September 01, 2020
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Scope of Practice
A dangerous bill that would undermine physician-led care and could create a lower tier of care for low-income patients in particular, is making its way to the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom. This bill – AB 890 by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) – was passed by the Legislature on the final night of this year’s legislative session and will await action from the governor this month.
The California Medical Association (CMA) is strongly opposed to AB 890, which would give nurse practitioners (NPs) the ability to practice independently without standard safeguards in place.
In states that have given NPs more autonomy, there is evidence that health care costs have increased. In particular, the usage of tests and diagnostics that are deemed unnecessary or not applicable by most physicians goes up when patients see unsupervised nurse practitioners. While the bill does include some additional training requirements for independent nurse practitioners, it is nowhere near the expertise gained from medical school and the three years of residency required of all physicians. Evidence also shows that expanding nurse practitioner independence has done little to nothing to expand access to care in underserved communities, though expanding access was a key selling point made by proponents of AB 890.
CMA will continue to fight against AB 890 and is urging Gov. Newsom to veto the legislation. If the measure is signed into law, the expectation is that this will set up years of regulatory and potentially legal battles over how the bill is implemented, how the new categories of practitioners created by the bill are defined and what the role and requirements are for continued physician consultation and referral
Should AB 890 be signed, it cannot be implemented until it has completed a regulatory process. The regulatory process is a different venue through which several of the concerns raised in the Legislature must be addressed. It provides the opportunity to mitigate the foreseeable harm to patients due to this flawed measure. CMA will remain engaged through every step of the process to ensure that this bill does not harm patients by creating an unfair, dangerous, two-tiered health care system.
CMA is urging all physicians to contact Gov. Newsom and tell him to veto this dangerous bill and ensure patient safety is protected.
Take action today at actnow.io/Q1sWR1g.