Attention: LawAtlas has moved. This archived version of LawAtlas contains some datasets pending migration. Visit us at our new location, .


In every state physicians can broadly practice medicine under the law. This can include diagnosing, treating, correcting, advising or prescribing medication. In many states, physicians can also delegate their activities to nurses, physician assistants or other medical professionals to deliver care more efficiently and effectively.

In some states, all of these medical professionals may practice independently, while in others, they must be supervised, or they must enter into some type of agreement granting permission to practice under a physician. Within these agreements, physicians may delegate some or all of their scope of practice to these other medical professionals.

This dataset identifies variation in state laws that explicitly define medical activities included in a physician’s scope of practice, and addresses a physician's ability to delegate those medical activities to nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and physician assistants. It also explores the liability for medical errors in every state.

This page has been updated through April 30, 2015. To explore variation in these laws click the “Start Here” button below.

Related Resources

American Association of Nurse Practitioners: State Practice Environment

Barton Associates: Physician Assistant Scope of Practice Law Guide


phlr fb small

Did you know?

In 17 states, physicians may delegate performing medical diagnoses to physician assistants.

Read more
Map Legend: State Included in research.