California Senate Bill Would Give Nurse Practitioners More Freedom

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Last week, the California State Senate voted 25-5 with nine members abstaining to allow nurse practitioners to do what they are trained to do without physician supervision according to Kathy Robertson of the Sacramento Business Journal.  

“Senate Bill 323 is not an effort to remove doctors from the exam room,” Donna Emanuele, a nurse practitioner and president of the California Association for Nurse Practitioners, said in a statement. Bills like this are gaining traction around the country because of the serious "doc shortage" especially in the primary care specialty. There are 18,000 registered nurse practitioners in the state of California.

This particular bill would allow nurse practitioners to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medications to patients without physician supervision if the nurse practitioner is certified to do so.  Emanuele also stated “this new law would give California’s nurse practitioners the ability to practice to the fullest extent of their education and training, while encouraging an inter-professional and collaborative practice.” 

The California Association of Physician Groups which represents over 75% of all practicing physicians in the state supports Senate Bill 323.  The California Medical Association and California Academy of Family Physicians lead a coalition who oppose the bill. 

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