CALIFORNIA Bill Improves Path to Independence for Nurse Practitioners

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Monday, February 28, 2022

Bill Name: Senate Bill 1375 (SB 1375) 

Primary Sponsor: Senators Toni Atkins and Jim Wood

Status: 9/2/2022 Enrolled- to be signed by Gov

AmSpa’s Take: When California passed its latest nurse practitioner (NP) independent practice law, there were mixed feelings. While it was a positive step in modernizing NP practice, the bill was complicated and restrictive when compared to those introduced in many other states. This new bill would go a long way toward resolving many of these unnecessary complications.

Outlook: This bill is in the first steps of the process and, based on the sponsors’ past records and party affiliation, it is much more likely to pass. Also, the chair of the Committee on Rules is one of the sponsors, so this may indicate strong support through the initial phases of the process.

Analysis: Thanks to a 2019 law, nurse practitioners (NPs) have a pathway to independent practice that opens in 2023; it involves completing a transition to practice program and practicing for an additional three years. (The additional three years of practice may be waived for doctors of nursing practice by board rule.) Currently, NPs must practice either under standardized procedures overseen by a physician or in a practice location that has physicians practicing on site. In 2023, NPs will be able to practice without standardized procedures and without physician presence once they have completed a three-year (4,600-hour) transition to practice mentorship. Presently, the requirements of this transition-to-practice program are to be defined by the nursing board. Experience and practice time completed before 2021 can only count toward this requirement if it meets the board’s rules. Obviously, this could result in situations where a seasoned NP is essentially starting at square one if their practice didn’t meet the rules.

SB 1375 resolves this potential issue by providing that the transition to practice period is three years or 4,600 hours and prior practice as an NP counts towards this requirement. This greatly simplifies the implementation of independent practice and resolves many of the “unknowns” prior to 2023. While it won’t necessarily speed up all NPs’ ability to become independent, it will allow many current NPs to qualify for independence starting in 2023.  

While this is a relatively minor change to NP practice, it could solve many impending headaches in actually implementing the rules. The majority of states have already provided NPs with the ability to practice independently, with California being one of the more recent adopters. Anything to streamline and simplify the process can be quite helpful.

If you would like additional information, to read the bill, or to contact the sponsors, you can find this information through this link