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Florida Labor & Employment Lawyer > Blog > Healthcare Labor Law > LEGISLATIVE UPDATES – HEALTH CARE LAW


Prescribing of Controlled Substances by PAs and ARNPs: This session, the Florida legislature approved the prescribing of controlled substances by Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (“ARNPs”) and Physician Assistants, which will become effective as of January 1, 2017.  House Bill 423 amends various Florida statutes to allow such prescribing provided that the ARNP or PA follows certain requirements, including:

  • designating himself/herself on his/her practitioner profile as a controlled substance prescribing practitioner;

  • complying with the same standards of practice as physicians in prescribing controlled substances;

  • completing 3 continuing medical education hours on the safe and effective prescribing of controlled substances offered by an accredited association;

  • prescribing limit of a 7-day supply of Schedule II controlled substances;

  • following prohibitions or restrictions on prescribing psychiatric mental health controlled substances for children younger than 18 years old; and

  • ARNP has graduated from a program leading to a master’s or doctoral degree in a clinical nursing specialty area with training in specialized practitioner skills.

The legislation requires the Board of Nursing to form a committee to recommend a formulary of controlled substances which may or may not be prescribed by ARNPs to be adopted by October 31, 2016.

Effective April 14, 2016, House Bill 977 also passed, which permits ARNPs who are certified as Psychiatric Nurses to prescribe certain psychotropic controlled substances for the treatment of mental disorders within the framework of an established protocol with a psychiatrist. This Bill also includes many specifications related to such prescriptions, which are contained in Fla. Stat. §464.018(1)(p); practitioners should be aware of these because violations could result in disciplinary action or denial of a license.

Pain Management: Licensed allopathic and osteopathic physicians may now prescribe certain controlled substances on the premises of a registered pain-management clinic. Also, an exemption from the referral requirement of patients with signs or symptoms of substance abuse pertaining to drug abuse or addiction to a board-certified pain management physician, an addiction medicine specialist or a mental health addiction facility, was adopted for physicians who are board-eligible or board certified in pain medicine by the American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians or the American Association of Physician Specialists.

Telemedicine: The Board of Medicine revised the Florida administrative code rules to allow the prescribing of controlled substances for the treatment of psychiatric disorders through the use of telemedicine, effective March 7, 2016.

Medical Assistants: Effective July 1, 2016, Senate Bill 238 repealed Fla. Stat. §458.3485(3), which removed the following voluntary recognitions: “Medical assistants may be certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants or as a Registered Medical Assistant by the American Medical Technologists”. This change is consistent with the lack of a requirement that MAs be registered or licensed in Florida.

Physician Assistants: Various statutes regarding Physician Assistants were also modified by House Bill 375, which will take effect July 1, 2016, including:

  • Unless expressly prohibited by statute, a licensed physician assistant may perform services delegated by the supervising physician in the physician assistant’s practice in accordance with his or her education and training.

  • Licensure requirements are changed as follows: acknowledgments of any prior felony convictions and any previous revocation or denial of licensure or certification in any state no longer have to be sworn; no longer requires two letters of recommendation; and eliminates provisions regarding administering a licensure examination for foreign-trained PA applicants.

  • License renewal- the PA must acknowledge he/she has completed at least 10 CMEs in the specialty practice in which he/she has prescriptive privileges, but a signed affidavit is no longer required.

  • Provided they comply with Fla. Statutes §§456.0392(1) [labeling] and 456.42(1) [written/electronic prescriptions], PAs may write prescriptions in written or paper form.

Contact Scott Law Team in West Palm Beach, Florida to assist with any healthcare needs.

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