New Florida Laws For ARNPs and PAs Prescribing Controlled Substances

Florida’s 2016 legislative session gave the authority to advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) and physician assistants (PAs) to now prescribe controlled substances.  This however is subject to approval by their supervising practitioner and it is not a complete grant of prescribing authority.  Some of the restrictions are listed below.  As always, we remind you to check with the proper authorities for the new and changing laws.


ARNPs are now allowed to “prescribe, dispense, administer, or order any drug” under a supervisory arrangement with a practitioner. In order to dispense a controlled substance, the ARNP must have “graduated from a program leading to a master’s or doctoral degree in a clinical nursing specialty area with training in specialized practitioner skills.” This could leave some ARNPs without the authority to prescribe controlled substances.

The Florida Board of Nursing is required to establish a committee to recommend a formulary of controlled substances that ARNPs can and cannot prescribe or only prescribe for specific uses or in limited quantities, or to limit the prescribing of certain drugs to certain types of ARNPs. 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. With the exception of “controlled substances that are psychiatric medications” prescribed by ARNPs who are psychiatric nurses, ARNPs cannot prescribe more than a 7-day supply of a Florida Schedule II controlled substance. It is not clear whether “psychiatric mental health controlled substances” are the same as “controlled substances that are psychiatric medications.” The requirements are set forth in the ARNP rules (Rule 64B9-4.016, F.A.C.). The formulary applies to prescribed drugs, but not those “dispensed for administration” (drugs administered directly to the patient).

ARNPs practicing in facilities licensed under Chapter 395 and Part II of Chapter 400, FS, (generally hospitals and nursing homes) may, within their protocol arrangements, order any medication for administration to a patient.


PAs were also granted Florida controlled substance dispensing authority effective January 1, 2017.  This is subject to the protocols with the supervising physician and subject to certain limitations in the PAs’ formulary:

Physician Assistants may not prescribe psychiatric mental health controlled substances for children younger than 18 years of age

Physician Assistants may only prescribe a 7-day supply of Schedule II controlled substances as listed in Section 893.03, FS

Physician Assistants may order any medication for administration to the supervising practitioner’s patients allowed by the supervising practitioner in any licensed facility according to Chapter 395 and Part II of Chapter 400, FS, (generally hospitals and nursing homes).

Remember, your license is your livelihood. PAs and ARNPs need guidance during any interaction with the appropriate Florida Boards and should rely on an experienced license defense attorney to protect their career and their livelihood.   If you feel your Florida license is in jeopardy in any of the healthcare fields, or a student in any of the healthcare fields with licensing issues, Soreide Law Group will represent you in disciplinary hearings in front of the appropriate Board.  To speak with an attorney at no cost call: (888) 760-6552.