California has a shortage of physicians, especially in rural areas. It’s a problem which could worsen under federal health care reform. To help address the shortfall, the state Legislature is considering expanding the services that can be provided by nurse practitioners, pharmacists and optometrists. But the proposals face opposition by physicians, who warn that it could hurt the quality of care and would not result in increased services for poor communities.
Paul Phinney, Sacramento-based pediatrician and president of the California Medical Association
Ed Hernandez, state senator (D, West Covina) and author of legislation that would expand the scope of practice for certain health practitioners
Debra Bakerjian, senior director of nurse practitioner / physicians assistant clinical education and practice and assistant adjunct professor at the UC Davis Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing