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FNPN April 2010 News Bullets

Posted almost 10 years ago by Regina Pommer

Good Morning!

As March 2010 draws to a close, we would like to bring you up to date on what’s new in your own backyard of Florida. You can download this announcement at the bottom of this page.

In this Newsletter you will find the following:


  • Rally on Tally Holds Historic Event

  • Education Updates

  • Job Announcements

  • Membership Update

  • FNPN Pac Update

  • News you can use

  • Kudos Corner

  • April Medical Mystery


Quote of the Month:

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.“

                                                                                                          -Henry Ford


RALLY ON TALLY Holds Historic Event

On March 24, 2010, the Florida NP Network held its first annual “Rally in Tally”. Following an historic vote to provide health care to millions of Americans, hundreds of nurse practitioners from every corner of Florida met in Tallahassee to protest the failure of state lawmakers to follow advice of their staff to lower costs and increase health care options for up to a million Floridians.


Led by Christopher Saslo DNS ARNP, president for FNPN, supporters offered their input on the importance of taking up this cause. Senator Mike Bennett (RBradenton), sponsor of SB 188 called for Representative Nick Thompson (R‐Ft. Myers) to prove his worth as a candidate for judge by “hearing both sides of the case, not just the side of the FMA”. In addition, Representatives Yolly Roberson (D‐Miami) and Michelle Rehwinkel‐Vasilinda (D‐Tallahassee) also provided legislative support for these very important pieces of legislation.

Matt Hudson (R‐Naples) although not a speaker at the Rally, went one step further by introducing APNs during a Senate Hearing to recognize our contributions, importance and presence in the health care reform. Additional presenters included; Andrea Gregg, President of FNA, Anna Small, FNA Lobbyist, Lisa Loscalzo, CEO for the Little Clinic, Marilynn Wills, League of Women Voters, and Doreen Cassarino, AANP Florida State Representative. To provide a more personal note, patients directly affected by the care of one of FNPN members, Elizabeth Markovich offered her testimony on the importance of having NPs as direct primary care providers.

Florida and Alabama are the only states in America that do not allow qualified and educated nurse practitioners to write prescriptions for medications to control anxiety, cough, pain and other ailments. “The Florida Medical Association is protecting its pocket book, not patients when it opposes giving qualified nurse practitioners the appropriate prescriptive authority to help patients,” says Florida Nurse Practitioner Network President Christopher Saslo.

Dr. Loretta Ford, Co‐Founder of the Nurse Practitioner Movement provided opening remarks to the Rally Bus Participants as well as “Rally Ride Home” comments for us to continue to be the “Freedom Fighters and Nation Builders” we are in order to protect health care of each and every patient we care for. These words were echoed throughout the day as NPs met with legislators in their district to engage their support of this much needed legislation.

To View Photos from the "Rally in Tally" Click Here


A message from your Legislative Vice President

Submitted by Frances Sahebzamani

This past week’s legislative rally in Tallahassee sponsored by the FNPN was an exhilarating experience! To see such a large gathering of Florida’s Nurse Practitioners eager to speak with legislators was inspirational! We would like to thank all of you who took the time to attend and support this event. Your participation sent a strong message that we are involved, engaged and prepared to meet the demands of Florida’s health care needs. The rally was successful in bringing our issues to the attention of legislators and in generating media awareness. Dr. Christopher Saslo, DSN, President of FNPN, Board members, our lobbyist Allison Carvajal, our AANP Regional Representative Doreen Cassarino and the rally committee team, Dr. Jean Aertker and Mr. Jeff Hazzard as well as the Tallahassee Nurse Practitioner group worked passionately and diligently to bring the message to Florida’s legislators that the barrier to prescriptive authority for controlled substances is limiting Florida’s resident’s access to cost effective, high quality and timely health care. This argument may ultimately be our most successful strategy as it clearly addresses the issues associated with health care reform and the estimated 1.3 billion dollar budget deficit facing Florida’s legislators and constituents. Cost and budget issues tend to “speak” the most loudly to legislators. Senator Mike Bennett has made a strong commitment to demonstrating the cost effectiveness of NP practice in the state Florida.

