Scope of Practice of Non-Physician Providers

The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery supports physician-directed collaborative and coordinated team care. However, all members of the healthcare team (Doctors of Medicine, Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, and non-physicians) should clearly identify their training and/or credentials to avoid any confusion about who is providing the care within the healthcare team. We are in agreement with the American Medical Association definition of a physician as an individual who has received a “Doctor of Medicine” or a “Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine” degree or an equivalent degree following successful completion of a prescribed course of study from a school of medicine or osteopathic medicine. Non physician doctoral trained members of the healthcare team should specify the field of their doctorate so as to avoid patient confusion. We strongly oppose state and federal legislation that would inappropriately expand the scope of practice of non-physician providers (those healthcare professionals who are not MDs or DOs) beyond their education and training. Permitting non-physician providers to independently diagnose, treat, and/or manage medical disorders could adversely affect quality of patient care.

Adopted 6/6/2009 
Revised 5/6/2013

Important Disclaimer Notice

Position statements are approved by the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Inc. or Foundation (AAO-HNS/F) Boards of Directors and are typically generated from AAO-HNS/F committees. Once approved by the Academy or Foundation Board of Directors, they become official position statements and are added to the existing position statement library. In no sense do they represent a standard of care. The applicability of position statements, as guidance for a procedure, must be determined by the responsible physician in light of all the circumstances presented by the individual patient. Adherence to these clinical position statements will not ensure successful treatment in every situation. As with all AAO-HNS/F guidance, this position statement should not be deemed inclusive of all proper treatment decisions or methods of care, nor exclusive of other treatment decisions or methods of care reasonably directed to obtaining the same results.


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