Florida Nurses Association issues “mythbusters” in response to FMA poll

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The Florida Nurses Association wants to get the truth out about a proposed bill giving specialized nurse practitioners additional responsibilities.

On Monday, the FNA released a “Mythbusting Guide” in response to a recent survey claiming a majority of voters statewide oppose nurse practitioners performing medical procedures without a supervising physician.

“The survey was commissioned by the Florida Medical Association,” the FNA guide starts, “which raises questions about potential bias.”

Although the FMA, which represents more than 20,000 physicians practicing in the state, strongly opposes removing restrictions on advanced practice nursing, the initiative also has gathered widespread support from the Florida Health Care Association, Florida Chamber and Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Hospital Association, Florida TaxWatch and the AARP.

The FMS survey also found that 79 percent of respondents also did not like the idea of nurses and other health care workers who are not physicians prescribing narcotics (including painkillers).

FNA representatives — speaking on behalf of nurses in all specialties and practice areas — also busts another “myth,” by noting that the current proposal, spearheaded by former emergency room physician Rep. Cary Pigman, does not extend medication prescribing to RNs.

Instead, the bill allows Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners to “write prescriptions for medically necessary controlled substances,” but only under the supervision of a physician.

Allowing ARNPs to practice independently of physicians could also be a money-saver, the group adds.  If passed, Medicaid managed care plans can accept nurse practitioners, who charge Medicaid at 80 percent of the rates physicians charge.

Florida TaxWatch estimates the measure could save Medicaid $44 million and $339 million in the overall health care systems in Florida.

Furthermore, the guide concludes, every state except Florida allows APRNs to prescribe medically necessary controlled substances while no states have repealed any of those laws.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.