With healthcare becoming one of the top issues that Florida state legislators will address during the 2024 legislative session, nurses and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) could stand to win big.
Florida has a huge shortage of nurses and while lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis have been working to address the growing problem, there is still a large bridge to the gap in this healthcare space.
Rep. Mike Giallombardo’s bill, (HB 257- Autonomous Practice by a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) could help ease nursing concerns across the state, as the measure would help nurse anesthetists sidestep burdensome bureaucratic requirements, they have had to negotiate.
Florida Gov. DeSantis has made education reform a big priority of his over the past few legislative sessions, so the little-known fact that the CRNA programs in Florida stand to continue losing a third of their graduates to other states where these nurses are afforded the right to practice to their training, licensure, and full certification.
CRNAs are arguably just as versatile when it comes to patient care, and are trained in ventilation management, emergency intubation, airway management.
This takes me back to the old days where dads had to be consoled by nurses in white uniforms. Not the case – the CRNAs are high trained professionals who are at the head of the bed – meaning in charge of keeping you comfortable during anesthesia, managing pain during surgery and monitoring your vitals etc.
Here is what the measure would call for:
—Revises staff membership & clinical privileges for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
—Authorizes Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists to perform specified acts
—Revises practice requirements for an autonomous advanced practice registered nurse & for certified nurse midwives
—Authorizes an autonomous advanced practice registered nurse to perform certain acts
—Provides for expiration of Council on Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Autonomous Practice
–Authorizes certain advanced practice registered nurses to participate in Medical Education Reimbursement & Loan Repayment Program.
The biggest takeaway from Giallombardo’s bill is that CRNAs will not have to continue dishing out a cut of their earnings to medical doctors by having to enter into written protocol agreements with physicians, who under current law, are required to sign off on their care.
These payoffs mostly occur during office and outpatient center cases where anesthesia is required and not in hospitals where there is always a doctor on call or in-house.
This practice of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists having to carve out a percentage to doctors conjures up memories of classic American gangster films like “Goodfellas,” “The Godfather,” and “The Irishman,” where wiseguys are out collecting cash tributes and payoffs from small business owners.
Rep.Giallombardo told The Floridian that his bill “will increase access to care and help expand a much-needed healthcare workforce,” adding that the measure “does not change scope,” rather “It allows CRNA's to do their job without the unnecessary paper supervision which is currently required and thus increases healthcare cost.”
Florida is one of 7 remaining states that continue this doctor-fugazi practice and lawmakers in Washington, D.C. are growing more and more suspicious of it.
Democratic Rep. Darren Soto addressed the need to help address the shortage of nurses and the need “expand access to care.”
“Anything where we can protect patient safety and expand access to care is something we have to a least consider,” said Rep. Soto to The Floridian on Monday.” “We still have a huge population of folks that are underinsured.”
The bill is sponsored in the Florida Senate by Sen. Blaise Ingoglia.