Independence for nurse practitioners?

I would like to draw attention to Florida House Bill 607, which would authorize autonomous practice for qualified nurse practitioners. This essential bill would improve access to quality and affordable health care.

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia, but not Florida, allow nurse practitioners to practice independently from physicians.

Nurse practitioners are prepared by their education to evaluate patients, order and interpret tests, and prescribe medications, including controlled substances.

C.S./H.B. 607 would allow them to expand their scope of practice, easing the physician shortage. The bill also would let nurse practitioners practice at the highest level of their licensure, which is the expectation of the Institute of Medicine, a nonprofit organization that provides evidence-based health policy recommendations to the U.S. government.

Furthermore, annual Gallup polls indicate Americans have chosen nurses as the most ethical professionals 17 years consecutively.

On Jan. 15, the bill, introduced by Rep. Cary Pigman, an emergency medicine physician, was approved 11-0 by the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee.

Pat Ekdahl, Fort Myers

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