Two New Bills Offer Independent Practice to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses in Florida

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Two new bills introduced in Florida each seek to provide advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) the ability to practice without the need for physician supervision. The House bill is sponsored by Representative   Cary Pigman and is known as House Bill 821 (HB 821). You can review the text of HB 821 in full  here. The Senate bill is sponsored by Senator  Jeff Brandes and is known as Senate Bill 972 (SB 972). You can review the text of SB 972 in full  here
Both bills would allow APRNs to practice without a protocol agreement or physician supervision. Currently, APRNs must practice subject to written protocols and under the supervision of a physician. SB 972 would allow a APRN to qualify for independent practice if 1) if their license is unencumbered 2) they have completed at least 2,000 hours of clinical practice as an APRN within the last 5 years and 3) submit an application to the board attesting to completing those requirements. Following a successful application the APRN will be permitted to practice independently within their scope of practice and specialty. With this new independence would also come a new obligation to report any adverse incident to the board in writing within 15 days. While not worded identically HB 821 would also allow APRNS to apply for independent practice if they have 1) an unencumbered license 2) not been subject to a disciplinary action within 5 years 3) have completed 2,000 hours of clinical practice within the last 5 years, and 4) have completed a graduate level course in pharmacology. An APRN granted independent practice would need to complete an additional 10 hours of continuing education for their biennial renewal period. HB 821 adds a few more restrictions to APRNs over what SB 972 would. APRNs would still need to report adverse incidents within 15 days but HB 821 also adds an itemized list of prohibited actions that would subject the APRN to discipline. This list is similar to other codes of conduct seen for physicians and includes actions such as a prohibition on fee splitting, coercing patients for financial gain or sex, failing to keep proper medical records, and delegating procedures to unqualified persons. The national trend has been moving towards allowing APRNs to practice as independent healthcare providers and not dependent on the supervision of physicians. In that regard, both SB 972 and HB 821 are right in line with that trend and if passed would make Florida APRNs independent health care providers able to provide services within their scope without physician supervision.
We will be monitoring both SB 972 and HB 821 as they work their way through Florida’s legislative process this year. If you would like to contact the bills’ sponsor they can be reached via their page of the Legislature’s website   here and  here.