After an initial vote held SB 491 (Hernandez) in the Assembly Business, Professions & Consumer Protection Committee last week, a reconsideration vote was granted and today the bill moved out of committee. SB 492 (Hernandez) a related bill dealing with expanded scope of practice for optometrists, was held in committee.
On behalf of the California Medical Association (CMA) and the Coalition for Patient Access and Quality Care, CMA President Paul Phinney, MD, issued the following statement:
“While SB 492 was held in committee, patients should be deeply concerned that SB 491 was able to move forward today.
“If SB 491 becomes law, nurse practitioners will be allowed to practice without any supervision by a physician, despite the enormous differences in education and training between the two.
"SB 491 allows nurse practitioners to diagnose and treat patients beyond their capabilities and without any additional training, jeopardizing patient safety.
"It is also important to note that this bill will not expand access to care, despite claims of the proponents. SB 491 will only further fragment the health care delivery system and increase costs for all patients, at a time when more highly integrated delivery models are vital.
“SB 491 would also give nurse practitioners the authority to prescribe opioid drugs, like oxycodone, without supervision. The Board of Registered Nursing in California simply does not have the oversight capabilities to oversee something like that, and with overdose deaths on the rise, we can’t take that risk.
“We were able to find a compromise on the pharmacy bill (SB 493) that ensures increased training and physician oversight and we are committed to further discussions on SB 492. We hope that additional conversations about the dangers of SB 491 will bring significant amendments will stop the bill from moving forward."