House Ready to Pass 'Train'
A legislative "train" carrying the most controversial health issues of the 2014 Florida session survived hours of attacks in the House on Thursday without suffering any significant wounds, giving sponsors a sunny forecast for Friday's scheduled vote. (Update, 2:20 p.m., 'Train' Passes House 74-42)
Sponsors of the bills that were rolled into HB 7113 rallied enough votes to deflect every amendment launched by allies of organized medicine.
If the mega-bill passes today, as expected, it will signal an unprecedented setback for the Florida Medical Association; however, FMA could prevail when the bill goes to the Senate.
Issues that drew the most fire were those that would allow:
--Nurse practitioners who have expanded training to set up independent primary care practices.
--Telemedicine consults between in-state patients and out-of-state doctors, without requiring the physicians to have Florida licenses.
--Expansion of the number of technicians that pharmacists could legally supervise.
--The Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County to handle labor contracts with employees of the Jackson hospital system without any say by the county commission.
One issue in the bill that has been controversial but drew little discussion on Thursday was a proposal to "grandfather in" the three HCA hospital trauma centers in Marion, Pasco and Manatee counties that the Department of Health allowed to be built. A judge later said DOH had acted improperly.
For more details on Thursday's action, see Jim Saunders' article from News Service of Florida.