Florida Medical Association

FMA President Dr. Allen Pillersdorf argues against expanded nurse powers in the House Health Innovation Committee on 3/25/15.
The Florida Channel

A plan to expand the powers of advanced registered nurses hasn’t yet caught on in the legislature, but eased out of a House Health panel Wednesday. The fate of bill remains cloudy, but its sponsor says even if it fails this year—the issue isn’t going away.

Florida Department of Health's website

Among Governor Rick Scott’s agency head reappointments is the chief of the state’s Health Department.

The Governor has tapped Dr. John Armstrong again as Florida’s Surgeon General and the Florida Department of Health’s Secretary.

Armstrong has been in the post since 2012. His predecessor, Dr. Frank Farmer, stepped down after about a year on the job, citing taking care of his wife who has breast cancer.

medical marijuana
Mark via Flickr

A longtime opponent of medical marijuana, the Florida Medical Association this week has officially come out against a proposed constitutional amendment voters will consider in November. The lobby representing more than 20,000 physicians is raising concerns over Amendment Two’s breadth.

flmedical.org / Florida Medical Association

For the past two years, Florida’s top state lawmakers have opposed expanding the Medicaid program for low-income people under the federal health law. The state has rejected more than $51 billion under the federal Affordable Care Act to increase income eligibility limits and add more people to the rolls. Now one of the state’s most powerful physician groups, the Florida Medical Association is backing a Medicaid Expansion, but it may not be enough to change state lawmakers' anti-ACA stance.

LHatter / WFSU News

Jacksonville Doctor Phil Perry is the Chief Medical Officer for Saint Vincent Medical Center, and he’s been using telemedicine at the network’s new Clay County hospital. He says the intensive care staff’s ability to have experts on call at the push of a button has saved lives:

“We have seen one saved life in the care of a sepsis patient. Overall 7 patients’ lives have been saved by the performance of our telehealth facility," Perry told a House health committee.

The nation’s health care delivery system is undergoing major changes, and the lines between what different healthcare providers do is beginning to blur. That’s the backdrop for fights between doctors, nurses and pharmacists, and those fights have become an annual occurrence at Florida’s Capitol, as each group tries to increase or maintain its scope-of-practice.

To put it plainly, these are turf battles. At the center is this debate: access, versus quality. 

Florida’s powerful physician lobby group is coming out against a proposal that would allow nurses to take on additional roles and duties. The proposal would let nurses write more prescriptions—something the doctors say nurses aren’t trained enough to do.

Jackson Healthcare

It now looks likely that Florida lawmakers will at least consider doing something about medical malpractice tort reform this year, but there are differing ideas about what should be done.

One group that’s pushing for reform is called “Patients for Fair Compensation”.  It’s based in Alpharetta, Georgia, a state that’s also considering changes to its medical malpractice laws.  The group is chaired by Rick Jackson.  He’s also chairman and chief executive officer of Jackson Healthcare, the nation's third largest healthcare staffing company.