Editor, Ceres Courier,
I am writing to express my support of Assembly Bill 890, which would allow full practice authority to California’s Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (APRN). As a Registered Nurse who has worked in Emergency Services for the past seven years, I have seen firsthand how the lack of healthcare providers directly impacts the health of patients who live in rural communities throughout the Central Valley. Patients often seek medical treatment in the ER for their primary health care needs, as the physician shortage makes it difficult to be seen in a timely manner. This has resulted in increased wait times for all, putting the most vulnerable of patients at risk for delayed treatment of emergency situations.
A report released by the California Future Healthcare Workforce Commission states that 7 million Californians currently live in areas experiencing a shortage of primary care physicians. The state is expected to face increased workforce shortage over the next decade, requiring over 4000 more physicians. Governor Gavin Newsom also wants to expand healthcare access for lower income and immigrant communities. His proposal would extend Medi-Cal coverage to young adults who are in the US illegally and provide additional subsidies for middle-class families struggling to afford health insurance. Obviously, this will further increase the need for quality health care providers, already in short supply throughout the Central Valley.
The commission report urges lawmakers to grant full practice authority to Advanced Registered Nurse Practioners. California is one of only 12 states that restricts the practice of ARNPs, requiring career-long collaboration with a physician in order to provide patient care. This restriction inhibits NPs ability to practice to the full scope of their education and skill. Nurse Practioners are highly educated, and the combination of their experience, knowledge and genuine care for patients allows them to provide comprehensive health care to those in greatest need who live in limited access rural communities in the Central Valley.
California faces a crisis with the shortage of medical providers, and it is expected to worsen in the coming decade. Allowing APRNs to practice within their full scope can help bridge this gap.
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