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Florida Physician Groups Launch Patient Empowerment Campaign

The Florida Academy of Family Physicians and the Florida Medical Association have joined forces to launch The Physician Decision, a patient empowerment campaign to help educate on the importance of seeking a physician-led care team. According to the Florida physician groups, data from the American Medical Association shows that APRNs who practice independently in Florida are more likely to prescribe unnecessary medications, diagnostic imaging and referrals, jeopardizing the quality, safety and cost of patient care.

“In an ideal healthcare setting, a patient’s care is overseen by a physician who’s uniquely trained and qualified to diagnose and treat the patient,” said John Gross, MD, Florida Academy of Family Physicians Board Chair. “Our goal is to empower patients to seek a physician-led care team to ensure they receive the best possible healthcare outcome.”

The patient empowerment campaign, The Physician Decision, intends to educate patients that may not realize they are being treated by a non-physician when they go in for an appointment and empower patients to ask for a physician to lead their care team in order to ensure the best possible healthcare outcome.

In the state of Florida, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses can practice independently within parameters. Prior to the scope of practice expansion for APRNs, only a physician was granted independent practice.

Physicians (MD/DO) undertake eight years of formal education and a minimum three-year residency under supervision involving more than 15,000 hours of clinical training to properly diagnose and treat patients, compared to a nurse practitioners’ five-and-a-half to seven years of education and 500-1,500 hours of clinical training. Data from the American Medical Association shows that mid-level health professionals who can practice independently in Florida are more likely to prescribe unnecessary medications, diagnostic imaging and referrals, jeopardizing the quality, safety and cost of patient care.

Under a physician-led care model, often patients are seen by a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant for their initial visit, where the professional will listen to the patient’s symptoms or concerns, discuss medical history, consider the diagnosis and potential treatment options and involve the supervising physician. Critically important is the collaboration happening, either seen or unseen, that ensures the best possible outcome for the patient’s health and wellbeing.

“Physicians highly value the contributions that Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants and all mid-level practitioners make to their practices and the healthcare system as a whole,” said Douglas Murphy, MD, Florida Medical Association Board President. “What we’re advising patients is to seek a physician as their lead primary care provider for the best possible care outcome.”

The Florida Academy of Family Physicians is composed of more than 6,500 family medicine physicians, resident physicians, and medical students from across the state. The FAFP works to advance the specialty of family medicine by promoting excellence and improvement in the healthcare of all Floridians. Their priority is helping their members become the best family physicians they can be through effective communication, legislation/regulation, education, advocacy, research and motivation. The FAFP is the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians, which represents more than 136,000 members nationwide. 

The Florida Medical Association is a professional association dedicated to the service and assistance of Doctors of Medicine and Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine in Florida. The FMA represents more than 25,000 members on issues of legislation and regulatory affairs, medical economics and education, public health, and ethical and legal issues. They advocate for physicians and their patients to promote the public’s health, ensure the highest standards of medical practice, and to enhance the quality and availability of healthcare in Florida.

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