The Governor of Florida recently signed legislation that will permit advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) and physician assistants (PAs) to prescribe, order, and administer controlled substances. These provisions will become effective on January 1, 2017.

As to ARNPs, the Board of Nursing (Board) must establish a committee to recommend a formulary of controlled substances from which an ARNP may or may not prescribe. The formulary must restrict the prescribing of psychiatric mental health controlled substances for children younger than 18 years of age to ARNPs who are also psychiatric nurses. Additionally, the formulary must limit the prescribing of Schedule II controlled substances to a 7-day supply, except that such restriction will not apply to controlled substances that are psychiatric medications prescribed by psychiatric nurses. Controlled substances prescriptive authority is only reserved for those ARNPs who have obtained a master's or doctoral degree in a clinical nursing specialty area with training in specialized practitioner skills. The Board has until October 31, 2016 to adopt, by rule, the formulary committee's recommendations.

As to PAs, controlled substances will be eliminated from the current exclusionary formulary. The formulary must, however, restrict the prescribing of Schedule II controlled substances to a 7-day supply. The formulary must also restrict the prescribing of psychiatric mental health controlled substances for children younger than 18 years of age. PAs will be permitted to prescribe controlled substances as delegated by a supervising physician.

Currently, ARNPs and PAs are not permitted to prescribe, administer, or dispense controlled substances. Click here to view the text of the newly passed legislation.