FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2013
CONTACT: Mark Beach, (916) 556-3015, mbeach@aarp.org

STATEMENT OF AARP CALIFORNIA STATE DIRECTOR KATIE HIRNING RE: SB 491

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Recent amendments to SB 491 (Hernandez) have forced AARP to OPPOSE the bill. AARP originally supported SB 491 because it would have helped to ensure Californians access to health care by allowing nurse practitioners to practice to the full extent of their education and training, and to independently provide primary health care services.

Unfortunately, recent amendments to SB 491 in the California Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee have changed its structure to such an extent that AARP must now oppose the bill.

As amended, SB 491 will actually hurt consumers by restricting access to primary care and increasing costs in our health care system. One amendment that states that nurse practitioners could not supplant physicians, and to do so would result in a crime. Another would strip out the “second pathway” to independence, prohibiting nurse practitioners from establishing a private practice. These changes are unacceptable.

When we communicated our original support for SB 491, we did so because allowing nurse practitioners to practice independently expands access for consumers and lowers the cost of health care. However, we believe that these amendments will actually undermine the intent of the law, and so AARP is left with no choice but to oppose the bill as amended.

AARP remains strongly in support of changing California law to allow nurse practitioners to serve patients independently, and we will continue to work with the legislature toward this goal. We are grateful to Senator Hernandez for his leadership and courage in bringing this issue into the public eye.

I would like to personally thank each and every AARP member who has called or emailed an elected representative on this issue. You are the lifeblood of AARP and the source of our influence at the Capitol. I am confident that your continued support will eventually make the difference in this fight.

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AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world’s largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a bilingual news source.  AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates.  The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.​

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