or education, to care for patients absent of physician supervision or collaboration, and to prescribe opioids and other controlled substances.

The MAFP advocacy team is meeting with the primary sponsor of the bill, Sen. Rick Outman, to advocate that NPs should be part of the care team, not independent from it, to ensure patient safety and continuity of care through preserving the patient-physician relationship.

In the past, MAFP has been successful in preventing the encroachment of nurse practitioners and other allied health professionals on the family medicine scope. Most recently, in 2018, MAFP led a successful advocacy campaign to stop naturopathic providers from being licensed as physicians in Michigan and gaining autonomy. And back in 2014, we successfully advocated for physician-led patient care teams when advance practice registered nurses in our state sought independent practice and prescribing authority.
Data show that team-based, physician-led care results in better quality outcomes, higher patient and physician satisfaction, and more cost-effective care. This is especially true when comparing collaborative care with the type of independent practice sought by allied health professionals such as nurse practitioners. Paramount is that the interests of patients are best served when their care is provided by a physician or through an integrated practice supervised directly by a physician, as the education and training of physicians and allied health professionals is not interchangeable. Through their expansive training, which consists of and average of 21,700 training and clinical hours, physicians bring a broader and deeper expertise to the diagnosis and treatment of health problems. Compartively, nurse practitioners are required to have approximately 5,350 training and clinical hours.

To amplify our work on scope of practice issues to protect the safety of patients and the practice of family medicine, MAFP has joined MiACCT (Michigan for Advancing Collaborative Care Teams), a collaboration of more than 20 healthcare organizations in the state committed to growing, strengthening, and preserving physician-led, team-based care and #StopScopeCreep.

SB 680 currently resides in the Senate Committee on Health Policy and Human Services.