On Friday, the House moved a trio of bills expanding scopes of practice for nurses and pharmacists, priority legislation of House Speaker Jose Oliva.
Oliva noted that he and Pigman had “worked on this for many years.”
Rep. Cary Pigman, in what was an extended close (a curious time management choice given the crowded calendar), said Oliva had “moved mountains” and that he was “proud to be a soldier.”
Pigman framed the bill as a gender equity measure that allows “predominately female” APRNs to practice according to their education.
The bill would “allow” an APRN to “practice autonomously,” if that person has at least 2,000 hours of supervised practice, a graduate course in pharmacology, and no adverse incidents.
APRNs required medical malpractice coverage would be set at $300,000 aggregate a year. They would also be subject to the same reportage requirements as doctors.
Under language added Thursday, APRNs would be eligible for Medicaid reimbursement.
Ahead of the 94-12 vote, Rep. Margaret Good issued a caution, saying having a “doctor in the loop” is a “safety net” for our patients.
She also questioned the argument that APRNs would fill coverage gaps in rural areas.
Pigman, in his close, framed the bill as a way to counter “sexual discrimination” in the medical industry.
These bills have each had powerful allies outside the Capitol, with support from the Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners, the Florida Academy of Physicians’ Assistants, the Hospital and Nurses Associations, Americans for Prosperity, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
Additionally, the House moved Rep. Tyler Sirois‘ bill (HB 389) allowing pharmacists to “test and treat” for flu, strep, lice, skin conditions like ringworm and minor, non-chronic conditions.
The vote was 88-18.
Unlike St. Augustine Republican Sen. Travis Hutson‘s version (SB 714), Sirois’ puts the primary rule-making of test and treat in the Board of Pharmacy’s hands instead of the Board of Medicine’s. Additionally, pharmacists could prescribe medication for substance abuse and addiction.
Florida Politics’ Renzo Downey contributed to this post.