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California physicians respond to senate committee vote on "scope of practice" legislation

April 29, 2013
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Scope of Practice 

SACRAMENTO – Paul R. Phinney, M.D., President of the California Medical Association (CMA), released the following statement in response to SB 491, 492, and 493 moving out of the Senate Committee on Business, Professions, and Economic Development:


"After hearing from hundreds of consumers, physicians and nurses, we are pleased that the committee today understood that the three bills as originally drafted by Senator Hernandez would have severely weakened the quality of care for patients. While the bills are now significantly amended, there are still very problematic issues that must be addressed, and CMA stands ready to be part of that discussion.


We certainly face an access issue, as millions of new patients will become insured as the Affordable Care Act is implemented, but we should not roll back protections for patients, especially when doing so would not address the physician shortage in any way. SB 491, 492 and 493 as amended, still raise serious issues involving safety and quality of care, licensure, corporate medicine, and privacy.


It is imperative that any modifications to scope of practice for allied health professionals preserve a physician lead, team approach to medical care. Absent that team approach, patients will be at serious risk. We are looking forward to collaborating on how best to ensure health care providers are working to the top of their practice while keeping patients safe.


As we have seen in other states, expanding scope of practice has no correlation with increased access, particularly in underserved regions. In California, where we already have integrated medical teams in many areas, removing nurse practitioners to set up shop elsewhere will only create a new access problem where one does not currently exist.


We look forward to continuing this discussion, as well as moving a package of CMA sponsored legislation, including AB 1176, to increase residency slots, which will make a true difference in addressing the access shortage. We hope the proponents of Senator Hernandez’s bills will work with us to tackle these issues while doing no harm to California patients."

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