A group of nearly 200 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) swarmed Tallahassee’s Capitol on Tuesday, rallying to emphasize the role Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) play within Florida’s health care system by increasing access to health care, lowering health care costs and maintaining patient quality of care. They were joined by Representative Cary Pigman, who is sponsoring HB 607, a bill that would allow all APRNs, including CRNAs and nurse practitioners, to practice to the full extent of their education and training without physician supervision and protocols.
“It is time for Florida to modernize its healthcare delivery system by ensuring that Floridians have full access to healthcare, particularly in rural areas that are often underserved,” said Rep. Pigman, who is also an emergency medicine physician. “This legislation recognizes the extensive education and training these health professionals receive and the vital role they play in every healthcare setting.”
According to a press release from the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists, “the bill has the full support of House Speaker Jose Oliva, who has made modernizing the health care delivery system in Florida a top priority.”
Oliva has underpinned his support for the bill by pointing out a potential shortfall of up to 55,000 physicians at a time when the national population of senior citizens will be at its highest.
“I have called out the health care industrial complex because I believe it can do better for patients – consumers of health care services. I made clear my support for independent practice for APRNs because it will improve access and affordability for patients. It will address the very real issue of primary care shortages across our state, and it will bring Florida among the majority of states that are already benefitting from independent practice,” said Oliva. “With the endless sea of white coats flooding the Capitol, and the support from statewide businesses and organizations, I am assured that the House is on the right path by prioritizing HB 607.”
Currently, 30 states and the District of Columbia have acted to remove restrictions on APRNs with legislation pending in multiple states to remove restrictions. APRNs are also able to practice without state-mandated restrictions in the Veterans Health Administration, Indian Health Services and the United States Military.
CRNA Day takes place annually at the Tallahassee Capitol and is sponsored by the Florida Association of Nurse Anesthetists. It gives CRNAs the opportunity to meet with their lawmakers and to educate the public about the role CRNAs take in providing safe and effective anesthesia care for every patient.
“I can’t thank our champions Speaker Oliva and Rep. Pigman enough for their unwavering support throughout the years,” said FANA President Jose Castillo III, PhD, MSNA, CRNA, APRN. “Florida, like other states continues to face a shortage of primary care providers and anesthesia providers. Florida has more than 34,000 licensed APRNs, including more than 5,400 CRNAs, who work in all practice settings including hospitals, other health care facilities, and in the offices of other health care providers. We are only asking to be allowed to help our patients by practicing to the full extent of our education and training without supervision.”