California Lawmakers Address State Physician Shortage

State senators in California have introduced bills that would increase the scope of care for nurse practitioners, optometrists, pharmacists and physician assistants, according to a KGO-TV/Associated Press report.

Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) introduced three bills that would expand the scope of care for NPs, optometrists and pharmacists, respectively. According to the report, one bill would allow NPs to see Medicaid and Medicare patients even if the physicians they work with do not. Additionally, under separate bills, optometrists would be able to check blood pressure, and pharmacists could help diagnose diabetes by ordering lab tests.

State Sen. Fan Pavely (D-Agoura Hills) introduced a bill that would expand services for physician assistants.

According to the report, the California Medical Association is against the bills. The organization has said the legislation will "create two classes of care," the report says.

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