Healthcare Providers Want More Authority To Treat Patients

Feb 26, 2013

Some Florida healthcare providers are pushing lawmakers to make changes that would allow them to offer more services to patients. But  other physician groups are concerned that the move could result in worse care for consumers.

They’re called scope-of-practice fights. And they happen when one group of healthcare providers wants to offer services that have been offered exclusively by another group. For example: Florida optometrists, who usually prescribe glasses, want the ability to prescribe drugs usually done by opthalmologists—the people who do eye surgery. All of this isn’t sitting well with traditional doctors, who say letting others practice outside their primary scope of practice isn’t a good idea.

“Just because the state of Florida in statute says you’re qualified without training, doesn’t mean you are qualified," said Former state Republican Senator Durell Peaden.

He says different providers have had different amounts of training and education, and they shouldn't be allowed to do the same things.

Also looking to get additional authority are Florida nurses who want to be able to treat patients outside of hospitals, and renal doctors want to administer vaccines—something usually done by primary care physicians. Supporters say the increase in authority is needed as more people gain insurance coverage in the next few years and begin seeking services.

*Correction: The sentence, "Florida optometrists, who usually prescribe glasses, want the ability to prescribe drugs usually done by optometrists—the people who do eye surgery" has been changed to reflect that opthalmologists do eye surgery. Pardon the typo.