UPDATE: California Independent NPs Bill Advances to the Senate

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Wednesday, February 5, 2020

A bill introduced last year in California has passed a major hurdle on its way to becoming law. Assembly Bill 890 (AB 890) is sponsored by Assembly Member Jim Wood and can be reviewed in full here; we previously covered the bill when it was introduced here. At the end of January 2020, AB 890 was approved by the Assembly and has now moved to the Senate. It has had its first reading and awaits assignment to a committee for further consideration.
Bills seldom make it through the legislative process unchanged, and that is the case with AB 890. Originally, the bill would have allowed nurse practitioners (NPs) to practice without the need for physician supervision. Under its current language, however, supervision would still be required, but the NP could practice without standardized procedures and without the routine presence of a physician.
Currently, NPs in California require standardized procedures with a supervising physician to practice. In its current form, AB 890 would allow NPs who have completed a transition-to-practice period under physician supervision of three full-time equivalent years—or 4,600 hours—to practice without the need for standardized procedures. However, the NP would be limited to a certain set of practice settings, all of which must have one or more physicians or surgeons practicing as well.
The national trend has been moving towards allowing NPs to practice as independent health care providers, independent of the supervision of physicians. In that regard, AB 890 in line with that trend; however, in its current form, it stops short of providing true practice independence. Instead, the bill would reduce the oversight and documentation burden that NPs and supervising physicians currently have, though NPs would still need to work in clinics and facilities alongside physicians instead of being able to independently operate.
We will be monitoring AB 890 as it works its way through California’s legislative process this year. Now that it has passed the Assembly, all that remains is for the Senate to pass it before it heads to the governor’s desk for his signature. If you would like to contact AB 890’s prime sponsor Jim Wood, he can be reached via his website.