Important Legislative Update for the Medical and Nursing Professions
HB 423 became law April 14, 2016 and affects several components within the medical and nursing professions. Not knowing the licensure requirements or grounds for discipline within your profession does not alleviate you from accountability of practicing responsibly. Therefore, please read the information below carefully as it may pertain to your profession.
Physician Assistants (PAs) and Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) can prescribe controlled substances listed in Schedule II, Schedule III or Schedule IV as defined in s. 893.03 Florida Statutes, beginning January 1, 2017. An ARNP who is certified as a Psychiatric Nurse may now prescribe certain controlled substances pursuant to HB 977.
In addition, an ARNP may only prescribe or dispense a controlled substance as defined in s. 893.03 Florida Statutes if the ARNP graduated from a program with a master’s or doctoral degree in a clinical nursing specialty area with training in specialized practitioner skills. However, all ARNPs and PAs are required to complete at least three hours of continuing education on the safe and effective prescribing of controlled substances.
The law further requires PAs and ARNPs to designate themselves as controlled substance prescribers on their practitioner profile if they plan to prescribe for the treatment of chronic non-malignant pain. If treating for chronic non-malignant pain, ARNPs and PAs must meet the same standards of practice as physicians.
Under the new law, an ARNP’s and PA’s prescribing privileges for controlled substances listed in Schedule II are limited to a seven-day supply and do not include the prescribing of psychotropic medications for children under 18 years of age, unless prescribed by an ARNP who is a Psychiatric Nurse. The bill also clarifies that only allopathic physicians licensed under chapter 458, Florida Statutes, or osteopathic physicians licensed under chapter 459 Florida Statutes may dispense medications or prescribe controlled substances in a registered pain management clinic. In addition to current exemptions, the bill adds an exemption for referral to a board-certified pain management physician, an addiction medicine specialist and a mental health addiction facility for physicians who are board-eligible or board certified in pain medicine by the American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians the American Association of Physician Specialists.
The Florida Board of Nursing will establish a committee to recommend a negative formulary of controlled substances that ARNPs may or may not prescribe for specific uses, or in specific quantities. The Board must adopt by rule, the committee’s initial recommendations no later than October 31, 2016.
It is important to understand that PAs and ARNPs are not allowed to prescribe any controlled substances prior to January 1, 2017.
For further information regarding HB 423 please visit https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2016/0423.