Florida lawmakers vote to expand pharmacists' roles in fighting coronavirus

Florida lawmakers voted March 11 to allow pharmacists and some nurses to expand their practices and perform certain medical acts without physician supervision, a move that some hope will give people more treatment options during the coronavirus outbreak, the Tampa Bay Times reported

One of the two bills the lawmakers voted on allows pharmacists to test and treat patients for flu and strep throat and treat chronic medical conditions. It requires pharmacists to recommend follow-ups with physicians if necessary. 

The other bill allows highly trained advanced practice registered nurses to provide primary care without a physician, according to the Tampa Bay Times

The bills need the approval of the governor.

Republican Sen. Travis Hurtson, who represents Elkton, Fla., said that during the coronavirus outbreak, it is best to give people more options for treatment, according to the Tampa Bay Times

But lawmakers who voted against the bill argued that allowing pharmacists and registered nurses, who don't have to report to the state's board of medicine, was a "real danger to patients."

The Florida Medical Association tweeted that while the coronavirus outbreak continues, it's dangerous to encourage "potentially infected individuals" to visit grocery store and local pharmacies for healthcare treatment "by individuals not trained to practice medicine."

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