Put an End to Patient Suffering in Florida

Did you know that Florida is one of only two states in the country that does not allow Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners to prescribe controlled substances?


Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (also known as NPs or ARNPs) have been providing primary care in the U.S. for more than 40 years. They are graduates of masters, postmasters or Doctoral NP programs, with advanced clinical preparation to provide primary, acute, and chronic care to patients of all ages and all walks o life.

ARNPs are independent, licensed practitioners who diagnose and treat acute and chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, infections and injuries; they order, perform, interpret and supervise diagnostic tests such as lab work and x-rays; and they prescribe medications and other treatments.

ARNPs can reduce state ER vists and associated costs

Every day it is estimated that hundreds of uninsured and Medicaid/Medicare patients must go to emergency rooms to get medications for cancer pain, anxiety, attention deficit disorder medication refills, cough medication with codeine, diarrhea medication, and pain medicine. Why? Because these patients are cared for by Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners who are prohibited by an outdated state law from prescribing these medications.

This past year, the Florida Senate conducted a study on this issue and concluded that, like forty-eight other states, Florida should change this outdated law and grant the authority to prescribe controlled substances to ARNPs. Here is a link to that report:


Despite this recommendation, the Senate Committee on Health Regulation refused to heed their own good advice. As a result of this refusal to follow the recommendations of their own study, Florida's citizens continue to be harmed and suffer needlessly. And the state, in the midst of a financial crises, continues to pay for unnecessary emergency room visits.

 As the Senate interim report points out, many rural areas do not have adequate number of physician providers. People living in these areas must find or drive long hours to reach a physician to get certain types of care that can be provided and prescribed by the ARNPs who already live and work there, if legislative barriers were removed.

 The cost of providing this health care in emergency rooms  to the uninsured and underserved population is ultimately borne by ALL Floridians through higher health insurance premiums and higher taxes, and patients who get sicker, loose work and may even wind up in the ICU.

 Forty-eight states allow ARNPs to provide these services to their citizens. These other states are realizing tremendous savings and increased access to care for their citizens. It is time for the Florida Legislature to bring health care in this state up to national standards, increase access without increasing costs, and to stop playing politics with people's health.

Please sign the petition and let your legislators know this HAS to stop!

To learn more about Advance Practice Nurses, please visit the following websites:

Dear Legislator,

Floridians are suffering because of unnecessary legislative barriers to health care. Nurse Practitioners are fully educated, trained, and nationally certified to prescribe all legal medications that these patients need, but outdated laws restrict Nurse Practitioners in Florida to only prescribing legend drugs. As a result, many patients are referred to emergency rooms or forced to spend extra money on appointments with a physician just to get care. Some wait days until a physician is available to sign a prescription.  In this day of health care reform, this is a travesty. 

Nurse Practitioners in forty-eight states have authority to prescribe all legal medications, including controlled substances. The authority for Nurse Practitioners to prescribe controlled substances has never been rescinded in any of these states. Data from these states show the safety of allowing Nurse Practitioners to prescribe all legal medications.

Because of Florida state laws that prohibit Nurse Practitioners from prescribing controlled substances, patients are suffering. Those who suffer most are the poor and uninsured. Fifteen percent of Floridians report not being able to afford any care at all. Nurse Practitioners in Florida already have proven they can safely prescribe very dangerous medications and do so every day. They frequently prescribe blood thinners, cardiac medications, Blood pressure medications, and seizure medication to name a few. Florida has never rescinded that right.

The Florida Senate studied this issue in 2009 and concluded that Nurse Practitioners could increase access to care, especially in rural areas and should be allowed to prescribe controlled substances.

Patients are suffering because of these unnecessary laws. Please work to change this restriction so that Floridians can gain better access to health care.


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