Health & Human Services

Bill to Expand Nurses' Roles to Ease Doctor Shortage Dies

An effort to ease a shortage of primary-care doctors in some California communities by letting nurse practitioners operate more independently has flat-lined in the Legislature after a fierce lobbying battle. A bill by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) would have allowed nurse practitioners, who have more training than registered nurses, to practice without the direct supervision of a physician. The proposal failed in a committee Friday, under fire from the California Medical Assn., the powerful lobbying arm for the state's physicians. The organization teamed with some specialists and labor unions to mobilize lobbyists, engage doctors across the state and even dedicate Twitter accounts as it waged its campaign against the bill. The group supported a separate measure to permit nurse practitioners and some other non-physicians to perform first-trimester abortions, which lawmakers passed and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown last week. Jockeying over the scope of medical professionals' practice has intensified this year as California prepares for full implementation of the new national healthcare law, which will bring an influx of newly insured patients.
September 3, 2013
 

An effort to ease a shortage of primary-care doctors in some California communities by letting nurse practitioners operate more independently has flat-lined in the Legislature after a fierce lobbying battle.

 
A bill by Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) would have allowed nurse practitioners, who have more training than registered nurses, to practice without the direct supervision of a physician.
 
The proposal failed in a committee Friday, under fire from the California Medical Assn., the powerful lobbying arm for the state's physicians. The organization teamed with some specialists and labor unions to mobilize lobbyists, engage doctors across the state and even dedicate Twitter accounts as it waged its campaign against the bill.
 
The group supported a separate measure to permit nurse practitioners and some other non-physicians to perform first-trimester abortions, which lawmakers passed and sent to Gov. Jerry Brown last week.
 
Jockeying over the scope of medical professionals' practice has intensified this year as California prepares for full implementation of the new national healthcare law, which will bring an influx of newly insured patients.

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