Florida Legislature

HNF Stories
10:02 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Physician Assistant Bill Passes

Florida physicians would be allowed to double the number of certified medical assistants under their supervision under legislation that passed the House.

The bill (HB 1275) would allow most doctors to supervise eight assistants instead of four. The measure passed 100 to 19.

The measure excludes assistants working for doctors at a dermatological service other than their primary practice location, where the maximum number remains four.

HNF Stories
9:55 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

House Bars Insurer Bias on Gun Owners

A Florida bill that would forbid insurance companies from refusing to serve or charging higher rates to applicants based on their ownership of a firearm has been sent to Gov. Rick Scott to sign.

The measure passed the House 74-44 on Tuesday. The bill also prohibits an insurer from disclosing information related to the ownership of weapons by a client without the consent of the insured. It extends to both existing and new policies.

Health News Florida
11:10 am
Mon April 21, 2014

New Approaches on Addiction Debated

Two health issues being addressed in this year’s legislative session both would deal with substance abuse in new ways for Florida: a needle exchange to reduce disease spread among IV drug abusers, and specialized car locks for repeat DUI offenders.

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HNF Stories
10:22 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Gaetz Letter Seeks Medicaid 'Flexibility'

  All session long, Florida's legislative leaders have frustrated advocates for the poor, as well as much of the business community, by declining to talk about the billions of federal dollars for Medicaid expansion that the state is forgoing.

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Health News Florida
10:31 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Immigrant KidCare Plan Unlikely

When the Legislative session resumes next week, bills targeting speed limit increases, juvenile sentencing and medical tourism will head to floor votes in both chambers, the News Service of Florida reports.

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Health News Florida
11:52 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Feds' Action Puts Pressure on FL

Changes in the funding formula for Medicaid that will take many millions of dollars away from large safety-net hospitals such as Jackson Memorial and Tampa General are getting lawmakers' attention, now that it's clear the federal government isn't going to pull the state's fat out of the fire.

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Opinion
10:46 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Feds Compromised; FL Should, Too

Greg Mellowe
Credit Ryan K. Morris/Florida CHAIN

Re: Feds Approve $2.2B for Hospitals, Med Schools

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which allowed a three-year extension of Florida’s Statewide Medicaid Managed Care program, approved only a one-year extension of the Low Income Pool (LIP). The LIP provides the state with additional federal Medicaid funding that hospitals can use to address the issue of uncompensated care for uninsured patients.

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Health News Florida
10:28 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Pot's Value Backed By Science

Credit Cherie Diez / Tampa Bay Times

As lawmakers continue to debate the legalization of medical marijuana, biologists say science supports the medicinal value of pot, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

 

Scientists have identified that marijuana activates the on-off switches in the body that can affect certain cells, including those that affect motion, memory, appetite and judgment, the Times reports.

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Opinion
10:21 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Stop 'Profiteering' From Trauma Care

The woman who in 2002 paved the way for U.S. hospitals to charge trauma response fees says she never imagined that it would become "a back-door way for some hospitals to profiteer."

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Health News Florida
9:28 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Abortion, Gun Bills Pass Before Break

After passing several major bills so far during the 2014 session, the Florida Legislature is taking the week off to observe the Passover and Easter holidays, the Associated Press reports.

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HNF Stories
8:05 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Legislature Taking Holiday Break

The Florida Legislature won't be getting much work done in the next week.

State legislators are taking off the seventh week of the 2014 session because it conflicts with Passover and Easter.

The session lasts 60 days and is scheduled to end in early May.

Legislators have already passed major bills dealing with sex offenders and a rollback in auto registration fees.

However, the Legislature must still pass a state budget in order to adjourn on time.

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Health News Florida
11:41 am
Fri April 11, 2014

'Train' Bill Includes Hospital for Jax

As the House and Senate head toward a collision over trauma centers in late April, a proposal to let UF Health Jacksonville build a new hospital was added to the House health-care "train," HB 7113.

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HNF Stories
10:55 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Compromise Saves Crisis Funding

Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring.

When there's a big fight brewing, call in the grownups. It helps if one is a nurse.

On Thursday, with mental-health centers and hospitals ready to fight over state funds for crisis stabilization, Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring,  presented a compromise on SB 1726 to the Appropriations Committee that passed unanimously

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HNF Stories
9:10 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Crisis-Unit Funding Fight Today

A dramatic restructuring of the way Florida pays for crisis care in mental health -- one that pits hospitals against crisis stabilization units -- comes to a head today.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has scheduled a five-hour meeting Thursday beginning at 1 p.m. to handle two dozen matters, including SB 1726.  It would shift some of the money that now goes to the crisis units, called CSUs, to hospitals that are so-called "Baker Act receiving facilities" because they take in patients who qualify for involuntary treatment under a state law commonly called the Baker Act.

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HNF Stories
7:00 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Health Care 'Train' Coming?

Leaders of the Florida House, hoping to protect their pet health issues from being picked apart in the Senate,  have bundled them into a package to be introduced Thursday morning. In legislative parlance, they're creating a "train."

The idea of a train is that it's a bunch of railcars that are connected and it would be hard to remove one of them without causing them all to derail. As a practical matter, it means some lawmakers might have to accept a bill they don't like in order to get one that's a must-pass.

