Sunday, February 03, 2008

NPs Need Prescriptive Rights In Order To Take Care of Their Total Patient

The following is a copy of a letter that we all need to send to the Florida Senators so that NPs can finally treat our entire patient! I hope that you copy and make whatever insertions or opinions and forward to them as well. Any patients who feel the same way, please send a letter from you as well letting them know that you are tired of not being taken care of properly and it's high time that Florida get on board with the rest of the USA. It's one of the last three states holding out. The addresses to the Florida Senators are at the bottom!

There is a shortage of healthcare providers in Florida. There are significantly fewer physicians and advance practice nurses and medically underserved populations as defined by the Department of Health and Human Services are the areas in which these shortages are most acutely felt. SB 972/ HB 515 by Senator Saunders and Representative Zapata is intended to improve patients access to care by permitting controlled substance prescriptive privileges for ARNPs whose practice location is in Medically Underserved Areas and Medically Underserved Populations as defined by Health and Human Services.

This bill allows ARNPs to meet the needs of their patients who require scheduled medications either for pain control, side effect management such as diarrhea, behavior modifications such as anxiety or attention deficient hyperactivity disorders.
Florida ARNPs have been prescribing medications with the exception of scheduled drugs since 1987. ARNPs are authorized to prescribe through a collaborative practice agreement with a physician licensed under Chapter 458 or 459 and may only prescribe those medications used within their scope of practice and contained within the protocol. However, ARNPs are educated to prescribe controlled substances along with other medications.

Nurse practitioners must pass two rigorous national certification exams before they can practice in this capacity. Nurse practitioners have been proven, in well controlled studies, to be as safe as physicians in providing care to patients.
As states have begun to allow ARNPs to prescribe controlled substances, no state has withdrawn or limited the ARNPs ability to prescribe. There has been no indication in any state that authorizing nurse practitioners to prescribe controlled substances directly increases prescription drug abuse. Florida is one of only three states which do not allow ARNPs to prescribe these medications to their patients who require them.
Schedule II: includes commonly used medications such as Adderal and Ritalin for management of Attention Deficit Diorder (ADD); Demerol and morphine for pain management.
Schedule III: includes medications such as vicoden and Tylenol with codeine for patients with moderate pain levels.
Schedule IV: includes ativan, xanax and valium for anxiety, ambien for sleep disorders and darvocet for mild to moderate pain.
Schedule V: includes medications such as Robitussin AC for cough and Lomotil for diarrhea.

I think that my patients deserve to be completely taken care of by their primary care provider. I cannot do that in the current practice setting of Florida. It’s a shame that such a progressive state is one of the three states left in the entire country that continues to restrict Nurse Practitioners. My patients ,who are in a rural setting, cannot afford to pay a separate (much higher) fee in order to have a tolerable, or hopefully better, quality of life.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this letter. Please support this bill and prove to Floridians that we do care for every citizen.

Senator Nelson
225 E. Robinson St., Ste. 410
Orlando, FL 32801

716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0905

Senator Martinez
356 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0903

1650 Prudential Dr., Ste. 220
Jacksonville, FL 32207

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