The contributions of nurse practitioners and physician assistants (known collectively as advanced practice providers, or APPs) have come to be invaluable in urgent care practices. With physicians in shorter supply and greater demand, the argument could be made that NPs and PAs are essential in keeping some urgent care operations afloat. The question of how much physician oversight should be required remains a controversial one—though in some states rules are relaxing to the point that some APPs are essentially independent providers. California may be moving in the direction as we speak. As noted in an article published by Becker’s Hospital Review, the state nursing agency there just approved new rules that will allow NPs to treat patients without physician oversight. They will be able to apply for certification starting early in 2023. Not surprisingly, the California Medical Association has objections—mainly based on the fact that NPs’ level of training compared with a physician’s could diminish quality of care or even put patients at risk.
Nurse Practitioners Are Inching Closer to Independence from Physician Oversight