SACRAMENTO–AB 890 by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) would provide full practice authority to nurse practitioners and is headed to the Senate in the final month of this legislative session.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed what we have known for some time – there is a serious shortage and continuing decline of primary care physicians in the state,” said Wood. “Yes, we can increase funding for medical residencies and loan repayment programs, which I have always supported, but the reality is it will never be enough to meet the current and future need in California.”
Independent analyses of peer-reviewed research, as reflected in “Quality of Primary Care by Advanced Practice Nurses: A Systematic Review,” have concluded that nurse practitioners provide care of comparable quality as physicians, even when they practice without physician oversight.
“As we commit to expanding health care coverage to more people – and that’s absolutely what we should be doing – we must recognize that nurse practitioners who receive additional appropriate education and experience can provide the quality care that Californians deserve,” said Wood.
More than two dozen states, the District of Columbia and the Veterans Administration allow nurse practitioners to practice independently. In February 2019, the California Future Health Workforce Commission released its final report with a plan to address the state’s shortages of primary care and behavioral health providers. One of the Commission’s top 10 recommendations was to maximize the role of nurse practitioners and to expand their practice authority.
“California has always been a policy leader, and the fact that we are lagging behind a majority of states is truly a detriment to our fellow Californians,” said Wood. “The provision of health care needs to evolve to meet our needs and hope we have the opportunity to present our arguments. We have more than two dozen health care organizations supporting this legislation, the extensive experience of nurse practitioners’ independent care in half of the nation and data to back up the quality of care they provide. The only opposition – physicians – just refuse to acknowledge it.”