MEDICAL LEGISLATION - Amy Snider

03/12/04

Nurses square off against doctors, and doctors are battling the pharmacists, in professional turf battles at the State Capitol. WMNF’s Amy snider has the story.

The 2004 Florida Legislative Session began on March 2 and ends on April 30. In addition to working on issues such as the state budget and providing health care insurance to uninsured children, each year state legislatures across the country are inundated with proposed bills, which require legislators to referee medical scope of practice issues.

Former Senator Jack Latvala of Palm Harbor served in the State Senate for eight years and was Senate Majority leader. He recalls the phenomenon of professional turf battles:

Latvala

This year Florida’s Advanced Registered Practice Nurses - or ARPN’s are once again asking the legislature to be allowed to prescribed controlled substances, including Oxycontin and psychotropic drugs. Barbara Lumpkin is the Associate Executive Director of the Florida Nurses Association. She explains why the nurses are seeking this practice expansion.

Lumpkin

But Attorney Francie Plendl, who is the Director of Government Relations for the Florida Medical Association, explains why physicians believe this proposal will hurt patients.

Plendl

Plendl said that the medical association was caught off guard this year by a new practice expansion initiative:

Plendl re:pharmacists

Pharmacist Michael Jackson is the Executive Director of the Florida Pharmacists Association. He explains why the pharmacists want to immunize patients.

Jackson

Plendl of the medical associatoin said that the pharmacists have stated publicly that they are seeking this legislation to generate more income to stay in business, particularly for the independent pharmacies who are being squeezed out by large chain drug stores. But Michael Jackson says the reimbursement for this service is minimal. He also takes issue with the medical association’s argument that pharmacists are not trained to administer injections.

Jackson

Jackson addresses the role that pharmacists could play in a potential health disaster such as a terrorist attack.

Jackson

Jackson also said that pharmacists could help patients who come in for flu shots and do not have a doctor to find a physician. Both the nurses and the pharmacists insist that their practice expansion bills will require them to work closely with physicians under specific medical protocols. The Medical Society asserts that only medical doctors have the training to provide these services, and that allowing under trained persons to venture beyond their scopes of practice could have serious health consequences for patients.

Ben Wilcox is the Executive Director of Common Cause Florida. While common cause takes no position on these types of issues, Wilcox is well aware of the impact that these turf battles have on the legislative process:

Wilcox

Former Senator Jack latvala echoes that sentiment

Common Cause’s Ben Wilcox addresses the impact that professions battling in the legislature has on campaign contributions.

Wilcox

For WMNF news, this is Amy Snider

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