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Hold Costs Down on Nurse Bill

In three years, there should be 24 million more people with health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. The influx will add to physicians’ caseloads that already are strained, says The Palm Beach Post’s Rick Christie. Rural areas are hit hardest.

One solution the Legislature is considering is expanding the duties and authority of advanced registered nurse practitioners. The Senate bill would allow prescribing of controlled substances, but the House bill goes farther, allowing independent practice. One factor to consider: what would help control health costs?

Florida law currently allows physicians to supervise up to four physician’s assistants (PAs), and a bill moving in the House would double that to eight. But what does “supervise” mean? It could be just a cell-phone connection.

Meanwhile, doctors are allowed to charge the same amount for the PA’s work as for their own. Let’s not make the same mistake with nurse practitioners.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.