Medication Ordering Policy in Florida

Florida Senate Bill 210

Senate Bill 210 allows the advanced nurse practitioners to obtain a DEA license necessary for prescribing controlled substances. The bill also recognizes all responsibilities following the permission, such as applying penalties for violation of regulations by other licensed professionals to advanced NPs. Essentially, with the Bill coming into effect, the term “practitioner” would be expanded to include nurses.

Currently, advanced registered nurse practitioners are qualified for prescribing such substances. The Bill was last filed in autumn of 2015 but was since withdrawn from further consideration in February of 2016 (The Florida Senate, 2016). Fortunately, the companion bills HB 423, CS/HB 977, and SB 586 have passed with Senate voting 92-2. The bills are now directed to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign them.

An email to a state legislator

The nurse practitioners would like to further clarify their position regarding the prescription of Suboxone. Currently, Florida remains the only state where nurses are restricted from prescribing Suboxone. The reason for that is the impossibility to obtain a DEA license which is required for the prescription of controlled substances. However, such a situation is unacceptable for several reasons.

First, the ARNPs in Florida are educated to prescribe all kinds of medications. Second, the understaffing of the nursing segment in the state suggests a positive change in the pace of medical procedures after the possibility of licensing. Third, the licensing in question does not exempt nurses from accountability for their action (which is the case in other states where no observable adverse effect is associated with similar authorization). Currently, several bills are filed which, if passed, would allow nurses of Florida to be eligible for DEA licensing. As a representative of nurse practitioners of Florida, I ask you to consider the Bill with the utmost attention to contribute to the efficiency of nursing procedures.

Florida Senate Bill 152

One of the bills which attempted to overturn the restriction of Florida nurses to prescribe opioids and other controlled substances was Senate Bill 152. Filed by Bill Grimsby in 2015, it aimed to introduce several conditions under which a nurse practitioner would be allowed to issue a medication he or she is otherwise not permitted to prescribe. The conditions include the presence of a supervisory physician and a range of specified circumstances. While being relatively restrictive, such a Bill would introduce a desirable amount of freedom into the nursing practices. The last hearing on the Bill was performed on March, 3rd, 2016 when it was laid on the table until further hearings (The Florida Senate, 2016).

To: Flores, Anitere.

From: Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners

Subject: Suboxone Prescription

Today, the nurses of Florida are experiencing a range of setbacks in their practices. Some of the said setbacks are relatively unsubstantiated, and among them, the inability to prescribe the necessary medications is the most puzzling. I would like to point out that Florida is the only state with such restriction, whereas other states report no difficulties with the practice. As a nurse, I admit it is puzzling to see the barriers which hamper the effectiveness of my work.

For instance, our department is having difficulties with patients who need Suboxone and have to wait for physicians. This slows down the process considerably. In my opinion, the passing of Congress Bill 152 would significantly improve matters since my colleagues and I would be authorized to prescribe the necessary medication without delay. The Bill specifies the number of conditions under which NPS will be eligible to prescribe controlled substances.

On behalf of the Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners, I ask for your cooperation to resolve the current situation with Suboxone delays as well as prevent possible future discrepancies by passing SB 152.

References

The Florida Senate. (2016). CS/SB 152: Ordering of Medication. Web.

The Florida Senate. (2016). SB 210: Health Care. Web.