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Scope of Practice: Gaining Ground on Healthcare Delivery’s Heated Debate

One of the most contentious issues in healthcare is scope of practice. Scope of practice for healthcare professionals is a battle that is only escalating with efforts to drive down costs and expand care. The expansion of care settings and the emergence of telehealth are both intensifying the pressure to define professional scope. MACRA is expected to have an enormous impact. While discussion of scope of practice triangulates around three main topics: access, cost and quality, the complexities run far deeper. Battleground issues include the availability of trained professionals and their geographic distribution, the cost of medical education and Medicare reimbursement rates. Federal laws and regulations, as well as variation in state licensing practices are also driving the debate. Hippos is experienced with all of these issues.

Managing Opposition and Dominant Voices

Many prominent foundation and healthcare advocates have become active and influential voices on scope of practice, publishing research and position papers that have allowed them to take the lead in setting the agenda and defining the good and bad actors. Medical associations and societies, because they are generally associated with member advocacy and lobbying efforts, are challenged to establish a compelling voice for their point-of-view. In addition, their governance structures, making state and local chapters independent from national oversight, often result in fragmented efforts that further undermine their effectiveness and momentum in gaining ground on this issue.

Hippos relies on multi-year experience and work on behalf of board of directors for medical professional societies and associations in developing fully integrated strategies to successfully manage scope of practice.  We integrate carefully with lobbying and government affairs. Our approach for managing scope of practice relies on researched and tested messaging, coordination of national and state communication efforts and deep understanding of stakeholder and opposing strategies.

Combining Short and Long Term Strategies

We work closely with clients to develop both long-term proactive and short-term defensive positioning approaches. Our knowledge of the issue and its many players allows us to anticipate opposing strategies and move quickly with solutions. Our work has included targeted state efforts related to impending legislation or gubernatorial decisions, as well as over-arching national initiatives. This work has included local and national media including organizing editorial board meetings, writing op/ed pieces, and initiating coverage across channels. We’ve developed signature thought leadership and custom research as well as prepared spokespersons and made board presentations. We’ve also helped association leadership identify and build allies in support of their positions and created tools to align strategy across national, state and local chapters.

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