By California Healthline On Tuesday, California doctors announced a package of five bills that aim to address the state's physician shortage, the Sacramento Business Journal report. The bills were unveiled at the California Medical Association's annual legislative conference (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 4/16).
California doesn't have enough primary care physicians. Forty-two of its 58 counties fall short of the federal government's most basic standard. The state needs another 2,000 doctors, and the situation will get dramatically worse next year -- even in Silicon Valley -- when between 2-4 million Californians obtain health insurance under Obamacare and go looking for a doctor.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—A Democratic lawmaker introduced a package of bills Wednesday to address an expected doctor shortage as California prepares to insure millions of new patients under federal health care reforms. Sen. Ed Hernandez of West Covina said his bills would expand services that can be provided by nurse practitioners, optometrists and pharmacists in order to help alleviate a shortage of primary care physicians, particularly in rural areas and inner cities. The bills are SB491, SB492 and SB493.
There's wide agreement that the bottleneck in California health care -- too many patients and too few doctors -- could get much worse with the implementation of federal changes. But expect some Capitol clashes this spring on one idea to ease that congestion: allow more patient care to be done by health professionals who aren't physicians. "How is it that we're going to be requiring somebody to purchase health insurance, but yet they won't have access to a doctor?" asks Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina.
by: Laurel Rosenhall, Bee Capitol Bureau Citing a need for more medical professionals able to treat patients who will soon have health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act, state Sen. Ed Hernandez on Wednesday introduced a package of bills to expand the services that optometrists, pharmacists and nurse practitioners can offer patients.
The so-called "scope of practice" bills set the stage for a massive fight with the state's physicians, who will look to protect their role as gatekeepers to medical care.