SEIU California Supports Nurse Practitioner Effort to Improve Health Care Access

SB 323 (Hernandez) Expands Opportunities for Californians to Be Healthy

Sacramento, CA – The Service Employees’ International Union (SEIU) California today announced that the 700,000-member union will support SB 323 (Hernandez), legislation that will enable Nurse Practitioners to utilize their extensive training and education to meet California’s growing need for health care services.

“SB 323 is an important step to maintain California’s leadership in expanding health care access for underserved communities,” said Bob Schoonover, President of SEIU Local 721, which represents hundreds of nurse practitioners in Southern California. “California has led the nation in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The good news about that is that we have brought millions more Californians into coverage, but at the same time, we need to address this state’s severe health care provider shortage through practical steps like SB 323, which will enable nurse practitioners to work according to their education and training to deliver high quality, affordable health care to Californians.”

SB 323 would permit Nurse Practitioners (NPs) to use their full range of education, experience and expertise to meet Californian’s health care needs by removing an outdated physician supervision requirement. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia already allow NPs who hold national certification and practice in specific settings to work without physician supervision. The bill would require NPs practicing without physician supervision to hold liability insurance and to meet a variety of other certification requirements.

Approximately 5 million Californians have enrolled in either private insurance or Medi-Cal since implementation of the Affordable Care Act, significantly increasing the demand for access to primary care services. This bill would help meet that demand and would utilize the experience and training of NPs to help meet this growing need.

Today’s announcement comes as 120 nurses represented by SEIU California meet to discuss emerging health care challenges and opportunities to improve health care delivery in California.

“Nurse Practitioners are a crucial piece of our healthcare infrastructure, providing life-changing preventative and primary care. Empowering us to meet our patients’ needs is an important way to keep Californians from needing costly health care services down the road,” said Ileana Meza, a Los Angeles area nurse practitioner.  “Well documented studies conducted over the past 30 years have revealed that nurse practitioners provide safe, cost-effective, high quality care that is comparable to care provided by physicians. Our ability to listen to patients and develop preventive health care plans means better quality, lower cost, and more accessible health care for California. Passage of SB 323 is critical in addressing the expanded need for healthcare and ensuring timely healthcare services for all Californians.” 

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