Coalition forms to ‘combat misinformation’ on independent practice for nurses

Female medicine doctor hands crossed on her chest
The coalition is made up of 50 state medical professional societies.

More than 50 county medical and specialty societies are joining forces to push back against the “false and vitriolic narrative” surrounding a bill that would allow nurses and physician assistants to practice independently of physicians.

The Florida Patient Protection Coalition (FPPC) plans to make the argument against the independent practice bill, HB 607, by educating the public on the benefits of physician-led, team-based care.

“The Florida Patient Protection Coalition seeks to counter the propaganda being disseminated by the nursing and physician assistant groups pushing for independent practice legislation,” said FMA President Ronald F. Giffler.

“The Florida Medical Association believes that independent practice and team-based care take health care delivery in two very different directions. Independent practice further compartmentalizes and fragments health care delivery, while team-based care fosters greater integration and coordination.”

FPPC highlighted the differences in education and training between physicians, nurses and physician assistants.

 A physician must complete four years of medical school followed by three or more years of graduate medical education, which includes at least 15,000 clinical training hours.

In contrast, advanced nursing degree programs recommend 500 post-baccalaureate hours (about 12 weeks) of clinical training for Master of Science in Nursing degrees and 1,000 post-baccalaureate hours of clinical training for Doctorate of Nursing Practice degrees.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) are not required to complete any training beyond graduate school, whereas Medical Doctors complete three to seven years of residency training in a select surgical or medical specialty under experienced physician faculty supervision.

FPPC also pointed to survey data from the American Medical Association that shows 91% of people believe a physician’s years of education and training are vital to optimal patient care, especially in the event of a complication or medical emergency.

AMA also found 84% preferred of respondents want a physician to take the lead in diagnosing and managing their health care.

“As a member of the Florida Patient Protection Coalition, it is critical we push back on special interest groups who seek to compromise the quality of health care by allowing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Physician Assistants to practice beyond the scope of their education and training,” said Christie Alexander, a medical doctor and President of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

“This coalition believes patients’ best interests are optimally served when they are treated in a physician-led, team-based model of care.”

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.


  • Edward Briggs

    February 7, 2020 at 7:27 am

    Your article is inaccurate on one very vital aspect. In Florida to be licensed as a physician only requires 1 year of post graduate medical education. Not the 3 to 5 your story details

    • Syk

      February 16, 2020 at 2:08 am

      To be license it takes one year, but to independently practice, a licensed physician must go to 3 to 5 years of residency

  • Dave Mittman

    February 7, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Two points. Personal observation only.
    The evidence does not back much of the rhetoric. PAs and NPs see millions of people every day. PAs take care of the President and the first family. We should be fine for Floridians.
    Are any of these groups representing people other than physicians? See a trend here?

    Florida NPs and PAs to show what they can do to help alleviate the lack of primary care.

  • Susan Lynch MSN NP-C

    February 8, 2020 at 12:03 am

    This coalition is Hogwash! Hundreds of studies have proven that NPs are safe and provide high quality health care with outcomes that are the same as physicians. Even the National Institutes of Medicine did a study and recommended that NPs be allowed to practice independently. Many NPs in Florida already practice independently via tele-medicine by caring for patients in other states. The VA and Armed Services grant independent practice to NPs, this includes Florida VA clinics. So NPs are already practicing in Florida independently. Half the states in our country allow for this, some have had independent NPs for 30+years. None of these states have rescinded independent practice. This coalition is nothing but turf protection. They advocate for legalized restraint of trade and the consumer suffers.Time for Florida to move into the current century.

    • FL_MD

      February 18, 2020 at 8:25 pm

      Those hundreds of studies are created by future nurse practitioners as part of their masters/doctoral theses. They are full of biases and incorrect statistics. Of the studies that were well done, they are about the NP/PA ability to treat hypertension or diabetes, not treat complex medical conditions or diagnose correctly.

      VA? Does anyone think of the VA as a model of efficiency or appropriate treatment? (Sorry Veterans.) If the VA is your standard, that is probably the problem with nurse practitioners being independent.

      I have met some NPs who have been excellent – and in their field under physician supervision for a decade. I’ve met many others who are horrible, and their patients suffer and get diagnosed with cancer months too late or who go blind from a “headache” that was actually something else. The problem is the lack of standardized training for NPs and the inability of many NPs to know what they don’t know.

      I should know. I was a physician assistant who went back to medical school after 15 years as a PA, because I knew I could do so much better for my patients with more education. And let me tell you – as someone who’s been both, there’s a world of difference between a NP/PA and a MD.

      Is this really about turf protection? No. It’s about patient safety.

    • Anonymous

      February 15, 2020 at 10:57 pm

      Finally someone standing up for patient care.

Comments are closed.


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