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House advances APRN autonomous practice bill

“I work with anesthesiologists. There’s no secret knowledge they’re keeping from me.”

A bill that would allow advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to practice without physician supervision cleared the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday.

The second committee win for HB 821 didn’t draw much debate.

Ryan Harvey, a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), contended he and his colleagues are more than capable of providing quality care to patients without a doctor in the room.

“I work with anesthesiologists,” he said. “There’s no secret knowledge they’re keeping from me.”

Florida Medical Association president Cory Howard, however, disagreed and added that the bill had no provisions that would lure APRNs to rural areas where health care access is less prevalent.

A poll released Monday shows Florida voters feel similarly — 71 percent said they thought “having nurses administer anesthesia without the supervision of a doctor is a very dangerous idea,” while 24 percent disagreed.

A host of business and medical associations waived in support of the measure, sponsored by state Rep. Cary Pigman, who is a medical doctor.

Those in favor: The James Madison Institute, Americans for Prosperity-Florida, the Florida Hospital Association, The Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Academy of Physician Assistants and the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

The latter group was quick to issue a statement applauding the HB 821’s approval.

“We applaud Chairwoman MaryLynn Magar and members of the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee for passing HB 821, which would modernize Florida’s laws to allow highly-qualified APRNs, including Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, to practice to the full extent of their education and training,” FANA said.

“APRNs play an essential role in Florida’s health care system and provide patients, particularly those in rural and other underserved communities who may not otherwise have access to vital services, with high-quality care at a much lower cost.

“We thank Representative Cary Pigman for his leadership on this important initiative that recognizes the safe, effective care that APRNs provide and removes unnecessary supervision regulations.”

HB 821 was amended during the hearing to add an appropriation of $219,089 in recurring $17,716 in nonrecurring funds to create a few positions to handle applications and regulatory oversight.

The bill now moves on to the House Health and Human Services Committee, its final stop before the chamber floor.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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