While the Board of Directors met with key players to promote SB 188/HB 677, each of you played a key role in reinforcing this message. I had the pleasure of meeting several novice NP activists who were anxious about speaking with legislators. Despite their concerns that they were not knowledgeable enough to, nor comfortable with, speaking to legislators, they persevered and did a fabulous job of representing our profession! Many thanks to all of our “experienced” activists…and to all of our now “newly experienced” activists for all of your courage and hard work!

It is indeed frustrating to be up against a strong Florida Medical Association lobby. According to most of the representatives and senators we met, Ms. Carvajal is an active and very persistent lobbyist representing us in Tallahassee. Her efforts have been successful in bringing our issues to key players…but the message from legislators was clear: The FMA has put considerable financial and other resources into effect to influence legislators. We are viewed as a significantly less powerful entity and it is imperative that we change this image! How do we do this?

1) by encouraging our current members to greater activism. Respond to the “call to action” notices! Your voice is needed. Take the time to write, email, or call your local and state legislators. Your efforts help to apply pressure to having our issues heard and respected. We are qualified experts in health care in the state of Florida and each of us has a story to tell and valuable ideas to share. For those of you who attended the rally, mentor your colleagues on how to become more involved. Although SB 188/HB 677 has not been placed on the agenda for a hearing before the House Regulations Committee yet, there is still time to pressure Representative Nick Thompson to do so. During his meeting with the FNPN Board members, he stated that he has not heard from his constituents in Lee County that this was an important issue to them. We need NPs, family members, MD colleagues, and staff members to clearly let him know that this is an important issue and to put this bill on the agenda! On the senate side, Senator Gaetz has long been a FMA stronghold….he needs to hear from us too! The battle is not over yet!

2) recruit new members! There is great power in numbers! We practice in a state with one of the largest numbers of NPs. We should actively recruit new and student members to the organization. Membership dues provide only a small portion of money for PAC activities.

3) Donate money to the PAC! We are up against the FMA that bankrolls many initiatives and legislators. A donation from each FNPN member of $10.00, $25.00; $50.00, $100.00 or up would provide our lobbyist with needed resources to support our cause and influence decision makers. Your donation can easily be made online by Clicking Here. Although the FNPN would like to encourage donations of $100.00 or more, please don’t hesitate to donate what you can afford! Smaller donations are welcomed too. As a profession, we must support our legislative agenda with donations.

4) recruit nursing advocates. The recent recruitment of the Florida League of Women’s Voters clearly demonstrates the power of brining in new nursing advocates. We now have a strong advocate requesting its membership to contact legislators on our behalf. If you are a member of another organization or know of an organization or group who might be willing to join forces, please let us know.

As Rep. Peter Nehr commented: “If you want me to play quarterback for your issue, you have to have a strong team behind the quarterback”. While I’m not a fan of sports analogies, I do get the message. We need to seek out other stakeholders in health care to support and collaborate with us on health care issues to affect changes.

The Rally in Tally helped to set the stage for this current legislative session and we need your activism to strike now while the event is “fresh”! Write to your local legislator, to Representative Nick Thompson, Chair of the Health Regulations Committee and to the editors of your local newspapers to promote awareness of these issues.If you have personal stories about how your patients have been denied access to timely health care through your inability to write for a controlled medicine, this would help bolster the argument. Personal stories resonate with Legislators and helps provide examples they can put to use.


Controlled Substance Prescribing by ARNPs‐ SB 188/ HB 677 by Senator Mike Bennett and Representative Juan Carlos Zapata

If you have not yet called or emailed Rep. Thompson on this issue, do so this week! We need your voices to be heard so that our bill can be heard!! Your message can be brief and concise: SB 188/ HB 677 is a priority for improving access to cost effect health care for Florida’s residents.

