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Olivia Expresses Optimism On Health Regulation Issues

Jose Oliva addressing a room.
Florida House of Representatives
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

They can work it out. That was House Speaker Jose Oliva’s sentiment Wednesday when asked about the differences between the House and Senate versions of certificate of need legislation. 

“Certainly, we like our version, as I am certain they like their version,” Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, told The News Service of Florida. “We have to work together to get this stuff done.”

The House last week passed a measure (HB 21) that would eliminate the so-called CON program altogether.

Meanwhile, a Senate health care panel this week supported a scaled-back version (SB 1526) that would eliminate the regulatory program for only new hospital construction. Oliva has made a priority of eliminating the program, which involves hospitals, nursing homes and hospice providers needing state approval before building new facilities or starting new programs.

The Senate health care panel also has approved a bill that would establish a drug importation program, a telehealth bill and a bill that would expand “direct primary care” arrangements to include dentists, all priorities for Oliva.

“The truth is there are several things moving in the Senate that I am grateful for that probably aren’t in the form that I’d like to see them end up in. But I’m grateful they are moving. We made a commitment to really try to work together and to prevent any sort of animosity that we can,” Oliva said. “And so far, we have been able to accomplish that.”

Lawmakers are halfway through the 60-day legislative session. Oliva has made reducing health care costs a top priority for the session.