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  • Meagan Dorsch
    Director of Public Affairs
  • Jon Kuhl
    Public Affairs Specialist
    Washington, D.C.
April 13, 2011

New Laws Focus on Medical Professions

New database tracks current legislation to ensure health care professionals have the proper education and skills, and patients receive safe and effective care.

With millions of Americans gaining new access to health care services through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the health care workforce will be stretched to its limits to meet this increased demand for services. In response, state legislatures are passing laws that broaden the parameters—the scope and standards of practice—for several medical professions.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) has compiled a new, comprehensive Scope of Practice Legislation Tracking Database that tracks current legislation in all 50 states dealing with commissions and reports, licensure and credentialing, Medicaid/health insurance plan reimbursement, practice autonomy, prescriptive authority, truth in medical education, and truth in advertising for 22 health care professions. It will be updated regularly and is free to all web users.

State legislatures have been at the forefront in building the capacity required to provide a true safety net of care, from expanding practice and prescriptive authority within health care settings, to defining the scope and standards of practice for previously unlicensed professions, and giving providers Medicaid reimbursements for the services they render. Lawmakers are looking at ways to ensure health care professionals have the proper education and skills so patients receive the safest, most equitable and effective care. Likewise, legislators have examined how broadening the scope of certain health professionals will improve the overall health care system and patients’ health, as well.

This database contains legislation from 2011, including enacted, pending and failed bills and resolutions. Bills can be searched by state, topic, keyword, status, and/or primary sponsor.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.