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Nurse Practitioner Rallies Attract Supporters Across Florida

Hundreds of nurse practitioners were joined by doctors, patients and health-care workers at rallies in five cities across Florida on Saturday.

Nurse practitioners, promoting legislation that would grant their right to practice at the full scope of their profession, rallied for their cause in Miami, Sarasota, Orlando, Tallahassee and Pensacola.

The Florida Council of Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNP) cited a recent study, which found that nurse practitioners and physicians' assistants are already attending one third of all office visits. That study by the Legislature's Office of Program Policy and Analysis and Government Accountability estimated that the state would save more than $339 million a year by allowing nurse practitioners to practice at their full ability and scope.

State Rep. Daphne Campbell, D-Miami, is sponsoring HB 4106 to bring Florida's regulations into line with 48 other states in authorizing full-scope practice by nurse practitioners, including writing prescriptions for controlled substances.

"Allowing Florida's 13,000 nurse practitioners to practice at their full ability and training, which includes increased prescription authority, will allow a million more patients to be seen in a timely manner," said Stan Whittaker, president of the ARNP council.

Supporters for lifting restrictions on ARNPs include Florida TaxWatch, the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Center to Champion Nursing of the AARP, Bipartisan Policy Center, the Brookings Institution, the Cato Institute, the Center for American Progress, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Medicine.

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