Who wouldn’t want to live in the Sunshine State? Complete with palm trees, beaches and a relatively low cost of living, Florida has a lot to offer residents. But, nurse practitioners practicing in Florida face a different reality. Despite Florida’s sunny disposition, unfavorable laws towards nurse practitioner practice have NPs flocking inland.
State laws regulating nurse practitioners in Florida are among the strictest in the nation. With half of physicians in Florida reaching retirement age over the next five to ten years and just three percent of medical students in the state choosing to enter primary care, NPs are scrambling to increase their scope of practice. They want to be influential as millions become insured under the Affordable Care Act but are meeting resistance. What laws currently restrict nurse practitioners in Florida?
Florida’s Nurse Practitioner Supervision Laws
Florida law requires that nurse practitioners are supervised by physicians. This arrangement must be outlined in writing. A physician may not oversee nurse practitioners at more than four offices in addition to his or her primary practice location. While the supervising physician does not need to be available to the NP in person he/she must be available by phone for consultation.
State law also requires that patients be notified when the physician will and will not be present in the clinic. These hours must be conspicuously posted in each office staffed by nurse practitioners and supervised by a physician so patients are aware when the MD will be on site. There is no minimum amount of time the physician must be present in the clinic, they must simply alert patients if the supervising MD is off site.
Rules for specialty clinics are even stricter in Florida. Physicians in specialty practice may supervise nurse practitioners at only one location in addition to their primary practice and these clinics must be no more than 75 miles apart.
Florida’s Nurse Practitioner Prescribing Laws
Florida is one of just two states that does not allow nurse practitioners to prescribe controlled substances even with physician supervision. Legislators in Florida recognize that some practices may attempt to circumvent this law. So, they also created laws that prevent nurse practitioners from using prescription forms pre-signed by a physician and from using a physician’s DEA number on a prescription.