I picked the “scope of services” as my discussion topic today because I am frequently surprised that the really smart doctors who I interview during CARF surveys are perplexed by questions regarding their scope of services.  I have found that with simple conversation about what these doctors do and…..maybe….a few leading questions, the doctors usually discover that in fact they do know their scope of services.

Why is scope of services such an alien concept to doctors?  I don’t know for sure but I think it is most often that the doctors are not familiar with the concept of “scope of services” rather than they do NOT KNOW what services are provided and not provided by their program/organization.

Below I have provided a basic description of scope of services.  Share this with your doctors and then get your doctors involved in defining the “scope of services” for their programs/organization.


The scope provides information that helps describe what services the program/organization has to offer. The scope distinguishes the program/organization so that persons served, families, or referral sources can determine whether the services offered would meet their needs, in what setting the services are offered, the hours and days the services are provided, and fees involved.

Why should the doctors be involved in defining the scope of services?

  • Doctors provide the medical care for the scope of services offered by your program/organization. Their knowledge and skills play an important role in defining the scope of services.
  • Doctors working in physical medicine and rehabilitation depend on a team to provide comprehensive services.  They must know what is and is not available for their patients.

Once you and your doctors have defined the scope of services offered, then it is important that you share this information with interested parties. Interested parties include persons served, families/support systems, referral sources, payers and funding sources, and the general public.

Now that the doctors are clear about the scope of services, get them involved in sharing this information with those folks critical to your program’s well-being and growth. Doctors can be a powerful force in getting the word out!

If you need help in engaging your doctors with defining the scope of services, contact Donna Jo Blake, MD, BRB Consulting, Inc. for physician-to-physician guidance and training.