Contact Representative Nick Thompson:

Representative Nick Thompson ( Suite 208; 2120 Main Street, Fort Myers, FL. 33901‐3010

Phone: (239) 533‐2411 Or:

1301 The Capitol; 402 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL. 32399‐1300

Phone: (850) 488‐1541


Small Band of Freedom Riders Makes Way to Tallahassee

Submitted by Marifrances Gullo

Although there were only 11 attendees from Volusia Flagler, we were the loudest and most energized! We only hope that this small band of "Freedom Riders" will spark the fire in Volusia Flagler and Orlando areas. Nothing will happen without MONEY and NUMBERS! Get your patients to call their legislators, especially those on the healthcare committees. Don't forget our 5th Annual Sunshine Conference on June 4th and 5th.


A Terrific Experience For All!

Submitted by Doreen Cassarino, AANP State Representative

The Rally in Tally was held on March 24th and was a terrific experience for all! Over 250 NPs attended from around the state. Some of us left our homes in the wee hours of the morning to board buses to make the journey to Tallahassee. The goal of the Rally was to gather NPs and their supporters from around the state to advocate for all Floridians to have adequate access to affordable, comprehensive and quality health care; and to seek passage of our controlled substance bills, SB 188 sponsored by Senator Mike Bennett (R‐Bradenton) and HB 677 sponsored by Representative Juan Zapata (R‐Miami).

Those who attended were inspired by several events. After arriving we proceed to the House gallery and filled virtually every seat. At noon Representative Matt Hudson (R‐Naples) acknowledged us and introduced us to the House Members who then intern honored us with a standing ovation and an overwhelming applause. I had several colleagues tell me that this was one of their proudest moments as a NP!

We then proceeded to the steps of the Capitol and gathered in Waller Park. Several speakers, all of which are long term supporters and advocates, addressed the group including Dr. M. Christopher Saslo, President FNPN; Senator Mike Bennett, SB 188 sponsor; Representative Yolly Roberson, RN, JD; Representative Michelle Rehwinkle Vasilinda; Marilynn Wills, Florida League of Women Voters; Lisa Loscalzo, President, The Little Clinic; Andrea Gregg, President, Florida Nurse’s Association; Anna Small, CNM, JD, FNA Lobbyist; and myself, Doreen Cassarino, MSN, ARNP, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Florida State Representative. We were also addressed by a patient who receives her care from Elizabeth Markovich who shared her perspective.

Following the presentations we converged on the House and Senate offices to meet with our legislators and their staff to discuss the concerns of healthcare access in Florida and discuss the data supporting our bills.

Several of Representative Nick Thompson’s constituents met with him. He is the chairman of the Health Care Regulation Policy Committee which is the committee that HB 677 is to be heard in. He made it clear that he did not plan to hear any more bills for his committee, a vital need for HB 677, because he “never heard from any of his constituents that they’ve had trouble getting to see a physician”, no one has ever shown him proof that patients have trouble getting their narcotics and ‘if they need a narcotic, they should just see a doctor’.

For those of you in his district, District 73 which includes parts of Lee and Charlotte counties, we need you to send a clear message to Representative Thompson. Gather your patients who have chronic medical issues, who have been unable to be successfully treated by a physician and have them contact Representative Thompson’s office IMMEDIATELY!!! Unless he can be convinced that controlled substance prescribing and ACCESS TO CARE is really an issue, we will never be able to convince him to hear this bill. Furthermore, we need to remind him that if he is planning on being successful in RUNNING FOR A SEAT AS A JUDGE that as Senator Bennett pointed out in his speech to our Rally, he should be willing to hear both sides of the story!



