Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

House Ready To Pass Bill Expanding Authority For Pharmacists, Nurses, Others

Pharmacy Technician amongst two shelves of prescription pills.
Daylina Miller/Health News Florida
The Florida Channel
The House is close to passing three bills that would give more authority to pharmacists, nurses and other health-care workers, such as certified nursing assistants.

With little discussion, the House on Thursday teed up for passage three bills that would give more authority to pharmacists, nurses and other health-care workers such as certified nursing assistants.

One of the bills (HB 389), sponsored by Rep. Tyler Sirois, R-Merritt Island, and Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, would allow pharmacists to provide testing and treatment for the flu and strep throat.

It also would allow certain pharmacists to manage several types of “chronic” health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension.

The other two “scope of practice” bills, which could be approved as soon as Friday, include a proposal (HB 607), filed by Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, that would allow certain advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants to practice independently of physicians.

The bill is a top priority of House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes. The House on Thursday also added an amendment that would make clear that Medicaid would be required to reimburse nurses who practice independently.

The amendment didn’t address how much the nurses would be reimbursed and whether it would be less than what physicians are paid.

The third proposal (HB 7053), filed by Rep. Josie Tomkow, R-Polk City, includes the provisions of Pigman’s bill and would authorizes certified nursing assistants and home health aides to administer medications if directed to do so by registered nurses.

Scope of practice is a term that refers to the activities that health-care providers are authorized to perform and is generally outlined in law.

With Oliva focused on expanding the scope of practice for advanced practice registered nurses, the issues are key to House and Senate leaders reaching agreements to bringing the 2020 legislative session to an end.

The Senate Appropriations Committee this week approved scaled-back versions of Oliva’s priorities.