Tallahassee, Fla. – ‘Floridians Unite for Health Care’ coalition today applauded Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva (R-Miami Lakes) for recognizing Wendy Paracka, Dip, APRN-C, FAANP as the Nurse Practitioner of the Day in the State Capitol’s Legislative Clinic.
“Being here today in Tallahassee to serve as the Nurse Practitioner of the Day in the Legislative Clinic is such an honor,” said Paracka. “Thank you, Speaker Olivia, for this recognition and for supporting legislation this session that would allow APRNs to practice to the full extent of our education and training. By removing this barrier, Florida could see an increase in the number patients being seen, especially seniors and those living in rural and underserved communities. We are enthusiastic about the potential of helping to alleviate this health care crisis facing Florida.”
Creating a successful private practice 16 years ago, Paracka has been meeting the needs of her community with a blend of primary care and occupational health services. In 1996, she obtained her Master of Science from the University of South Florida. In May 2020, she will complete her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of South Florida with the presentation of her project that has focused on improving hypertension outcomes in the commercial driver population. She is board certified in adult health and has a post-master’s certification in family health. She is certified in workers’ compensation care and recently contributed her expertise for an AANP position paper on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed policy with obstructive sleep apnea.
A recognized expert of commercial driver examinations, she was invited to participate on a national panel of medical professionals for the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) implementation of a certification exam for CDL medical examiners. She lectures nationally on DOT topics and spearheaded course development for NPs preparing for the federal Medical Examiner Certification exam. She was awarded an achievement of excellence as a NP preceptor and actively participates and contributes at state and federal levels regarding NP practice concerns.
Representative Cary Pigman, M.D. (R-Avon Park) is the sponsor of HB 607, relating to Health Care Practitioners, in the Florida House. HB 607 would allow APRNs to be able to practice to the full extent of their education and training. Speaker of the Florida House Jose Oliva has also expressed his support for the bill. In the Senate, there is a compare bill by Senator Ben Albritton (R-Wauchula), Senate Bill 1676, relating to Direct Care Workers.
“In states that have already passed legislation to remove barriers to safe and quality care by APRNs, we are seeing positive results,” said Nicole Livanos, senior associate in state advocacy and legislative affairs for National Council of State Boards of Nursing and a spokesperson for the ‘Floridians Unite for Health Care’ coalition. “For example, a study done in Arizona for the first five years after the state passed FPA saw the total number of nurse practitioners in the state more than double and the number of rural-located nurse practitioners increase by more than 70 percent. With Florida’s health care ranked in the bottom 25 percent in America, we believe it is time for action and supporting legislation to allow APRNs to practice to the full extent of their education and training has the ability to advance the state of health care in Florida.”
Floridians Unite for Health Care is a newly formed coalition made up of several nursing organizations, including the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists (FANA), Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners (FLANP), Florida Coalition of Advanced Practice Nurses (FLCAPN), Florida Nurses Association (FNA), Florida Nurse Practitioner Network (FNPN), and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN); members of the business, health care, and insurance community, including the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), Braeburn, Florida Academy of Physician Assistants (FAPA), Florida Association of Health Plans (FAHP), Florida Association of Health Underwriters, Florida Association of Professional Employer Organizations (FAPEO), Florida Blue, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Health Care Association (FHCA), Florida Hospital Association (FHA), Florida Insurance Council (FIC), Florida Retail Federation (FRF), UnitedHealth Group, and WellCare; as well as political advocacy groups, including the Americans for Prosperity-Florida (AFP-FL).
For more information on the Floridians Unite for Health Care coalition, please visit FloridiansUniteforHealthCare.com.