Nurse Practitioners: Part of the Solution to the Primary Care Physician Shortage
Florida has a primary care physician shortage. Less than half of Florida physicians accept Medicaid. Half of Florida physicians will reach retirement age over the next ten years.
• An estimated 3 million Floridians have now gained insurance coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
• Another 1 million Floridians who are in the coverage gap and are potentially eligible for insurance, if they can afford the costs. They too need primary care.
• When people do not have primary care access they go to emergency rooms for care, driving up tax payer costs
Florida needs a cost effective, free market, creative solution to meet these needs.
• Removing restrictive Nurse Practitioner licensure laws, has been demonstrated in other states to increase primary care access and reduce costs.
• Less restrictive licensing also has shown an added benefit of attracting more Nurse Practitioners into a state, thus improving economic activity.
• Almost half the states have stopped the practice of restricting NP licensure..
In order for Florida to fully take advantage of all the training and skills of Nurse Practitioners, certain legislation must be modernized.
• Removal of physician supervisory licensure requirements on Nurse Practitioners
• Required empanelment of Nurse Practitioners by all Medicaid HMOs and insurance companies
• Ability to sign a Baker Act
• Ability to sign death certificates
• Ability to certify DNR orders
• Ability to sign all needed documents for patient care (global signature)
• Review of and amend additional laws as appropriate
Research by the Institutes of Medicine and hundreds of other reputable studies have shown that Nurse Practitioners who practice without restrictive licenses deliver safe, cost effective, high quality care, with equivalent outcomes to physicians.
Florida has an opportunity to embrace an economically viable, free market solution to the primary care access problem, while at the same time improving the economic activity of the state.
The costs to Florida tax payers are nothing, while these changes could potentially save the state billions of dollars per year.