Submitted by Cindy Drew

A day before the “Rally to Tally” President Obama signed sweeping health care reform legislation in the East Room of the White House. Wasn’t it ironic that a day later we were traveling by bus from Sarasota to the Rally in Tallahassee and then back to Sarasota? It was a total of twelve long hours in the bus that I don’t think we will ever forget. Some of us left home at 2am (Doreen Cassarino and the Naples NPs) and then joined the rest of us in the dark at 5am in Sarasota and Bradenton. I think we were all tired from wrapping up things on the home front. We worked so hard in the days prior to the Rally so that we could take a day off in “season”. Our goal was to let our legislators know that we are and will continue to be part of the answer to the health care crisis. We wanted them to know that we had come together to obtain full prescriptive authority just like every other state but Florida and Alabama. For too long we have been invisible providers. Yet when we talk to our patients and other health care providers they support us. We also had support from the Senate Interim Report (2009) and the evaluation by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. They both recommended Allowing ARNPs to prescribe controlled medications. Months prior to the Rally we received frequent motivational letters from Jeff Hazzard (Rally co‐chair) . Locally we had pep talks every month from Julie Daughtery and Michelle Lipman. We received many e‐mails from Jean Aertker prior to the Rally coordinating this state‐wide event. Visiting our local legislators in the summer when they were out of session helped us to establish who we are and what we need. We stressed the fact that we have national certification that makes Florida NPs just as qualified to prescribe controlled medications as NPs in forty eight other states.

Why was this an opportunity we could not miss? This was “being a part of history” as Julie Daughtery told us the month before. This was the first “Rally in Tally” for our Profession of Nurse Practitioners. It was exciting in so many ways. We all saw Loretta Ford (founder of the NP profession), greet us on the ride up to Tallahassee and give us a closing remark on the way home. When 300 NPs filed into the House Gallery and took a seat we certainly made a presence. When Representative Matt Hudson introduced Doreen Cassarino (“traveling 400 miles” to Tallahassee) and the rest of us, we could not help but be excited. We went from office to office talking to the senators and representatives and heard our own Senator Bennett address all 300 of us on the capitol steps. We were interviewed by television stations and heard about the interviews from family and friends back home. (My 84 year old father saw coverage on Channel 8 Tampa but could not see “where you were standing because everyone had white lab coats on”). For the 10% of Sarasota NPs that took the bus (a pretty good showing), it was a chance for us to unify and represent our colleagues. It was a chance to coordinate our efforts with other NPs in Florida. It gave us hope that the legislators will listen to us and work for us and our patients.


Education Updates:

The following important educational opportunities have been posted; be sure to check back on our website at for additional updates and additions!

NPACE Primary Care Conference

  • Thursday, Apr 15 at 08:00AM Lake Buena Vista - Florida 18.0 CE credits


Tallahassee Area Council of Advanced Practice Nurses Conf...

  • Friday, Apr 16 at 02:00PM Tallahassee - Florida 10.0 CE credits


104th Family Medicine Weekend

  • Friday, Apr 23 at 08:00AM Tampa - Florida 2.0 CE credits


19th Annual HIV Conference of the Florida/Caribbean AETC

  • Friday, May 14 at 01:30AM Orlando - Florida 13.0 CE credits


National Summit of Clinicians for Healthcare Justice

  • Thursday, Sep 23 at 07:00AM Arlington - Virginia


Job Announcements!

There have been many new job postings around the state on our website at for those of you that may have an interest. On our new website, the most recent postings are on the front page. Please feel free to pass this along to your colleagues who may be interested in it as well, or who may have an interest in finding out more about our network. For those of you that have found jobs on our website, please be sure to let us know!

Do you know an employer who might find the FNPN Job posting a worthwhile site? If so, please be sure to tell them about the website and the fact that on average 20 or more jobs are posted each month. The traffic to our website is incredible and we have more and more folks seeking employment through this site than ever before. Let them know you saw it on the FNPN Website!


Membership Update

Armando Riera‐Membership Chair

Renewal Reminder

  • Membership in FNPN runs on an annual basis Jan‐Dec.

  • Please renew your membership today. (Pay By Mail) - (Pay Online)

  • Membership in FNPN can be as a group or individual member.

Individual members belong and receive many benefits as part of their membership‐frequent communication during the legislative session (or special sessions), a paid lobbyist based in Tallahassee, access to posted job opportunities, access to posted upcoming conferences and many more benefits. If you belong to your local NP group you are not an FNPN member until you join FNPN individually, group and individual membership are two separate levels of membership. I encourage you to visit our newly redesigned web page today and while you're there you can renew online.

