The Barbara Lumpkin Prescribing Bill, supported by Baptist Health South Florida, expands powers of advanced registered nurses
and physician assistants

MIAMI – April 14, 2016 – When Florida House Bill 423 was passed unanimously this month allowing advanced nurse practitioners and physician assistants to prescribe controlled drugs, lobbyist Barbara Lumpkin, R.N., saw years of hard work coming to an end.

And then the 78-year-old received the surprise of her life. The bill was formalized in the name of a woman who has become a nursing legend.

“It was an incredible honor to have the bill named after me, especially since legislators are incredibly stingy when it comes to naming a bill after someone,” Lumpkin said with a chuckle.

She should know. For the past four decades, Lumpkin walked the state capitol advocating for the nursing profession and watched as young politicians grew into mature legislators. The Barbara Lumpkin Prescribing Bill, which is expected to make healthcare more efficient and less expensive for patients, goes into effect Jan. 1.

“At Baptist Health South Florida, we put our support behind our nurses and the tremendous work they do. The Barbara Lumpkin Prescribing Bill has been one of our top priorities in Tallahassee for many years and Barbara was relentless in her pursuits,” said Brian E. Keeley, president and chief executive officer of Baptist Health.

The bill’s biggest benefit to health consumers is that people no longer will have to wait to see a second medical professional to get the medicine they need. A nurse practitioner with a master’s or doctoral degree and physician assistants will be able to prescribe controlled drugs, including pain and ADHD medications. Florida, which has the second largest population of ARNPs, is the last state to allow the prescription privileges.

Lumpkin, of Orlando, joined the Tallahassee forces of Baptist Health South Florida in 2007 after she retired from the Florida Nurses Association (FNA), where she led the Legislative Program.

“Nurses are the largest healthcare system, and people trust nurses. Baptist Health South Florida is so wonderful to work with because they encourage registered nurses to be involved with and to understand public health policy. Nurses are key to involvement with public health issues,” said Lumpkin, who will miss her lobbying days in Tallahassee but plans to visit and stay involved.

The reason the bill finally passed, Lumpkin said, was because of its champions: Sen. Denise Grimsley, a registered nurse, and Rep. Cary Pigman, M.D., who is an emergency medicine physician in Sebring.

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