Article on ARNPs battle with FMA
ARPNs want power to prescribe
Florida Medical Association remains opposed to the measure
By Jim Ash • DEMOCRAT Capital Bureau Chief • March 26, 2010
Seizing the moment after the passage of President Barack Obama's $1 trillion health reforms, Florida's advanced registered nurse practitioners are hoping to revive an old argument.
Give the state's 13,000 ARPNs the power to write prescriptions for controlled substances, they argue, and expand health care to as many as 1 million more Floridians for free.
"As Americans struggle to find lower health-care costs, Florida lawmakers are ignoring a solution right under their noses," said Florida Nurse Practitioner Network President Christopher Saslo.
The Florida Medical Association has opposed the move for years, and helped keep Florida one of only two states in the nation where ARPNs can't independently write prescriptions for such things as pain pills, codeine-laced cough syrups or common sedatives.
"They do not have the training nor the qualifications necessary to prescribe these medications, and allowing them to do so would jeopardize the safety of Florida patients," said FMA spokeswoman Erin VanSickle. "If ARNPs want to prescribe controlled substances, they can go to medical school and receive the proper training to do so."
Now is not the time, the FMA and other critics say, to expand access to narcotics when prescription drug abuse is on the rise and lawmakers are moving to shut down "pill mills" in South Florida