In 2019, the California Future Health Workforce Commission released a plan to address the state’s shortages of primary care and behavioral health providers. One of the Commission’s top recommendations was to maximize the role of nurse practitioners (NPs) and to expand their practice authority. In doing so, they noted that California is 1 of 28 states — and the only western state — that restricts NPs by requiring them to work with physician oversight.
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California views itself as a pioneer of progressive health care policies and for good reason, but the state is noticeably behind in one key area: the empowerment of nurse practitioners, or NPs.
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A study published in the medical journal JAMA found that when states allow nurse practitioners to practice independently, people have better access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction.