I know I said I wouldn’t post about MDs again, but I just read about this on Clinician 1 and had to pass it on.
Florida is a huge state with many uninsured and underinsured people, and whole swaths of the inner state is populated very thinly with many migrant workers. Medical care is in short supply in these areas, and nurse practitioners would love to fill in the void.
Unemployment is astronomical right now, officially around 13%, but actually more like 18-20% if you take into account all the people who have dropped off the unemployment rolls as their time runs out. I heard recently that 250 people applied for a maintenance job in a trailer park for retirees, to give you an idea of the numbers of unemployed. A friend of mine works at a food bank, where, for the first time, they are running out of food to give out, as the numbers of families needing help has tripled.
The Florida Medical Association seems to be aware that there is a crisis of health care in the state, but their way of addressing the problem is cronyism and defensive legislation to protect their turf, and not trying to solve the problems and needs of Florida’s population.
According to their website: “Whatever the issue, we will work tirelessly to ensure that the interests of our physician members, and most importantly, the interests of our patients are fully recognized and reflected in all health care policies adopted by the State of Florida throughout the year.”
Right. When tey talk about advocating for the physician’s interest, they are right, but patients? Not so much.
On their legislative page they crow about blocking everything related to increased scope of practice this year for anyone without MD after their name, “While every session sees an attempt by allied health professionals to expand their scope of practice, the battles were especially fierce this year. Optometrists, ARNPs and physical therapists pulled out all the stops to be able to do what physicians are trained to do, but without first going to medical school for the proper training. I am happy to announce that the FMA was able to defeat all of these proposals, and that not one scope-of-practice bill passed.”
They were thrilled to have blocked:
They called all this “diverting disaster”. Then they talk about their priority legislation for the year: to “exempt medical malpractice insurance premiums from any emergency assessment levied by the Hurricane Catastrophe Fund for three more years. This bill will save physicians thousands of dollars in the event that the CAT fund incurs a deficit.”
Lastly they are happy that a bill to restrict “pill mills” (places where drug seekers are able to get massive amounts of narcotics). “The FMA was able amend a provision that would have limited dispensing physicians to a 72-hour supply of controlled substances. With the cooperation of Rep. John Legg, the bill’s sponsor, we were able to restrict this 72-hour limitation to registered pain clinics, and then only to patients who pay by cash, check or credit card.”
So, these almighty doctors (who are perfect in prescribing narcotics and other controlled substances like cough syrup and diarrhea medication, right) stop a measure to restrict illicit drug use fully prescribed by MDs, for money.
The pattern here is clear, I don’t have to spell it out do, I? Well, okay: MONEY. That is what they are about, where is the patient advocacy?
“There is no such thing as a nurse practitioner who is ‘qualified’ to prescribe controlled substances,” said Erin Van Sickle, a spokeswoman for the FMA on Tuesday. “The Florida Medical Association is extremely concerned about the nurse practitioners’ continued attempts to gain prescriptive authority for these medications. The ability to prescribe controlled substances is limited to medical doctors for a reason: to protect patient safety. Physicians go to medical school to learn how to prescribe controlled substances safely and without interacting with other medications. ARNPs do not.”
“Florida lawmakers have worked diligently to protect patients from those who would attempt to prescribe narcotics to patients without the training required by Florida law, and that is the safe, accountable, and common-sense thing to do,” continued Van Sickle. “We simply can’t understand why the nurse practitioners would make such an unconscionable attempt to throw away the protections they have put in place.”
“The bottom line is, ARNPs do not have the training nor the qualifications necessary to prescribe these medications,” she said. “If they want to prescribe controlled substances, we would encourage them to go to medical school and receive the proper training to do so.”
I mean, really?!?! This is just sad!
Florida is one of only two states who restrict NPs like this, all the other states allow it, with no detrimental effect on the over-use of controlled substances.
Shame on you FMA! And just so you all know, the FMA does not represent ALL physicians. I happen to know quite a few who don’t agree with some of this crap, but it seems the FMA owns the Florida legislature.