During its past session the Florida legislature passed several bills that were signed into law that change the ability of Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (“ARNPs”) and Physician Assistants (“PAs”) to prescribe Schedule II, III and IV controlled substances. It is important to note that while the legislation is effective July 1, 2016, the authority to prescribe is not effective until January 1, 2017. Additionally, ARNPs and PAs may not prescribe these controlled substances in pain management clinics.

As it relates to PAs, a supervisory physician may delegate to a PA the authority to order any medication for administration to the supervisory physician’s patient. PAs must designate themselves as controlled substance prescribers on their practitioner profile if they plan to prescribe for the treatment of chronic, non-malignant pain. The legislation also impacts other PA licensure and scope of practice requirements.

As it relates to ARNPs, by October 31, 2016 the Board of Nursing will establish a committee to recommend a formulary of controlled substances that ARNPs may or may not prescribe for specific uses. An ARNP will still perform functions under an established protocol filed with the Board of Nursing within thirty (30) days of entering into a supervisory relationship with a physician. Furthermore, the legislation changes the scope of practice for ARNPs to reflect that ARNPs may prescribe, dispense, administer or order any drug.

As it relates to both PAs and ARNPs there will be additional education and courses that will need to be taken to demonstrate proficiency and knowledge in prescribing controlled substances. We expect that this legislation may have a significant impact on the way practices utilize PAs and ARNPs. The legislation allows new opportunities to expand the scope of services that these practitioners provide. Practices need to be aware of the various licensure, education, scope of practice and billing requirements associated with utilizing these practitioners for these purposes.

This client alert serves merely as a summary of the new laws. There are several other requirements contained in the legislation that PAs, ARNPs and physicians must follow. If you would like additional information regarding this legislation or a more comprehensive summary on the requirements under this legislation that apply to PAs or ARNPs, please do not hesitate to contact Samantha Prokop in RezLegal’s Health Law Department.