Wins in the House will allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to practice according to their education

Friday, the Florida House moved a trio of bills expanding the scopes of service for advanced practice registered nurses, physician assistants, and pharmacists.  House Speaker Jose Oliva described these bills as priority legislation.  Historic City News previously reported as this legislation advanced.

Oliva noted that he and Rep. Cary Pigman had worked for many years to accomplish this process.  Pigman said Oliva had “moved mountains” and that he was “proud to be a soldier,” according to a report filed by Florida Politics.

HB 7053, passed 96-10, expanding the scope of practice for “advanced practice” registered nurses and physician assistants, allowing them to practice without physician supervision. The bill would “allow” an APRN to “practice autonomously,” if that person has at least 2,000 hours of supervised practice, a graduate course in pharmacology, and no adverse incidents.

Pigman framed the bill as a “gender equity” measure that allows “predominately female” APRNs to practice according to their education.  In his close, Pigman framed the bill as a way to counter “sexual discrimination” in the medical industry.

APRNs would be required to establish and maintain acceptable medical malpractice insurance coverage with the minimum limit of claims set at $300,000 aggregate in any year.  They would also be subject to the same reporting requirements as doctors.

HB 607, which would allow APRNs to admit to, handle care in, or discharge patients from medical facilities, also passed the House Friday on a 94-12 vote. Under language added Thursday, APRNs would be eligible for Medicaid reimbursement. 

Ahead of the vote, Rep. Margaret Good issued a caution, saying having a “doctor in the loop” is a “safety net” for our patients.  She also questioned the argument that APRNs would fill coverage gaps in rural areas.

Rep. Tyler Sirois’ bill (HB 389) advanced on a vote of 88-18. allowing pharmacists to “test and treat” for flu, strep, lice, skin conditions like ringworm and minor, non-chronic conditions.

St. Augustine Republican Senator Travis Hutson’s version (SB 714) of Sirois’ bill puts the primary rule-making of “test and treat” in the Board of Pharmacy’s hands instead of the Board of Medicine’s. Additionally, pharmacists could prescribe medication for substance abuse and addiction.

These bills have each had powerful allies outside the Capitol, with support from the Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners, the Florida Academy of Physicians’ Assistants, the Hospital and Nurses Associations, Americans for Prosperity, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

This information appeared in a Florida Politics article by A.G. Gancarski with contributions by Renzo Downey. Used with permission, Peter Schorsch, Publisher.  Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. All content is owned by Extensive Enterprises Media. All Rights Reserved.