California nurse practitioners scored their first victory in the fight to convince state lawmakers to pass a bill granting them full authority to practice their education and training to provide medical care for patients.
On Tuesday, AB 890 cleared its first obstacle after the Assembly Business and Professions Committee approved it with 16-0 votes. The legislation will be heading to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Nurse practitioners will help meet the health care needs of Californians
Under the legislation, nurse practitioners will be able to perform certain functions without supervision by a physician or surgeon. Such functions include ordering and interpreting diagnostic procedures, certifying disability, and prescribing, administering, dispensing, and administering controlled substances.
Assembly member Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) introduced AB 890 in February. His intention is to meet the health care needs of Californians across the state by maximizing the education and training of health care providers.
Wood believes that it’s time for California to recognize the value nurse practitioners can bring to patients and to state’s health care system. He noted that 22 states already granted full practice authority to nurse practitioners.
“The full practice authority of NPs will result in primary care that is comparable to that of a physician, without question. This has been shown through research and is already happening in 22 other states. I won’t ignore those facts,” said Wood in a statement when he introduced the bill.
CMA remains concern about AB 890
Wood rejected a similar bill, SB 323 in 2015 because he had concerns regarding oversight of nurse practitioners. He changed his position on the matter because of the increasing need for primary care providers especially in rural and inner-city areas.
He addressed his and the California Medical Association’s (CMA) concerns by adding provisions under AB 890 to create a new licensing board to supervise nurse practitioners and to require a minimum level of experience before obtaining full authority to practice.
On Tuesday, Wood said, “A lot of people are lacking care. As we expand more and more to offering care to everyone, to not have providers is an empty promise and we can’t do that in California,” as quoted by the Los Angeles Times.
On the other hand, Megan Allred, a lobbyist for the CMA commented that “there are significant areas in which we differ from the author and supporters of the bill.” She added that their negotiation with Wood ongoing.
The CMA remains concerns about nurse practitioners’ lack of extensive education or clinical training to practice with supervision by a physician. The group argued that there are many ways to effectively address the shortage of medical providers. One of them is expanding residency programs from doctors.