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Consumer Confidential: California faces a doctor shortage. But doctors just derailed a plan to fix it

David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

By 2028, it said, greater use of nurse practitioners would result in more than $500 million in savings through reduced hospital visits.

However, the California Medical Assn. says the bill "would remove critical patient protections" and allow nurse practitioners to practice medicine "without completing the necessary education and training" required for doctors.

The group also says the bill "will not achieve expanded access to care, maintain patient safety or promote affordability of care."

These are bogus claims.

AB 890 would establish an Advanced Practice Registered Nursing Board within the state Department of Consumer Affairs to oversee nurse practitioners. They wouldn't be loose cannons.

Of course, nurse practitioners wouldn't have the same education and training as doctors. If they did, they'd be doctors.

 

Instead, they'd continue receiving the postgraduate education, training and certification necessary to be nurse practitioners.

It goes without saying that an increase in the number of nurse practitioners would expand access to care and promote affordability of care. How could it not?

Is the medical association's real issue here that the current system requires some nurse practitioners to pay physicians to serve as their supervisors, and that AB 890 thus represents a potential loss of revenue?

Are doctors worried that nurse practitioners, who are paid less for their skills than doctors, will prompt some people to wonder if they're being overcharged by physicians for routine exams?

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