Multiple Barriers

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Multiple Barriers

Nurse Practitioners in Florida encounter multiple barriers to allow them to practice, including reimbursement and hospital privileges. While HB 607, the bill that gave APRN’s the ability to practice autonomously in Florida, did expand the ability of APRN’s to offer care, it did not mandate that APRN’s must have the ability to bill private insurance companies for that care. It also did not change the fact that hospitals do not have to allow APRN’s to admit their patients to the hospital. Both of these problems limit the ability of APRN’s to provide adequate care to the citizens of Florida.

The vast majority of people have health insurance, and many have private insurance as opposed to Medicare. While APRN’s can bill Medicare for services, the private insurance companies do not have to accept APRN’s for billing (called credentialing). This severely limits the patients APRN’s can care for autonomously, unless they offer cash for services, or private billing for them. Healthcare can be expensive, as can be running a medical practice. Without the ability to bill insurance for services, medical practices face financial burdens that can be impossible to overcome.

If that wasn’t bad enough, hospitals do not have any legal requirement to allow APRN’s to admit their patients. This effectively blocks APRN’s from caring for their patients when they are admitted. It also unfairly gives physicians the upper hand, since they are universally allowed to admit their patients, once they are approved by the hospital.

Since there is already a shortage of physicians in Florida, and it is projected to worsen dramatically within the next ten years or less, it is imperative the Florida legislature take advantage of every option to safely expand healthcare for all Florida residents! Both of these problems could be easily remedied through changes in state law. However, special interest groups lobby heavily to keep them from being made.

There is ample proof that APRN’s provide safe, and competent care, that has been researched for over 40 years. Twenty-five states allow APRN’s to practice to the fullest extend of their training and education (LINK) and to bill insurance and admit their patients to hospitals. It is crucial that Florida – the third most populous state in the US – move out of the dark ages! Call, write, email, or personally speak with your state legislators, and contact the Governor to let them know Florida NEEDS to fix these and other problems that limit APRN’s from providing the high quality, safe, and effective care that is needed (and lacking) to the residents of Florida!

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