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72-Hour 'Outpatient' Stay?

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Ambulatory surgery centers would be able to seek a separate license as “recovery care centers” and keep patients on site for up to 72 hours, under a bill that passed the House Health Care Appropriations Committee Monday.

Rep. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota, said HB 7111 would enable young, fit patients who need surgery such as knee replacement to have it done in an "outpatient" center rather than in a hospital. Older, sicker patients, or those expected to need more than 72 hours to recover, would still go to the hospital.

Since federal rules don't allow payment for protracted stays in ambulatory surgery centers,  no Medicare or Medicaid patients could take advantage of the recovery-care option, according to information from the Agency for Health Care Administration. It would be limited to privately insured patients.

As the News Service of Florida reports, an attorney for the Florida Hospital Association said the move would hurt hospitals, shifting younger, healthier, privately insured patients away from hospitals.

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Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.