October 05, 2020

California’s Governor Newsom Signs AB 890 Into Law

Governor Newsom’s legislative issues update from Sept. 29 noted that the AB 890 was among the bills signed by the Governor ahead of the Sept. 30 action deadline.

AB 890 was first introduced in early 2019 to create a new process for recognition of Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioners (NPs). After passing the Business and Professions Committee in 2019, the bill was initially held in Assembly Appropriations Committee due to cost concerns and was not released for consideration until Jan. 2020, at which time the measure passed the Assembly by a nearly unanimous vote of 60-1 and moved on for the consideration proceedings in the Senate.

Since the initial bill’s filing in 2019, the California Radiological Society (CRS) voiced concerns over a radiology-specific provision that would have allowed NPs to order, perform and interpret diagnostic procedures. In the months that followed, the leadership of the chapter invested a significant amount of time and effort to educate the author, sponsors and the Committee staff about the quality and safety concerns that a blanket expansion of scope would have created.

In the interests of patients and the specialty of radiology, the CRS initiated numerous conversations with the author and sponsor to educate the stakeholders and to seek an amended provision. Ultimately, the provision was amended before the bill was voted on by the California Senate and forwarded to the Governor’s office in Aug. 2020. As amended and signed into law, the interpretation language provision has been stricken out and replaced with a provision that states that, for radiologic procedures, a nurse practitioner can order diagnostic procedures and utilize the findings or results in treating the patient. The new law has a delayed implementation deadline of Jan. 1, 2023. Leaders of the CRS and the ACR have been closely tracking the development of this issue. The final product, although not ideal, represents a compromise necessitated by local political environment and the need to protect access to quality imaging for patients in California. The CRS and the stakeholders are anticipating an active rule-making session for the new law in 2021.