Bill would give nurse practitioners more authority

MIAMI (AP) — With a shortage of primary care physicians across Florida, state lawmakers are pushing a bill to expand the powers of nurse practitioners. It would allow them to prescribe controlled substances and work without supervision from a doctor.

The bill's champion is Rep. Cary Pigman, an emergency room physician who has supervised nurse practitioners for decades. He says Florida has thousands of trained nurse practitioners who can help fill the gap. But the Florida Medical Association and many independent doctors have spoken out against his bill. They say even nurses with advanced training need a doctor's supervision.

Pigman, an Avon Park Republican, calls the current supervision mandate a "sham." He added that he could wind up supervising a nurse practitioner working hundreds of miles away and still be paid for it.