Sunday, February 17, 2019

Should Nurse Practitioners be allowed to practice independently in Florida?

Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
 In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
Once again, this Session the Florida Legislature will take a look at the issue of expanding nurse practitioners’ authority in Florida.
For some additional insight check out this article: Florida Politics, from the News Service of Florida, Nurse practitioner debate re-emerges in House
Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners, The Advanced Practice Nurse Solution indicates that over 1 million Floridians lack access to basic health care.
From the FLANP article, “Nurse Practitioners (NP) provide primary and acute health care services by diagnosing illnesses, prescribing medications and treating diseases. They also provide inpatient hospital care, emergency and urgent care, and provide psychiatric care. NPs must earn  Masters and Doctoral degrees and pass national certification examinations to qualify for a license to practice and care for patients in Florida.”
Properly trained and licensed nurse practitioners are required to practice under the supervision of a doctor but are not allowed to practice independently.
It seems that most of the arguments against changes to the laws to allow nurse practitioners to practice independently to the “extent of their training” revolve around the delivery of care and come from doctors.
On the surface, the argument is about patient care, but the real issue is money.
If you go, see a nurse practitioner about your cold and he/she recommends some over the counter remedy you may never go see your Primary care provider. Same is true for flu shots and other basic medical services.
Primary-care physician loses revenue.
The other major pitch from the FLANP is the issue of medical care in rural areas.
They say nurse practitioners in states where they can practice independently, are more likely to go to an under served area to practice. That statement is refuted by Manning Hanline, a Pensacola-based internist, said that allowing ARNPs to practice independently wouldn’t increase access to care. (Quote from News Service of Florida Article).
The Florida legislature has been wrestling with this issue for some time now and there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed. However, a well-crafted Bill that would provide for control over third-party payers, protections for the public and maybe a requirement for service in under served areas should be workable solution.
For now, there seems to more concern about whose ox will be gored than concern over providing adequate health care in under served areas and lowering the cost of medical services.
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