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HNF Stories
5:09 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Bill Cuts Crisis-Unit Funds

Every time there is a mass shooting, everyone agrees there should be more focus on identifying and treating persons with emergency mental health problems.

But a mental-health bill up that comes up this week in Senate Appropriations would have the opposite result, according to consumer groups in mental health.

"We call it the 'Nightmare of the Senate'," said Maggie Labarta, clinical psychologist and CEO of Meridian Behavioral Health Care in Gainesville. 

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Health News Florida
10:59 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Drug Bills Get Cost Warnings

Despite criticism that it would cost the state Medicaid program too much, a bill that would let doctors break plan rules on prescribing passed its final Senate committee on Tuesday, The Florida Current reports.

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HNF Stories
8:21 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Telemedicine Bill Still in Play

A Senate bill that would increase the use of telemedicine and establish requirements for health providers who treat patients remotely remains in play in Florida’s Legislature.

A companion bill is also making its way through the House, but that bill doesn't require doctors to have a Florida license — only that they be licensed in their home state and registered in Florida.

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Health News Florida
10:33 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Lawmakers Tighten Abortion ‘Viability’ Bill

A bill that would prohibit doctors from doing an abortion if the fetus could survive "with medical intervention" -- passed Florida’s Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, according to the Orlando Sentinel. A companion bill passed the House Judiciary Committee on Friday. The bill would, in effect, require physicians to determine whether a fetus is "viable" -- can survive -- with medical treatment.

Health News Florida
10:20 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Health Groups Push Back Against E-Cig Bill

Health groups are fighting a House measure that they claim will put tobacco products into teens’ hands, the News Service of Florida reports. The Florida House measure HB 169 would prevent those under 18 from buying electronic cigarettes, among other restrictions.

Health News Florida
10:30 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Capitol: Drugs, Abortion, Disabled Students, Parasailing

Several health-related bills continue moving forward as Florida’s Legislature hits the half-way mark.  The issues include:

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Health News Florida
10:18 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Debate Lingers Over Trauma Centers, Fees

HCA Healthcare’s argument that their trauma centers save the lives of more Floridians is based on internal research that’s yet to be released to the public, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

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HNF Stories
10:00 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Bill Takes on Unlicensed Health Clinics

There is one simple way for a Florida medical clinic to avoid being licensed and undergoing an annual inspection: Don't accept insurance.

A bill moving through the Legislature would close that loophole for so-called cash-only clinics, which can escape government oversight because the statutory definition of a clinic is interpreted as an operation that takes third-party insurance.

The bill (SB 746) sponsored by Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, would require that all medical clinics be subject to licensure, renewal and inspection, whether they accept insurance or not.

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Health News Florida
9:37 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Senate Boss Hesitant to Back KidCare Bill

Senate President Don Gaetz says he’s reluctant to support a bill that would speed up the amount of time it takes legal immigrant children to enroll in the state KidCare insurance program. An estimated 25,000 children would qualify sooner for the subsidized insurance program for low- and moderate-income families, the News Service of Florida reports.

HNF Stories
10:35 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Health Items in Senate, House Budgets

LaCrai Mitchell/State Impact Florida

The Florida Senate and the Florida House have passed their budgets for the 2014 legislative session.

From a Florida Senate news release, here is a look at the health funding in the Senate’s $74.9 billion budget:

Health and Human Services

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HNF Stories
11:27 am
Thu April 3, 2014

With Senate's Latest Approval, ‘Warning Shot’ Bill Now Heads To Gov. Scott

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 6:09 pm

The so-called “Warning Shot” bill is heading to the Governor’s desk, after the Senate passed the measure Thursday. But, debate grew heated as some Democrats tried—and failed—to amend the bill.

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HNF Stories
11:09 am
Thu April 3, 2014

House Health Panel OKs Dental Carveout

The House Health & Human Services Committee on Thursday approved HB 27, which would take away $200 million in children’s dental services from the Medicaid HMOs and other plans that have already contracted with the state to provide complete medical and dental care for patients of all ages.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Jose Diaz, R-Miami, passed 11 to 6.

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Health News Florida
11:05 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Child Welfare Bills Combined by Senate

The Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee voted to combine three child welfare bills into one (SB 1666) on Wednesday, the News Service of Florida reports. In the wake of reports of children who have died after the Florida Department of Children and Families made contact with them, lawmakers are proposing several changes at the agency. It is unclear how much additional funding lawmakers will ask for; Gov.

HNF Stories
3:37 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Lawmakers Poised to Ban E-Cig Sales to Kids

Esmoker Online store manager Dave Allen demonstrates an e-cigarette with a lanyard accessory.
Alicia Mandigo

A bill that would ban sales to minors recently passed the Florida Senate unanimously, and a similar bill is pending in the House.  

What started out as an online, underground fad is now a billion dollar business. Electronic cigarettes,  often called e-cigarettes, really aren't cigarettes at all because there's no tobacco, no flame and no smoke. But there are still a lot of questions about where they can be used and whether they pose a health risk. 

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Opinion
10:41 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Why Doesn’t Speaker Care About Springs?

An editorial by the Ocala Star-Banner is blasting the Florida House for ignoring the plight of Florida’s springs, especially as their counterparts in the Senate work on comprehensive springs protection. The Star-Banner calls House Speaker Will Weatherford’s inaction on springs “appalling.” 

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