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Overnight Surgery Centers Get House Help

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

Despite objections from the hospital industry, a House panel Tuesday approved a bill that would allow patients to stay overnight at ambulatory surgical centers and would open the door for longer-term "recovery care centers."

The bill (HB 999), backed by the House Health Innovation Subcommittee, would revise part of state law that requires patients to be discharged from ambulatory surgical centers on the same day they are admitted and prevents overnight stays.

The bill, filed by Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, would allow patients to stay in the surgical centers for up to 24 hours. Also, in a change made during Tuesday's meeting, the subcommittee approved allowing "recovery care centers," which would be facilities where patients could stay for 72 hours after surgery.

The facilities would not be available to patients who need intensive-care services, coronary services or critical-care services.

Rep. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican who proposed adding recovery care centers to the bill said the House approved the same idea last year. But hospital-industry officials argued against the bill, in part because they said it could hurt hospitals financially.

Mark Delegal, a lobbyist for the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, said profitable services would be "exported" from hospitals to the other facilities. Hospital officials said they would be left to care for unprofitable patients, such as people who lack insurance.