AARP Bulletin Highlights Efforts in California to Remove Barriers to Nursing Practice and Care
A new article in the AARP Bulletin, “Nurses Seeking Larger Role in Primary Care,” highlights efforts in California to remove barriers to nursing practice and care. While nurse practitioners have advanced education and training to provide many aspects of primary care, “California and most other states limit their availability by permitting these nurses to practice only with the oversight of a doctor,” the article states. This translates into extra layers of paperwork, supervision, and sign-offs. For some patients, this means they have to travel further to get care or they experience a delay in obtaining care.
California lawmakers have grappled with this issue, but have not yet been successful in loosening these restrictions, despite the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine for states to do just that. This issue is made all the more pressing because of the estimated 5.3 million Californians who are now eligible to become insured as a result of the Affordable Care Act, which strains “an already burdened primary care network.”
“We should make sure that the nurse practitioners can use every ounce of their talent for what is needed,” said Susan Reinhard, senior vice president and director of the AARP Public Policy Institute and chief strategist at the Center to Champion Nursing in America. “Consumers should have a choice of different clinicians who will suit their preferences and their needs.”