New Bill: AB 890 Proposes Removal of MD Supervision for Nurse Practitioners in CA

Updated: Apr 2, 2019


By: Morgan M. Callahan 03/12/19

It is well-documented that California is facing a shortage of primary care providers.  The Californians most affected by these shortfalls are largely low-income, Latino, African American, and Native American and located in rural areas as well as in California’s largest and fastest-growing regions—the Inland Empire, Los Angeles, and the San Joaquin Valley.  Newly-proposed legislation aims to address this problem by permitting California’s nurse practitioners to practice under certain conditions without physician supervision.

Assembly Bill 890 was introduced by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa), Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, and co-authored by five Assemblymembers and four Senators on both sides of the aisle.  Among the co-authors are Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), member of the Assembly Health Committee; Jeff Stone, (R-Temecula) Vice Chair of the Senate Health Committee; and Connie Leyva (D-Chino), member of the Senate Health Committee. 

The bill, which amends Section 2837.1 of the Business & Professions Code (a section of The Nursing Practice Act), would expand nurse practitioner education and revise scope of practice regulations so that nurse practitioners could practice without physician supervision after a transitional period of collaboration with a physician or experienced nurse practitioner.  Specifically, the bill would authorize a certified nurse practitioner to practice without the supervision of a physician if the nurse practitioner meets specified requirements, including having practiced under the supervision of a physician and surgeon for an unspecified number of hours (to be determined by the Board of Registered Nursing).  The bill also would authorize a nurse practitioner to perform additional specified functions, including ordering and interpreting diagnostic procedures, certifying disability, and prescribing, dispensing, and administering controlled substances.  Because the bill would expand the scope of a crime (a violation of the Nursing Practice Act is a misdemeanor), the bill would impose a state-mandated local program under the Commission on State Mandates to review and assess alleged violations.