José Oliva names ‘Nurse Practitioner of the Day,’ reiterates health care priorities
Photo: Colin Hackley.

Independent practice for nurses is a big one.

House Speaker José Oliva on Tuesday announced a “Nurse Practitioner of the Day,” and for the first time in nearly three days, the opening day pick was a woman.

Oliva’s selection was Doreen Cassarino, a doctor of nursing practice from Naples.

“By inviting an advanced practice registered nurse to see patients in the Legislative Clinic today, we acknowledge the vital role they play in ensuring the health of Floridians,” Oliva said.

The Miami Lakes Republican used the opportunity to highlight his push to expand the scope of practice for Florida nurses.

 “I am proud to support legislation this year to grant APRNs independent practice across our state to improve access to quality care for all, and allow these professionals to work to the full extent of their training and education,” he said.

The scope of practice bill being pushed by Oliva is HB 607, which last month cleared the House Health Quality Subcommittee with a 14-1 vote.

The policy goals were greeted warmly by Floridians Unite for Health Care, an coalition that includes Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists (FANA), Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners (FLANP), Florida Coalition of Advanced Practice Nurses (FLCAPN), all of which are in favor of scope of practice expansions for nurses.

“On behalf of the Floridians Unite for Health Care coalition, we thank House Speaker Oliva for bringing attention to this very important health care issue this session,” said Nicole Livanos, senior associate in state advocacy and legislative affairs for National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) and a spokesperson for the Floridians Unite for Health Care coalition.

“By supporting Representative Pigman’s bill to remove unnecessary restrictions to APRNs, Florida has an opportunity to address the state’s need for more health care providers and provide more Floridians with access to safe and quality care.  We encourage the Florida Legislature to join with House Speaker Oliva and Representative [Cary] Pigman in supporting this legislation that will allow us to deliver better health care outcomes for Florida patients.”

Major business, including the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), groups also flew the flag for Oliva’s health care priority.

“AIF applauds Speaker Oliva for his commitment to health care in Florida,” said AIF Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs Brewster Bevis.

“His support of eliminating restrictions of APRNs will have a positive impact on Florida’s economy to the tune of more than $1 billion in estimated increased wages and new job creation.  This is an opportunity our Sunshine State simply cannot leave on the table.  We encourage members of the legislature to support this good bill that would increase access to health care for all Floridians.”

Drew Wilson

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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