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Politics

California Assembly Rejects Bill Giving Nurse Practitioners More Independence

The state capitol building in Sacramento is shown on September 13, 2008.
flick\Dave Parker
The state capitol building in Sacramento is shown on September 13, 2008.

California Assembly Rejects Bill Giving Nurse Practitioners More Independence
A bill that would have allowed nurse practitioners to work without a doctor’s supervision has died in the California legislature.

There aren't enough primary care providers in California to meet the demand of all of the newly insured patients under the Affordable Care Act.

Nonetheless, a state assembly committee has rejected Senate Bill 323 that was designed to help fill the gap. The measure would have allowed nurse practitioners to work without a doctor's supervision.

The California Medical Association argued that would have put patients at risk. The group said nurse practitioners need supervision.

Donna Emanuele, president of the California Nurse Practitioners Association, disagreed.

"We still, like our physician colleagues, consult, we refer, we have the ability to effectively diagnose and assess," Emanuele said.

Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who’ve had advanced training and have earned masters or doctorate degrees. There are an estimated 17,000 NPs in California.

Twenty-one other states allow nurse practitioners to work independently.