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Primary Care Practice Officially Defined in Florida for APRNs Practicing Autonomously

Overview

As many providers in Florida are aware, House Bill 607 (the “Bill”), which was passed in February of last year, gives certain APRNs in Florida the ability to practice autonomously. The only catch is that they must work in primary practice. When the Bill was initially passed, there was question as to what was exactly considered primary care, absent a definition from the Florida Board of Nursing. However, as of February 25, 2021, “primary care practice” has officially been defined.

Florida Administrative Code 64B9-4.001

Florida Statute 464.0123, which sets forth the requirements for APRN autonomous practice, states, “[a]n advanced practice registered nurse who is registered under this section may engage in autonomous practice only in primary care practice, including family medicine, general pediatrics, and general internal medicine, as defined by board rule.”

However, the Board of Nursing had not yet provided such a definition when the statute was passed, leaving APRN's confused as to whether they qualified for an autonomous practice license. In February, primary care was defined in Florida Administrative Code 64B9-4.001(12) as including, “physical and mental health promotion, assessment, evaluation, disease prevention, health maintenance, counseling, patient education, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses, inclusive of behavioral and mental health conditions.” While this definition also encompasses mental health treatment, in addition to family medicine and general medicine, anything involving specialty care will still require a collaborative agreement.[1]

In Practice

The Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners further explains when an APRN’s practice is considered primary care and when it is not. For example, administering Botox may be considered primary care if the provider is using it for migraines in a primary care setting, while administering it in a MedSpa or using it for wrinkle treatment outside of a primary care setting would not be considered primary care and would require the APRN to practice pursuant to a collaboration agreement.[2]

Conclusion

It is important to note that even if an APRN is working in a primary care setting and offering primary care to their patients, they may not practice autonomously until they have applied for an autonomous license and have been approved.

If you have any questions about whether you qualify for an autonomous license in Florida, or have any other questions about the application process and requirements, please contact Amanda Waesch at alwaesch@bmdllc.com.

[1] Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners, Autonomous Practice Q&A, (Feb. 22, 2021) https://www.flanp.org/page/AutonomousPractice.

[2] Id.

New York, Kansas, Massachusetts, and Delaware Become the latest States to Adopt Full Practice Authority for Nurse Practitioners

While the COVID-19 pandemic certainly created many obstacles and hardships, it also created many opportunities to try doing things differently. This can be seen in the instant rise of remote work opportunities, telehealth visits, and virtual meetings. Many States took the challenges of the pandemic and turned them into an opportunity to adjust the regulations governing licensed professionals, including for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).

Explosive Growth in Pot of Gold Opportunity for Bank (and Other) Cannabis Lenders Driving Erosion of the Barriers

Our original article on bank lending to the cannabis industry anticipated that the convergence of interest between banks and the cannabis industry would draw more and larger banks to the industry. Banks were awash in liquidity with limited deployment options, while bankable cannabis businesses had rapidly growing needs for more and lower cost credit. Since then, the pot of gold opportunity for banks to lend into the cannabis industry has grown exponentially due to a combination of market constraints on equity causing a dramatic shift to debt and the ever-increasing capital needs of one of the country’s fastest growing industries. At the same time, hurdles to entry of new banks are being systematically cleared as the yellow brick road to the cannabis industry’s access to the financial markets is being paved, brick by brick, by the progressively increasing number and size of banks that are now entering the market.

2021 EEOC Charge Statistics: Retaliation & Impact of Remote Work

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released its detailed information on workplace discrimination charges it received in 2021. Unsurprisingly, for the second year in a row, the total number of charges decreased as COVID-19 either shut down workplaces or disconnected employees from each other. In 2021, the agency received a total of approximately 61,000 workplace discrimination charges - the fewest in 25 years by a wide margin. For reference, the agency received over 67,000 charges in 2020, and averaged almost 90,000 charges per year over the previous 10 years.

Ohio’s Managed Care Overhaul Delayed – New Implementation Timeline

At the direction of Governor Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) launched the Medicaid Managed Care Procurement process in 2019. ODM’s stated vision for the procurement was to focus on people and not just the business of managed care. This is the first structural change to Ohio’s managed care system since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS) approval of Ohio’s Medicaid program in 2005. Initially, all of the new managed care programs were supposed to be implemented starting on July 1, 2022. However, ODM Director Maureen Corcoran recently confirmed that this date will be pushed back for several managed care-related programs.

Laboratory Specimen Collection Arrangements with Contract Hospitals - OIG Advisory Opinion 22-09

On April 28, 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) published an Advisory Opinion[1] in which it evaluated a proposed arrangement where a network of clinical laboratories (the “Requestor”) would compensate hospitals (each a “Contract Hospital”) for specimen collection, processing, and handling services (“Collection Services”) for laboratory tests furnished by the Requestor (the “Proposed Arrangement”). The OIG concluded that the Proposed Arrangement would generate prohibited remuneration under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”) if the requisite intent were present. This is due to both the possibility that the proposed per-patient-encounter fee would be used to induce or reward referrals to Requestor and the associated risk of improperly steering patients to Requestor.