Florida PAs: FAPA needs your help….STAT!

Ok, so STAT is definitely my least favorite word in medicine, but hopefully, it got your attention! The Florida Academy of PAs (FAPA) has put out an “all call” for help, and as a member of FAPA, I want to spread the word! I received an Email today from FAPA asking that we call or email the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, ESPECIALLY if you are a constituent of theirs (meaning your senator is on the committee)!

I URGE all Florida PAs to take a look at the list below and call and email your senator AND these committee members TOMORROW 2/21/2020. Time is of the essence.

This legislation impacts our patients, and our profession in many different ways. Now is not the time to be idle. Get involved and be an Empowered PA!

The Issue:

“In a surprise development on Tuesday, an amendment to a Direct Care Act bill, SB 1676, was put forward to authorize autonomy for primary care APRNs, but not for PAs (or mid-wives or nurse anesthetists).

Our patients, our state and our profession CANNOT afford to accept legislation that excludes PAs.  It is critical that you CALL the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee TODAY and ask the Senators to include PAs within this critical legislation. You may also email the legislative aides if you prefer. The email addresses and phone numbers can be found HERE.  Simply click on the name of the committee member.  Please call the capitol phone number.

 FAPA successfully lobbied for inclusion in HB 607, a bill authorizing autonomous practice by PAs and APRNs. In order for HB 607 to pass, it would have to be voted out of the House, sent to the Senate and heard in the Senate Health Policy Committee.  However, it is anticipated that the Senate Health Policy Committee will not meet again this session.  This is why we must now shift our focus to SB 1676.

 FAPA’s lobbying team continues to work nonstop on behalf of our profession and the patients we serve, but WE NEED YOUR HELP. There are only 22 days left in the legislative session.  Every PA, PA student and our patients who support PAs need to send an email and/or make a phone call to these committee members and your legislators (click here to find yours: http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/Find) and ask for PA inclusion in SB 1676

Thank you in advance for taking action on this very important matter.
 Vernon Wright, PA-C, DFAPPA
FAPA President”

Wait, Wasn’t There a Bill in Florida involving improving patient access to primary care providers that included PAs and APRNs?

Yes, it can be confusing if you aren’t intimately involved in the process. That was a “House Bill”, HB 607 to be exact. This is a Senate Bill and is not attached to that bill. For more information from the FAPA Mid Session Legislative Report posted Today 2/20/2020 click here.

What’s Next: Find Out Who Your Senator is to See if they are on the Appropriations Committee

Go to: FLSenate.gov and put your address in the field, it will tell you who your senator is, and give you a link with their contact information such as email and phone number. If your senator is on the committee list below, we urge you to call or email them, mentioning you are a CONSTITUENT of theirs. Remember they work for the people, and as elected officials, should know about your concerns (in a polite and professional manner of course).

What if my Senator is not on the Senate Committee on Appropriations?

You should still call or email them and be vocal about your concern! Have your spouse, parents, grandparents, neighbors, collaborating physicians, PA-Students, Pre-PAs, residents, fellows, and anyone else you can think of call and/or write a letter! We need numbers to be successful! If you choose to call, you will likely get the aide, it should be a very easy phone call!

Who Are the Members of the Senate Committee on Appropriations?

Chair: Senator Rob Bradley (R)

Vice Chair: Senator Wilton Simpson (R)

What Should I Write or Say?

Big thanks to Kate Callaway for putting this letter together to make it easier. You can always add a personal story or expand upon your PA education in these templates, to personalize them also, try to stick to the topic, be concise and use the AAPA definitions of PAs found here.

My name is ….. 
I am writing to request that you amend and/or support an amendment to SB1676. 
This legislation will expand access to high-quality care for the people of Florida, but the language currently leaves out a large group of highly qualified medical professionals who are currently providing primary care to Florida patients: the Physician Assistants (PAs). 

Within PA education, PAs gain over 2000 hours of clinical patient care hours in generalist/primary care medicine prior to graduation. After graduation, PAs maintain education requirements that keep them current on medical standards of care, by obtaining at least 100 certified medical education (CME) hours every 2 years. Furthermore, PAs take a recertification exam every 10 years to ensure their competency in primary care medicine. 

PAs are medical care providers who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. Approximately 9000 PAs practice in Florida. Leaving PAs out of this legislation was an oversight that will negatively impact medical care for a large number of Florida patients. 

Please amend and support SB1676 to include Physician Assistants. 


Thanks again to FAPA Leadership and Legal team for bringing this to our attention! Please pitch in- let’s help our patients get the care they need and move our profession forward!

-Courtney Titus, PA-C

Physician Assistant, Estie Lab Coat from Medelita

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Physician Assistant, Owner and Blogger at EmpoweredPAs.com. Currently practicing in a Pediatric Emergency Department, overseeing and developing evidence-based clinical practice guidelines with teams of amazing people, supporting and mentoring Pre-PA and PA Students, with a hope to advance our profession and give PAs the tools and resouces they need to advance their careers.