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Nurse independent practice urged amid coronavirus pandemic

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(Shutterstock via CNN)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis is being asked to allow advanced practice registered nurses to immediately begin practicing independently of physicians and to not have to wait until July 1 when a new law takes effect.

Rep. Cary Pigman, an Avon Park Republican who helped champion the law (HB 607) during this year’s legislative session, asked DeSantis to allow the nurses to work independently to help in coronavirus response efforts.

Currently, advanced practice registered nurses are required to work under the supervision of physicians until the new law takes effect.

The supervisory requirements, Pigman said in his letter, are “creating problems as our APRNs seek to administer care for our most vulnerable.”

Pigman’s letter also requested that all insurance companies cover telemedicine services for policyholders.

“We see the positive effects telemedicine had even before the pandemic,” Pigman said, noting that physicians could use telemedicine to screen residents and keep them out of emergency rooms.

He also noted that “many assisted living facilities are in lock down and unable to get out to their providers.”

While Pigman, a physician, requested that companies cover telehealth, the Florida Medical Association last week asked Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier to mandate that insurers reimburse telehealth services at the same rates as in-person health care.