The California Healthline Think Tank
Should California Expand Providers' Scope of Practice?
This month, state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), chair of the Senate Committee on Health, plans to introduce legislation that would expand the scope of practice for mid-level health care providers in California.
Hernandez and many stakeholders say the state does not have enough physicians to meet demands of millions of newly insured Californians when the Affordable Care Act's mandatory coverage provisions kick in next year.
His bill would allow physician assistants to treat more patients with more latitude and to allow nurse practitioners to establish independent practices. His bill also will propose that pharmacists and optometrists be able to serve as primary care providers and diagnose and manage some chronic conditions.
We asked legislators, stakeholders and experts if California should give mid-level providers more autonomy and more authority.