Scope of Practice
Central Florida Doctor|July 2020
Governor Signs Law Allowing Qualified Nurse Practitioners to Operate Independently
TERESA SCHIFFER

IN MARCH, the Florida Legislature passed a bill allowing advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to independently operate primary care practices without the supervision of an attending doctor. Sponsored in part by Health Quality Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Cary Pigman, a Republican representing Avon Park, House Bill 607 allows nurse practitioners to practice autonomously, thereby increasing the number of qualified health professionals available to serve the medical needs of Florida’s residents. While various healthcare organizations, including Floridians Unite for Health Care, support the bill, some doctor groups have long opposed the measure.

Pigman has been working on this proposal since 2014 and cites Florida’s shortage of healthcare providers as the main reason for proposing this change to Florida’s healthcare system. He has first-hand expertise on this dearth from working as a doctor in rural areas.

Governor Ron DeSantis agreed with Pigman’s assessment and quickly signed the measure into law. He also signed another bill that was a top priority for House Speaker Jose Oliva, a Republican from Miami Lakes, that allows qualified pharmacists to treat chronic conditions if they have entered into an agreement with a physician. Pharmacists will now be able to independently treat conditions such as asthma, arthritis, and obesity, as well as test for and treat illnesses like strep throat and the flu.

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