‘Floridians Unite for Health Care’ recognizes Oliva’s leadership in health care

by | Jan 14, 2020

The 2020 Legislative Session is officially underway, and House Speaker Jose Oliva kicked off his second and final 60-day legislative cycle with one thing in mind: making health care more affordable.

In his final address to the Florida House, Oliva recognized APRN Dr. Doreen Cassarino as the “Nurse Practitioner of the Day,” a unique acknowledgment to start off Monday’s session. Oliva also discussed his support for Representative Cary Pigman’s bill (HB 607), which would allow Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) and physician assistants to practice independently.

The newly formed ‘Floridians Unite for Health Care’ thanked Oliva on Tuesday for continuing to make health care in the state of Florida a top priority.

“I am honored to have been asked to come to Tallahassee today to be recognized by House Speaker Oliva for the work that I and all of the nurse practitioners across our great state do each day for Florida families,” said Dr. Cassarino, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, BC-ADM, FAANP, FNAP, a family nurse practitioner from Naples, Fla., who was recognized by Speaker Oliva during his opening remarks on the House Floor today. “I have been a strong advocate for the nurse practitioners profession for several years now, and to have the support of the Speaker of the House for APRNs to be able to practice to the full extent of our education and training is overwhelming. I thank him for his support and am hopeful that together we can help increase access to care for the betterment of Florida patients.”

Cassarino is known for developing and implementing an inter-professional pre-diabetes program and an inter-professional care model and was one of the first of 300 nurse practitioners nationwide to hold the prestigious Board Certification in Advanced Diabetes Management.  She is also a past-president of the Florida Nurse Practitioner Network (FNPN), a member of the coalition.

“On behalf of the Floridians Unite for Health Care coalition, we thank House Speaker Oliva for bringing attention to this very important health care issue this session,” said Nicole Livanos, senior associate in state advocacy and legislative affairs for NCSBN and a spokesperson for the Floridians Unite for Health Care coalition.  “By supporting Representative Pigman’s bill to remove unnecessary restrictions to APRNs, Florida has an opportunity to address the state’s need for more health care providers and provide more Floridians with access to safe and quality care.  We encourage the Florida Legislature to join with House Speaker Oliva and Representative Pigman in supporting this legislation that will allow us to deliver better health care outcomes for Florida patients.”

Due to an influx in population and insured patients, Florida is currently faced with problems meeting the demand for health care providers.

“As Florida’s population continues to grow and health care costs continue to rise, we are proud to support Speaker Oliva’s efforts to seek innovative ways to modernize the health care delivery system in Florida,” said FANA President Jose Castillo III PhD, MS, CRNA, APRN. “This legislation will increase access and allow APRNs to provide safe, cost-effective, quality health care to patients in thousands of communities, especially in rural, inner-city and other medically underserved areas of the state.”

Only 20 states in the U.S. still have restrictions on APRNs. Meanwhile, APRNs are able to practice without state-mandated restrictions in the Veterans Health Administration, Indian Health Services and the United States Military.

“By removing state-mandated physician supervisory licensure requirements, it would allow APRNs to supplement health care options for patients and provide specialty services for patients across the state,” said Arlene Wright, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, FNAP, president of FNPN.  “That is why we have joined this coalition to spread the word on the importance of passing HB 607 by Representative Pigman.  Not only will this legislation increase access to care, it will decrease health care costs resulting in a cost savings to our health system of $50-$493 per Floridian.”

If successful, HB 607 would remove unnecessary barriers, allowing APRNs to practice to the full extent of their education and training. Proponents also argue that allowing APRNs to practice would decrease waiting times, and make health care more affordable.

“With 900 new residents moving to Florida each day, and 4.5 million more residents expected to call Florida home by 2030, it’s vital that Floridians have greater access to care, particularly in rural and underserved communities,” said Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.  “Expanding scope of practice for Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioners will allow them to practice medicine to the full extent of their education and training, and will help provide Floridians greater access to high-value, quality health care.”

HB 607, which passed the House Quality Subcommittee as a committee substitute by a vote of 14 yeas and 1 nay, has also been referred to the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee and the House Health & Human Services Committee.

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