This 3rd week of the legislative session brought some cautiously optimistic news. The Florida Nurse Practitioner Network was successful in finding sponsors for our Death Certificate bill which would allow nurse practitioners authority to assign cause of death and sign death certificates. Our bill was supported and sponsored by Rep. Mayfield, was heard in the Health Care subcommittee on Quality this past Tuesday and was unanimously passed on to the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, our bill as originally crafted was amended by the Florida Medical Association prior to the hearing. Despite changes in the substance and language of the bill that are not acceptable to nurse practitioners, Rep. Mayfield and the FNPN elected to proceed with the amended bill in order to allow it to be passed out of its first committee. With Rep. Mayfield’s full support of our position on this amendment and with the understanding among all concerned, the substance and language will be revised to meet the approval of the FNPN prior to being heard on the floor of the House of Representatives. Once the bill is heard by the House of Representatives, Sen. Rene Garcia, chairman of the Senate Health Care Committee, will attempt to place our bill on the committee’s agenda as soon as possible. Rest assured, we will not let the bill pass unless the FMA’s amendments are revised to meet our approval.
Overall, the positive news is that many legislators on the Health Care Subcommittee on Quality, as well as the Chairman of the Senate Health Care Committee support our legislation. This is the first FNPN sponsored bill that has made it onto the agenda of a health care, or health regulations, committee in several years and the first one to move forward. We are optimistic by this support of nurse practitioner practice concerns.
I would like to extend a huge thank you to Doreen Cassarino, President FNPN, AANP Regional Representative, for her tireless work to bring this bill to fruition!
We also send our gratitude to those of you who wrote, or called, legislators in support of our bill…..your voice was heard and we appreciated your efforts! We also wish to congratulate and thank the FNPN members who took the time away from their practice to testify in committee on the importance of this bill to bridge the gap between state regulators and patients to improve the efficiency and speed with which death certificates are processed.
We will continue to need your help and support as this bill moves forward to the Senate. Our lobbyist, Ms. Allison Carvajal will let us know when our bill is scheduled as soon as possible so we can mobilize our support. If you are able to testify in support of this bill, please do!! Your participation and testimony is still needed and very influential!!
Talking points on the Death Certificate bill are posted on the FNPN web site.
Frances M. Rankin (Sahebzamani), Ph.D., ARNP, FAANP
Vice President Legislative Affairs
Florida Nurse Practitioner Network