California’s health provider gap is reducing access to care for millions and threatening California’s short-term COVID-relief plans and long-term health care goals regarding health care coverage for underserved populations and Medi-Cal expansion. AB 890 will help close this gap by removing restrictions in current law that prevent nurse practitioners (NPs) from practicing without a physician present or on-call.
These shortages are impacting Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans the most, in some of our fastest growing regions such as Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, San Joaquin Valley, and in most rural areas.
AB 890 would remove the supervisory requirement in existing law enabling NPs to provide the same high-quality care they do today and to care more directly for patients. It does not expand their scope of practice.
Experts recognize that NPs provide high-quality care and are more likely to practice primary care than physicians, particularly in rural and underserved areas. NPs are also more likely to see and take on new Medi-Cal and uninsured patients, which is critical to California’s pandemic-response goals and long-term goals to expand coverage to underserved populations and to expand Medi-Cal coverage.
There are simply not enough primary care physicians completing residency programs to replace retiring physicians. Because NPs cannot practice without physician oversight, fewer physicians leaves fewer NPs to treat patients.