Fighting for Physician-led Care

Many hospitals are responding to resource constraints and staffing challenges by allowing nonphysicians—like physician assistants or nurse practitioners—to perform complex medical procedures without supervision. 

ACEP believes that an emergency physician should lead every emergency care team in the country. Physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) are integral and valued members of the care team. But they do not have the training or expertise of an emergency physician. Regardless of where a patient lives, anyone who goes to the emergency department deserves access to the highest quality care delivered by emergency physician-led teams.


ACEP is making it clear: there is no substitute for a licensed, trained, and board-certified emergency physician. ACEP has launched a campaign to educate patients and policymakers about the importance of physician-led care teams.

"What Happens When The Wrong Person
Is Leading Your Care?"

"Who is an Emergency Physician?"
The Importance of Physician-Led Care

Public Education Campaign: Scope of Practice

ACEP Poll Shows Widespread Concern if Physicians Aren’t There to Lead Care (March 2022)

ACEP Poll Shows Adults Prefer Physician-Led Care in Crisis (August 2021)

Infographic: The Cost of Removing the Physician from the Care Team

Fighting for Physician-Led Care

ACEP is leading efforts to make sure that policymakers and health care leaders know that emergency physicians should lead every emergency care team.

Fighting for physician-led care is one of many ways ACEP has your back.

Learn More

Physician Staff Requirement in Emergency Departments

ACEP is a staunch supporter of physician-led team-based care that ensures that every patient has access to high quality medical care from an educated and trained physician.

Learn More

Communication Resources

Sample Op-Ed: Scope of Practice

Social Media Posts: Scope of Practice

Talking Points: Scope of Practice


In 2021, ACEP joined the American Medical Association (AMA) Scope of Practice Partnership (SOPP), a group of more than 100 national, state and specialty medical associations that share the belief that patients deserve care led by physicians. The resources and advocacy of this partnership are frequently deployed in states where troubling scope of practice legislation surfaces.

more AMA Scope of Practice Partnership


ACEP advocates at the state and federal levels for policies that prioritize emergency physician-led teams in the emergency department. We are working to establish commonsense principles for model state legislation and best practices for scope of practice in the emergency department as we fight back against bills that would expand the scope of nonphysicians.

There have been more than 70 bills introduced in state legislatures seeking to expand scope of practice for nonphysician health care professionals across medical specialties and functions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.


Emergency physicians in Colorado were instrumental to defeating HB 1184, a bill that would have removed the supervision requirements for physician assistants and required formal collaboration with a physician only for PAs with fewer than 5,760 hours of experience.


Emergency physicians in Indiana were crucial to efforts to pass a new law, that requires hospital emergency departments in the state to have a physician onsite and responsible for the ED.


During the 2021-22 legislative session, emergency physicians worked to defeat HB 354, a bill that would have removed the physician-collaboration requirement for APRNs for prescribing in Kentucky


And, a strong effort in Louisiana was essential to defeating a bill that would have granted full practice authority to advanced practice registered nurses.

South Dakota

In South Dakota, emergency physician advocacy prevented SB 175 from passing in the Senate.


During the 2023 Virginia legislative session, the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians worked to defeat House Bill 2183 that would remove the current 5 years of supervised training before a nurse practitioner can apply for independent practice and Senate Bill 1105 that would have remove the authority of the Virginia Board of Medicine to jointly license and regulate nurse practitioners with the Virginia Board of Nursing.


ACEP was part of the coalition that successfully advocated for the governor of Wisconsin to veto SB 394. This bill would have removed physician supervision or collaboration requirements for nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists and clinical nurse specialists after 3,840 clinical care hours in their APRN role with a physician or dentist. 

Education Resources

Webinar: “The Changing Role of PAs and NPs in the ED” (ACEP Democratic Group Section, May 2022)

Workforce Minute - Dr. Gillian Schmitz - Scope of Practice

Workforce Considerations: ACEPs Commitment to You and Emergency Medicine (ACEPNow, April 2021)

YPS Addresses EM Workforce Questions in Webinar

Navigating the Workplace with Advanced Practice Providers


  1. Advanced practice providers proficiency-based model of ultrasound training and practice in the ED (Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians Open, January 11, 2022
  2. Evaluation of an advanced practice provider emergency department critical care step-down unit (Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians Open, June 11, 2020
  3. Opioid Prescribing by Primary Care Providers: a Cross-Sectional Analysis of Nurse Practitioner, Physician Assistant, and Physician Prescribing Patterns (General Internal Medicine, September, 2020, 35(9):2584-2592. doi: 10.1007/s11606-020-05823-0. Epub 2020 Apr 24.)
  4. National Trends in the Utilization of Skeletal Radiography From 2003 to 2015 (American College of Radiology, October 15, 2018, (10):1408-1414. doi: 10.1016/j.jacr.2017.10.007. Epub 2018 Mar 23.)
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