By: Capitol News Service
May 8, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) – From importing lower-cost prescription drugs, allowing more outpatient surgeries and creating telehealth legislation, Florida lawmakers took significant steps to lower the cost of healthcare in 2019, but one of the biggest cost savers didn’t make it across the legislative finish line.
Elizabeth Markovich has been working as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner for 30 years.
ARNPs have either masters or doctoral degrees, but are not medical doctors.
Markovich says regulations, which require a doctor to sign onto just about everything they do, ends up hurting patients in the end.
“When we want someone to even show up and do physicals at a school for free and volunteer, we need a physician to provide so called supervision, even though they are not there,” said Markovich.
A doctor may supervise 10 or more practitioners, charging them each $1,000 a month, just for his or her signature.
Nurse practitioners have been fighting for more than a decade to practice with less supervision. It was a top priority of House Speaker Jose Oliva.
“I think there's a problem with perception on that issue,” said Oliva. "People believe that we want nurse practitioners to be doctors, and we don’t. We want them to be able to practice to the full extent of their training.”
The Florida Medial Association fought back, and its opposition swayed both the Senate president and governor.
“You go through all that training to become a doctor,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.
In the hurricane-ravaged panhandle, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Stan Whittaker believes having the authority to practice within their training would have meant quicker care for injured residents.
“This protocol is antiquated and outdated,” said Whittaker.
22 other states offer ARNPs full practice authority. Florida remains one of the most restrictive states for Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners.