Medication Ordering Policy for Florida Nurses

Florida Senate Bill 0210

Senate Bill 0210 was filed to the Florida Senate in September 2015 by Senator Denise Grimsley. In general, the bill is about providing advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) and physician assistants (PAs) with the right to prescribe controlled substances. It proposes several amendments to existing laws.

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First of all, the bill is about widening the categories of people who have the right to write prescriptions for brand name drugs according to medical necessity. Also, it is about changing the procedure of certifying (or licensing) nurse practitioners or physician assistants for the right to write prescriptions for controlled substances. Finally, to achieve its main goals, the bill proposes to change the legal definition of the term “practitioner” so that the term also applies to ARNPs and PAs (Grimsley, 2015). The bill as well establishes conditions, under which the right to prescribe drugs is given to nursing practitioners and physician assistants.

On February 10, 2016, the bill was withdrawn from further consideration. However, its companion bill, House Bill 0423, passed and became law on April 14, 2016. HB 0423 defines certain registration requirements for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, compliance with which allows them prescribing brand name drugs when it is medically necessary. The law implies certain limitations, e.g. ARNPs and PAs cannot write prescriptions for an amount of a controlled substance larger than a seven-day supply.

Neither can they prescribe drugs in pain management clinics. Also, nurse practitioners and physician assistants in Florida are now required to attend three hours of lectures every two years on safety and effectiveness in prescribing of controlled substances (Pigman & Campbell, 2015). This law brings Florida health care legislation closer to the norms and regulations in other states.

Florida Senate Bill 152

The bill SB 152 of the Florida Senate focuses on the authority of licensed physician assistants (PAs) and advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNP) to order medications. Filed on August 19, 2015, it was unanimously deemed favorable by Health Policy in October 2015. However, it was later substituted by another bill. The current status of SB 152 is Laid on Table, meaning that its consideration is suspended.

The bill implied providing the authority to order medication for a specific patient under the supervision of a licensed physician to licensed PAs. For ARNPs, the authority provided would be to order medication in particular types of facilities (The Florida Senate, 2015). The bill also allowed persons with the legal status of “licensed practitioners” to authorize under specified conditions licensed PAs and ARNPs to order controlled substances.

The bill that substituted SB 152, HB 1241, provides a wide range of rights to ARNPs and PAs. ARNPs are authorized to order any medication for a specific patient in any medical facilities like hospitals, nursing homes, or surgical centers. The protocol for such a procedure is established. PAs receive the right to order medication for patients of nursing homes under the authority delegated by a specific patient’s physician. A licensed physician is given the right to authorize ARNPs and PAs to order controlled substances (The Florida Senate, 2016). Under certain circumstances, health care practitioners are also authorized to write prescriptions for emergency antagonist pain-relieving compound substances (opioids) without a patient-specific order.

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In March 2016, HB 1241 was approved by the Governor and thus became effective as of July 1, 2016. ARNPs and PAs in Florida generally had not been allowed to prescribe drugs before 2016. Nowadays, they are given this authority, and the authority is constantly being augmented as similar bills are filed to the Florida Senate.


Grimsley, D. (2015). SB 210: Health Care. Web.

Pigman, C., & Campbell, D. (2015). HB 423: Access to Health Care Services. Web.

The Florida Senate (2015). CS/SB 152: Ordering of Medication. Web.

The Florida Senate (2016). HB 1241: Ordering of Medication. Web.

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