A dangerous bill that would give California's nurse practitioners more autonomy is now in the Assembly Appropriations Committee where it has been placed on the suspense file. The committee will take up the suspense calendar items next Friday, August 30.
While the bill was slightly amended to limit some pathways for independent practice, it still allows nurse practitioners to treat patients outside of their training and experience. The amended bill would allow nurse practitioners to practice without physician oversight if they have practiced under physician supervision for TWO years in one of several designated settings. The designated settings authorized in the bill include not only clinically integrated settings, such as clinics and other health facilities, but also some settings that are integrated more around payment than around clinical care, such as ACOs.
While an important part of the health care delivery system, nurse practitioners simply do not have adequate training or years of education to be qualified to practice medicine without physician oversight. This bill would remove necessary physician supervision, ultimately harming patients and decreasing quality of care.
"If SB 491 becomes law, nurse practitioners will be allowed to practice without any supervision by a physician, despite the enormous differences in education and training between the two," said California Medical Association (CMA) President Paul R. Phinney, M.D. "It is also important to note that this bill will not expand access to care, despite claims of the proponents. SB 491 will only further fragment the health care delivery system and increase costs for all patients, at a time when more highly integrated delivery models are vital."
CMA is urging physicians to contact their assemblymembers and urge them to oppose this dangerous bill. For more information, including legislator contact information, talking points and a sample letter, see CMA's grassroots action center.
CMA strongly believes that simply expanding the scope of practice of allied health practitioners to give them independent and/or expanded practice will do nothing to improve access to care or quality of care in our state. Allowing practitioners to perform procedures they simply aren’t trained to do can only lead to unpredictable outcomes, higher costs and greater fragmentation of care.
Contact: Juan Thomas, (916) 551-2546 or firstname.lastname@example.org.