Protecting the Physician-Led Care Team

The spread of dangerous policies allowing nurse practitioners (NPs) or physician assistants (PAs) to practice medicine without physician supervision is deeply concerning. To address the expansion of mid-level scope of practice, ACEP launched a bold education campaign to make sure legislators and hospital administrators recognize the importance of supporting emergency physician-led care.

Learn more about ACEP’s efforts to address scope of practice expansion by visiting our Scope of Practice resource page


Patients trust and prefer care supervised by an emergency physician 

WhoIsEMP-4.jpgTwo ACEP-supported public polls reveal that patients have strong preferences about who cares for them in an emergency. Nearly 80% of adults trust a physician to deliver their medical care in an emergency, compared to a nurse practitioner (9%), physician assistant (7%) or nurse (5%), according to an August 2021 poll from ACEP and Morning Consult. 

A March 2022 ACEP/Morning Consult poll built on these findings to show not only that the vast majority of adults (79%) most trust a physician to lead their medical care, but that many patients (72%) would be concerned if a physician was unavailable during their medical emergency.  

Advocating for Physician-Led Care

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. As part of that campaign, ACEP developed a series of short, animated videos, “Who is an Emergency Physician?,” that highlights the value of emergency physicians and explains in plain language how specialized training and education sets emergency physicians apart from others on the care team.  

What Happens When The Wrong Person Is Leading Your Care?

Who Takes Care of You in an Emergency?

ACEP is also amplifying the personal stories of emergency physicians who began their careers as RNs, PAs, or NPs. These unique ACEP member perspectives emphasize the dramatic difference in physician training and education and underscore that emergency physicians are the most qualified professionals available in an emergency–they should be the ones leading care teams in every emergency department in the country. 

Many of these scope of practice policy battles are happening at the state level. Our advocacy toolkit for spokespersons and chapters includes talking points, media materials such as a template op-ed, sample infographics and social media content. 

Talking Points: Scope of Practice

Sample Op-Ed: Scope of Practice

Social Media Posts: Scope of Practice

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