SACRAMENTO–Today the Assembly Appropriations Committee reported that AB 890 by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa), which would provide full practice authority to nurse practitioners, will become a two-year bill, postponing any further action this first year of the two-year legislative session.
“I’m extremely disappointed that my highest priority health care bill didn’t make it out of the Appropriations Committee today,” said Wood, who chairs the Assembly Health Committee. “After all, with other legislation, we’re expanding coverage to more people, and that’s absolutely what we should be doing, but at the same time we’re not expanding the number of health care professionals to provide the care.
The California Medical Association’s alternative to deal with the shortage is to simply fund additional residency and loan repayment programs. Although I have been supportive of those efforts as part of an overall solution, there will never be enough to meet the need due to the high cost and limited number of residency slots and it is an extremely weak argument against this bill. Since the last legislative attempt to expand the role of nurse practitioners four years ago, and after adding residencies as the physician community proposed, we have an even worse shortage of physicians today – 4,700 fewer in the state.
All the objective studies support the safety and quality of care that nurse practitioners provide yet all the physician community has provided in response are undocumented anecdotal stories. When more than 50 organizations support AB 890 and a handful of physician groups oppose it, we can only surmise that they are simply protecting their turf and have no interest in helping expand health care to those who need it.”
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