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Could nurse practitioner autonomy help curb California’s doctor shortage?




Stuart Goldstein receives an influenza vaccination from nurse practitioner, Katherine Male, at the CVS Pharmacy store's MinuteClinic on October 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida.
Stuart Goldstein receives an influenza vaccination from nurse practitioner, Katherine Male, at the CVS Pharmacy store's MinuteClinic on October 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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The California Future Health Workforce Commission released a report on Monday with several recommendations to address a looming doctor shortage in the state.

The most controversial proposal was a call to let nurse practitioners practice without the supervision of a doctor. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, California is one of 28 states that does not let nurse practitioners see patients autonomously. The proposal, which will be pitched to Gov. Gavin Newsom in the coming weeks, has been met with opposition from the California Medical Association, which was against a similar bill in 2015.

CMA argues that the proposal would hurt quality of care for patients, while nurse practitioner advocacy groups see the plan as a way to give more access to health care. The state is coming up on what could be seen as a serious lack of health care professionals, with Newsom’s plans to expand Medi-Cal and many doctors reaching retirement age soon. So would nurse practitioners working on their own be part of the answer to more care for those who most need it?

Guests:

Joyce Knestrick, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners

Janus Norman, senior vice president of governmental relations for the California Medical Association