During the 2016 Legislative Session, HB 977 passed and became law on April 14th as Chapter 2016-231, Laws of Florida. The bill expands the behavioral health workforce and recognizes the critical need for psychiatric care throughout the state.
The new law allows a Psychiatric Nurse, as defined in Section 394.455, Florida Statutes, and working within the framework of an established protocol with a Psychiatrist, to prescribe psychotropic controlled substances for the treatment of mental disorders. Grounds for discipline or denial of a license for Psychiatric Nurses are described in Section 8 of the law. Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners are now authorized to seek certification as Psychiatric Nurses through the Board of Nursing. Existing ARNPs who hold this certification can add it to their license by writing the Board, along with a copy of the certification, at MQA.Nursing@FlHealth.gov. A revised protocol agreement with a supervising Psychiatrist will also be required unless the ARNP indicates he or she does not intend to prescribe controlled substances as indicated above. New applicants for ARNP certification will submit documentation as part of the initial licensure process.
In addition, the bill amends Chapter 893, Florida Statutes, by revising the term “practitioner’ to include Psychiatric Nurses. The prescribing of medication on the premises of a pain-management clinic is still limited to a physician licensed under Chapter 458 or 459, Florida Statutes.