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Health News Florida

At the Capitol: Trauma Centers, Medicaid Billing, Nursing Homes

The House Health and Human Services Committee had a dilemma when Rep. Matt Gaetz presented his trauma-center bill Tuesday. Members who represent rural areas, as well as some from suburbs, wanted to deregulate it, letting hospitals build Level 2 (Intermediate) trauma centers if they want to. But members who represent urban areas that already have trauma centers -- especially Level 1 centers like Jackson Memorial and Tampa General -- are afraid the suburban competitors would undermine their centers, financially and medically.

Gaetz, who is from rural Okaloosa County, told the committee he realized he can’t get his bill passed without cooperation from urban members. He accepted an amendment from Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville, that would allow new trauma centers as long as they’re 75 miles from existing ones.

But that made some suburban members unhappy. So Gaetz promised them that if they passed his bill, he’d work out a compromise.

In other action, the Senate Health Policy Committee has unanimously approved a new formula for how counties will be billed for Medicaid, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The Florida Association of Counties says the new system will mean much higher costs for the majority of counties, the News Service of Florida reports.

The panel also passed a measure to make it more difficult for families to sue nursing homes, the Times reports.