Coalition Takes Aim At Top Oliva Priority

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The Florida Medical Association on Thursday launched a campaign to try to block House Speaker Jose Oliva’s top priority of the legislative session.

The FMA announced a coalition of medical groups that oppose allowing advanced practice registered nurses to provide care without supervision by physicians and unveiled a website touting differences between physicians and nurses.

The Florida Patient Protection Coalition includes 50 groups that oppose Oliva’s effort to pass an independent-practice bill (HB 607). The coalition’s website highlights differences in education and training requirements between physicians and advanced practice registered nurses. Included on the website is a draft letter and a draft script that people can use to write or call state lawmakers.

Rep. Cary Pigman, a physician who is sponsoring the bill, has said there is a “great misconception” that advanced practice registered nurses aren’t as well-educated as physicians. During a December debate on the bill in a House committee, Pigman, R-Avon Park, said he spent 11 years in schools and residencies before practicing on his own and estimated that an advanced practice registered nurse could have as many as 10 years of college and work experience.

But the coalition’s website disputes that. It says physicians must complete four years of medical school and have three additional years of postgraduate training. Advanced practice registered nurses spend between 18 months and three years in nursing programs and are not required to do postgraduate training.

Pigman’s bill needs to clear the Health & Human Services Committee before it can be considered by the full House. The Senate does not have a similar bill. Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, has made reducing health-care regulations a key part of his time as speaker.

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