The ultimate objective of every healthcare system is to deliver high-quality medical care to all patients. State and local health departments identify and implement adequate policies and legislation to improve the quality services available to different citizens. The paper below begins with summarizing the Florida’s Physician Assistants legislation of 2016. It goes further to discuss one benefit and disadvantage of this law. The final section describes the legislation’s impact on all stakeholders.
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Summary of the Legislation: Comments
Florida’s legislative assembly passed House Bill 375 to become law on March 28, 2016. The purpose of the original bill was to change the existing procedures for physician assistant (PA) licensure and application. The first issue is that a PA should have completed around 10 hours of medical education in the specialty he or she has a prescriptive privilege (“2016 legislation,” n.d.). This means that a signed affidavit is no longer necessary.
The second provision is that PAs should perform specific services as required by their supervising physicians. The third aspect is that prescriptions can be written electronically or in paper (“2016 legislation,” n.d.). However, they have to comply with existing Florida Statutes, Sections 456.42(1) and 456.0392(1). The new law also made a number of changes in licensure. Firstly, two recommendation letters are no longer needed. Secondly, applicants should not submit a notarized criminal history statement. Thirdly, an examination for licensure is unnecessary for applicants trained in foreign countries.
This legislation is relevant since it has transformed the quality of medical services available to many patients. With the procedure of license application simplified, more PA can practice in Florida and deliver high-quality care (Nickitas, Middaugh, & Aries, 2014). The fact that PAs with criminal histories can offer adequate services in this state is commendable (“2016 legislation,” n.d.). These changes will empower more PAs and make it possible for physicians to achieve their aims.
Strength and Weakness: Comments
The Physician Assistants legislation is currently supporting the needs of many PAs in Florida. This law has presented several strengths that make it appropriate and relevant. The outstanding one is that it minimizes the requirements and conditions that local and foreign PAs require whenever applying for Florida physician assistant license. This is the case since the legislation encourages professionals by eliminating signed affidavits and recommendation letters (“2016 legislation,” n.d.). Qualified individuals who might have criminal histories can also apply for it (“2016 legislation,” n.d.). PAs will partner with other practitioners to deliver high-quality and exemplary health services.
The main weakness associated with this legislation is that PAs in Florida will only perform specific activities or services in accordance with their supervising physicians’ guidelines. Although this provision might be critical in maintaining the highest standards in care delivery, it makes it impossible for them to meet the needs of the greatest number of patients (Nickitas et al., 2014). Such PAs will also be unable to provide emergency medical support without physician delegation (Westrick, 2013). This means that there is a need to consider new policies that can empower PAs to provide a wide range of services in diverse settings.
Impact of the Legislation: Comments
This law has been in place for around two years. It is evident that it has changed the expectations and experiences of both consumers of medical services and providers. Many caregivers, PAs, and physicians have found this new policy meaningful because it has created the best environment for delivering exemplary services. For instance, the number of applicants planning to provide services as PAs has increased significantly (“2016 legislation,” n.d.).
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This means that Florida currently boasts many PAs. These professionals are empowering physicians and making it easier for them to implement superior care delivery models. The law has also addressed most of the predicaments associated with the current nursing shortage. Consequently, more practitioners, PAs, and physicians have reported reduced cases of exhaustion and burnout. They have also managed to coordinate a wide range of health services, including diagnosis, drug prescription, and medical care delivery.
This legislation has improved the experiences and outcomes of many consumers of health services. For example, different clinics and hospitals have many PAs who receive instructions from their physicians.
Consequently, more patients in Florida are receiving timely and exemplary services than ever before. These PAs are also empowered to prescribe specific drugs under certain conditions. They can also collaborate with other professionals to minimize sentinel events (Westrick, 2013). The rate or period of hospitalization in facilities with many PAs has reduced significantly (“2016 legislation,” n.d.). These achievements will eventually increase the number of residents who have access to high-quality and timely medical services.
The passage of House Bill 375 in 2016 resulted in a new law that continues to empower and make it is easier for PAs to apply for Florida physician license. This legislation addressed most of the challenges that many professionals faced, including prolonged burnout and nursing shortage. Despite the issues associated with this policy, many patients can now receive high-quality and sustainable medical services.
2016 legislation. (n.d.). Web.
Nickitas, D. M., Middaugh, D. J., & Aries, N. (2014). Policy and politics for nurses and other health professionals (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.
Westrick, S. J. (2013). Essentials of nursing law and ethics (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.