Group Presidents please renew today and continue to be an integral part of our growing organization. We value our group members as this creates a vital network of NP groups throughout the state. These groups help disseminate information about trends, issues and changes impacting NP's at the state and national level. As a group member we will also assist with conference planning and obtaining approval for CEU's if offered. We will also assist with promoting your conferences and activities and can provide assistance or link you with support in web design.

Just a reminder, students have special rate dues, and we encourage you and your peers to join!

IMPORTANT! Please note that starting in April, membership access to the website will be limited until dues are paid.



Marifrances Gullo

Announcing that the FNPN PAC is up and running strong! Donations to the PAC can be made at the FNPN website FNPN PAC or if you chose snail mail to PO Box 25422, Tampa, FL, 33622. Please be sure to put PAC donation in the memo section of your check.

This is the time to take ACTION! The legislative session has begun. Please help support the cause by donating to the PAC as soon as possible.

We are looking for people to join the PAC committee. The committee is responsible for monitoring PAC funds and following legislative agendas to determine where the funds would best be allocated. If you are interested in joining the PAC Committee, please contact Marifrances @

Finally, if your professional organization is having an annual conference, please let us know so we can attend and meet you personally.


News you can use

Be Heard! Perhaps you want to weigh in on this one question opinion survey on the NP Journal. The question is: Should a Written Collaborative Practice Agreement with a Physician Be Required for Nurse Practitioner Practice?

While many of us took the day off to attend the RALLY in TALLY on March 24th, know that one of our own NPs from Palm Bay was not with us as he had planned. NP Luc Bouquet is in Haiti working to help his homeland recover. Luc is in the process of organizing a mobile clinic for the remote areas. He is in need of providers and medications. Click Here to read this story about Luc. His email is:


Kudos Corner

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) has announced the Fellows of the AANP (FAANP) inductees for 2010. The new Fellows will be inducted during the AANP’s 25th national conference in Phoenix, AZ on June 23, 2010.

The FAANP program was established in 2000 to recognize nurse practitioner (NP) leaders who have made outstanding contributions to health care through NP clinical practice, research, education, or policy. Priority initiatives of FAANP are the development of leadership and mentorship programs for NPs and NP students. Fellows of the AANP are visionaries committed to the global advancement of nursing through the development of imaginative and creative future NP leaders.

Dr. M. Christopher Saslo DNS ARNP BC from Palm Beach County is one such individual. His leadership as president of the Florida Nurse Practitioner Network, a mentor to ARNP students, and clinician to his patients has been an incredible inspiration to many. In addition to actively participating in the development of the Florida Coalition for Advanced Nursing white paper, a video for their coalition effort and fighting for legislative changes to promote APN roles, Dr. has worked to ensure continuing education to APNs on topics including legislation, HIV, Hepatology and more.

Fellows of the AANP are visionaries committed to the global advancement of nursing through the development of imaginative and creative future NP leaders, and as such, hold an annual think tank to strategize about the future of NPs and health care outside the confines of traditional thinking.

A limited number of NPs are selected for this highly coveted distinction each year. The new FAANP members will continue the tradition of contributing to the mission of the AANP and promoting the role of the NP as a provider of quality, cost‐effective healthcare.

The AANP was founded in 1985 and is the oldest, largest, and only full‐service national professional organization for NPs of all specialties. With more than 27,500 individual members and 131 group members, AANP represents the interests of approximately 135,000 NPs around the country. AANP continually advocates for the active role of NPs as providers of high‐quality, cost‐effective and personalized healthcare. For more information about AANP, visit


April Medical Mystery

49: Chest Pain

  • A 25 year old male presents with sudden onset chest pain.

  • Physical exam is unremarkable.

  • The EKG is normal. His chest x‐ray is shown below Are there any abnormal findings?




Click Here to Download our April 2010 Newsletter




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