News By Industry
News from Tallahassee for 3/8/14
Senate, House Differ on Telemedicine posted on 3/6/14
by JIM SAUNDERS | NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
A Senate committee Wednesday approved a proposal aimed at boosting the use of the telemedicine in Florid, a plan that differs significantly from the House’s plan.
The Senate Health Policy Committee voted 7-2 for a measure (SPB 7028) that would establish guidelines and requirements for health providers who want to treat patients remotely through the use of Internet and telecommunications technology.
A House select committee on Monday passed its version (HB 751), but the two chambers appear to disagree about the amount of regulation that should be applied to telemedicine. The House version includes relatively light regulation. But the Senate bill, for example, would limit the definition of telemedicine providers to physicians.
The Florida Nurses Association and other groups objected to such a limitation Wednesday. Stan Whittaker, chairman of the Florida Association of Nurse Practitioners, said nurse practitioners would be "severely limited, if not left out, by the bill."
When asked about the issue, Senate Health Policy Chairman Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, pointed to the fact that physicians have been to medical school. The only dissenters on the Senate committee were Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring.
Bean and others cautioned that the Senate bill likely will face changes as the legislative session moves forward. "It's a start," Bean said. "We've got a long way to go."
Ten Issues to Watch During the 2014 Session posted on 3/3/14
by staff | news service of florida
Florida lawmakers will start the 2014 session Tuesday with a budget surplus and an eye on the November elections. But they still will have to address some tough questions before the session ends May 2. Among the questions: How can Florida better protect vulnerable children? Is it time to overhaul the state pension system? And should the state allow resort casinos to set up shop? Here are 10 issues to watch during the next two months:
BRIGHTER BUDGET: Tallahassee is always a happier place when the state has a budget surplus. And lawmakers will go into the session with a roughly $1 billion cushion. Gov. Rick Scott proposed a $74.2 billion budget plan that includes tax cuts and increased spending on education and child welfare. Lawmakers don’t have to follow Scott's recommendations, but cutting taxes and spending money on kids could be popular ideas in an election year....
HEALTH CARE FIGHTS: The 2013 legislative session was filled with debate about whether Florida should expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. While Democrats will try to resurrect the issue this year, a Medicaid expansion is all but dead. But the health-care world could see a couple of major lobbying fights, including a hospital-industry battle about state approvals of new trauma centers. Also, a debate has been raging about a House proposal to allow nurse practitioners to provide care without the supervision of physicians.
Senate Proposal Would Revamp Trauma Approvals posted on 2/27/14
by JIM SAUNDERS | NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA
After more than two years of legal and political wrangling in the hospital industry, a Senate proposal (SB 1276) would overhaul the way Florida approves trauma centers and could ensure that three disputed trauma facilities remain open.
The proposal, filed this week by Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, could short-circuit a debate about how the Florida Department of Health determines where new trauma centers should be allowed to open.
It also would allow trauma centers in operation on July 1 to remain open -- a proposal that likely would ensure the continued operation of trauma facilities at Blake Medical Center in Manatee County, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Pasco County and Ocala Regional Medical Center in Marion County. Those hospitals have been at the center of the ongoing legal battles.
The proposal, filed a week before the start of the annual legislative session, could touch off a fierce lobbying battle.
The changes would help the HCA health-care chain, which has opened the trauma facilities at Blake Medical Center, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point and Ocala Regional Medical Center and has sought to open trauma centers elsewhere. But the proposal likely will draw opposition from major hospitals in the Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and Gainesville areas that have battled HCA and the Department of Health about new trauma approvals.
Senate Pres.: No on Nurses' Bill posted on 2/25/14
by Carol Gentry | Health News Florida
Don Gaetz, president of the Florida Senate, could present a formidable obstacle to passage of a bill that would increase the powers and independence of nurse practitioners.
News Service of Florida, which interviewed Gaetz last Friday, reported he opposes a House bill that would give advanced-practice nurses more authority, including prescribing of controlled substances. The bill would also set up a pathway to independent practice, not supervised by physicians.
The House Select Committee on Health Care Workforce Innovation passed the bill (PCB SCHCWI 14-01) 13-2 last Tuesday, drawing bipartisan support, as Health News Florida reported. Gaetz, R-Niceville, offered his opinion four days later.
It raises the question: Will Gaetz play the same role with the nurse bill this year that House Speaker Will Weatherford played last year with Medicaid expansion (and likely will do so again)? In other words: Will he play spoiler?
As Senate president, Gaetz can kill legislation. But when News Service of Florida asked if the House proposal is dead in the Senate, he did not give a direct answer. "I'll vote against it if it gets to the floor,'' he said.
He objected to the bill using the same phrases as physicians and medical students who testified against it last week. "I think if you want to be a doctor, go to medical school," Gaetz said.
Talk on Telemedicine Postponed posted on 2/19/14
by MARY SHEDDEN | Health News Florida
For the second consecutive week, Florida’s Senate Health Policy Committee delayed voting on a comprehensive telemedicine bill (SB 7028).
Chairman Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, said Tuesday that a last-minute amendment prompted the delay to redefine the telemedicine law first created in 2003. A few people spoke about telemedicine at the end of the meeting, but legislators deferred discussion to another meeting.
Follow us on Twitter