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Public Policy & Advocacy

New Laws That May Affect Your Practice

Florida Chapter ACP Services, Inc.
Christopher L. Nuland, Esq.
Chapter Counsel & Lobbyist

Florida House Bill 699 was signed into law on June 19, 2006. Among the important provisions of this legislation are physician supervision requirements for satellites offices (offices other than a physician's primary office) that utilize nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with special rules for those satellite offices that practice primarily aesthetic skin care services.. Additionally, the number and location of satellite offices that can be supervised will be limited in number. The bill also reduces physician CME requirements for HIV and domestic violence.

A section by section; analysis follows:
Section 1: Changes the current biennial requirement for a one-hour domestic violence course to a two-hour course every third biennial.

This reduces the burden of taking mandatory domestic violence CME.

Section 2: Changes the current biennial requirement for HIV CME from once every biennium to once, just before the first renewal.

This reduces the burden of taking mandatory HIV CME.

Section 3: Mandates that ARNP protocol be part of the ARNP's practitioner profile.

Allows public access to such protocols, likely leading to better-drafted and explicit documents.

Section 4: Technical section implementing Sections 1 and 2.

Section 5: Amends Florida Statute 458.348 to regulate supervisory relationships in medical office settings.

The provision states, "A supervisory relationship in medical office setting: A physician who supervises an advanced registered nurse practitioner or physician assistant at a medical office other than the physician's primary practice location, where the advanced registered nurse practitioner or physician assistant is not under the onsite supervision of a supervising physician, must comply with the standards set forth in this subsection, or the purpose of this subsection, a "physician's primary practice location" means the address reflected on the physician's profile published pursuant to F.S. 456.041

(a) A physician who is engaged in providing primary health care services may not supervise more than four offices in addition to the physician's primary practice location. For the purpose of this subsection, "primary health care" means health care services that are commonly provided to patients without referral from another practitioner, including obstetrical and gynecological services, and excludes practices providing primarily dermatological and skin care services, which include aesthetic skin care service." (emphasis added)

This section limits to four the number of satellite facilities (in addition to a primary care physician's office) a primary care physician may supervise. A further discussion of the rules for those who provide primarily skin care services is provided in subsection (c).

(b) A physician who is engaged in providing specialty health care services may not supervise more than two offices in addition to the physician's primary practice location. For the purpose of this subsection, "specialty health care" means health care services that are commonly provided to patients with a referral from another practitioner and excludes practices providing primarily dermatological and skin services, which aesthetic skin care services.

(c) A physician who supervises an advanced registered nurse practitioner or physician assistant at a medical office other than the physician's primary practice location, where the advanced registered nurse practitioner or physician assistant is not under the onsite supervision of a supervising physician and the services offered at the office are primarily dermatological or skin care services, which include aesthetic skin care services other than plastic surgery, must comply with the standards listed in subparagraphs 1-4, Notwithstanding s-458.347 (4) (e) 8., a physician supervising a physician assistant pursuant to this paragraph may not be required to review and cosign charts or medical records prepared by such physician assistant.

1. The physician shall submit to the board (Board of Medicine) the addresses of all offices where he or she is supervising an advanced registered nurse practitioner or physician's assistant, which are not the physician's primary practice location.

2. The physician must be board-certified or board-eligible in dermatology or plastic surgery as recognized by the board pursuant to s. 458.3312.

3. All such offices that are not the physician's primary place of practice must be within 25 miles of the physician's primary place of practice or in the count that is contiguous to the count of the physician's primary place of practice. However, the distance between any of the offices may not exceed 75 miles.

4. The physician may supervise only one office other than the physician's primary place of practice except that until July 1, 2011, the physician may supervise up to two medical offices other than the physician's primary place of practice if the addresses of the offices are submitted to the board before July 1, 2006. Effective July 1, 2011, the physician may supervise only one office other than the physician's primary place of practice, regardless of when the addresses of the offices were submitted to the board.

This is the most controversial of the sections, and will require modification by some physicians. However, it is instructive to review what the above does NOT do. Subsection (c) does not affect

  1. Facilities in which neither PAs nor ARNPs perform "primarily" skin care services. As long as such a satellite performs primary care, which may include skin care services, it is regulated under subsection (a);
  2. Facilities in which the only service being performed by the ARNP or PA is hair removal;

If the internist owns a satellite, which is dedicated to the services described and is unable to add primary care services, he or she may (a) either engage a plastic surgeon or dermatologist as a medical director to provide the required supervision or (b) limit the services to non-medical services and not engage an ARNP or PA.

(d) A physician who supervises an office in addition to the physician's primary practice location must conspicuously post in each of the physician's offices a current schedule of the regular hours when the physician is present in that office and the hours when the office is open while the physician is not present.

This section affects all satellites, but does NOT require any minimum presence by the physician, only that the patient is notified if and when a physician is likely to be present.

The Section also provides exceptions and requires specialists who receive referrals to give the patient the option of seeing the physician and the type of practitioner in writing. In any event, the specialist must review the chart or written report of the initial examination and issue a written report to the referring physician within 10 days.

This section responds to the concerns of ACP members who often would refer a patient, only to have that patient seen by an extender without the specialist physician ever seeing the patient.

Section 6. Repeals obsolete language in the D.O. statutes.

Section 7. Applies section 5 to D.O.s

Section 8. Requires the Board of Nursing to review ARNP protocols for compliance with state law. Under current law such protocols are filed but not reviewed.

Section 9. Instructs the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability to study the state's nursing shortage.

In other news, on June 12, 2006, the Governor capped several years of effort by signing Florida House Bill 587, the FSPS' Truth in Medical Education (TIME). Under this legislation, all health care providers will be required to disclose to patients (either orally, in writing, or by wearing a nametag that includes this information) the license under which they are operating. Moreover, all health practitioners advertising also must disclose this information. The law, which becomes effective July 1, 2006, will enable patients to know the true educational and professional training of those wishing to treat them, and includes a legislative finding of fact that several practitioners are misrepresenting their credentials and thereby creating a threat to patient safety. Special thanks to House sponsor Bill Galvano, and Senate sponsor Mike Bennett for making this fine bill a reality.

I hope that the above is useful. Should you have any questions, or if I may be of further assistance, please feel free to contact Christopher L. Nuland, Esq., Chapter Counsel & Lobbyist at (904) 355-1555.

Page updated: 6/26/06