Nurse practitioner scope-of-practice bill fails in committee

August 06, 2013
Area(s) of Interest: Scope of Practice 

A bill that would give California's nurse practitioners more autonomy failed on a vote of 6-3 Tuesday in an Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee. The bill (SB 491) would allow nurse practitioners to open practices without any oversight from a trained medical doctor and prescribe dangerous, addictive drugs without supervision. Although the bill failed to pass committee today, it was granted reconsideration and will be voted on again next week.

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.

“The 37,000 members of the California Medical Association (CMA) and the dozens of groups aligned in the Coalition for Patient Access and Quality Care applaud the members of the Assembly Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection for their work today,” said CMA President Paul R. Phinney, M.D. “Senate Bill 491 would have allowed nurse practitioners to practice medicine far beyond their training, putting patients in harm’s way.

“Despite what some proponents of the bill may have said, SB 491 would not have expanded access to care; it simply would have further fragmented the health care delivery system and increased costs for patients across the state," said Dr. Phinney.

SB 491 is one of three bills by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) that would increase the scope of practice of allied health professionals.

The coalition opposing the bill includes the California Medical Association; Union of Physicians and Dentists, AFSCME 206; California Academy of Family Physicians; Diabetes Coalition of California; California Society of Anesthesiologists; Blind Children’s Center; California Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons; American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery; Latino Physicians of California; Chinese Medical Dental Association; Let’s Face It Together; Minority Health Institute, Inc.; Dream Machine Foundation; Canvasback Missions, Inc; Lighthouse Mission; Time for Change Foundation; Here 4 Them; and Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of California; among others.

Contact: Juan Thomas, (916) 551-2546 or jthomas@cmadocs.org.


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