With her signature on HB 1479 and SB 5516, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire eliminated the last legal barrier to fully independent practice for the state's nurse practitioners. Beginning next month, NPs who prescribe controlled substances will no longer be required to maintain a joint practice agreement with a physician.
Marty Couret, NP, legislative committee cochairman of ARNPs United of Washington State (ARNPs United), told ADVANCE that the joint practice agreement requirement was a compromise reached by nursing and medical interests in 2000 to pass a bill giving NPs prescribing authority for schedules II through V (Wash. NPs close to nixing joint practice agreement. ADVANCE for Nurse Practitioners. 2005;13:10,12). The requirement was effectively a formality, Couret explained, but one that could be difficult — and expensive — for NPs to perform.
Legislators were convinced that the joint practice agreement could be safely eliminated after ARNPs United and other nursing organizations collected data showing that about half the state's NPs currently prescribe controlled substances with no resulting deaths or morbidity and with no disciplinary actions. The Washington State Medical Association objected to the bill as a change in NP scope of practice.
After fierce debate in the House of Representatives and in the press, the legislation passed the House by a 74-23 vote. The Senate voted unanimously in favor of NP autonomy."
I sure hope that Florida will catch up to the other progressive states when it comes to NP autonomy.. It will be interesting to watch and see how well it works..