Florida TaxWatch refuses FMA’s call to retract nurse practitioner report

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Florida TaxWatch tells the Florida Medical Association “no dice” on taking back a report advocating expanding treatment capabilities of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.

The nonprofit government watchdog group is refusing to back down from a recent report concluding that taxpayers could save up to $339 million by allowing APRNs to provide care to the extent of their training without doctor oversight.

“Florida’s health care system is unable to sustain Florida’s long-term health care needs,” according to a statement issued Tuesday from Florida TaxWatch Chief Research Officer and General Counsel Robert E. Weissert. “This problem will only get worse as the state’s aging population grows, and it is exacerbated by a shortage of physicians and primary care providers in the state.”

The FMA released a statement Monday blasting the article— Diagnosing the Debate: Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice — by pointing out “five critical flaws” in TaxWatch findings leading to the conclusion that Florida should allow nurse practitioners to practice independently of physician supervision.

According to the FMA, the report misleadingly stated only the upper limit – not the full range of values – from a “flawed” study by the Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, the Legislature’s research arm.

Weissert responds by insisting the report quotes savings “up to $339 million,” an amount properly cited from OPPAGA estimates.

“TaxWatch recognizes that regardless of the OPPAGA assumptions,” Weissert adds, “there are cost-savings opportunities to removing barriers to care provided by non-physician health care practitioners, such as APRNs and PAs.

“The report clearly indicates that the OPPAGA cost-saving figure may not be fully realized, but we stand by the citation of the most recently available research. TaxWatch will continue to follow new information as it becomes available to make recommendations based on what is best for the people of Florida and its most vulnerable citizens.”

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.