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Certificate of Need, Other Health Issues Emerge Again

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

A House committee next week will start renewing attempts to pass three closely watched health-care bills, including a proposal that would eliminate the "certificate of need" process for hospitals. The longstanding regulatory process, in part, requires state approval of new or expanded hospitals. 

The House Select Committee on Affordable Healthcare Access next Thursday will consider a proposal (HB 437), filed by Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, that would eliminate the process for hospitals, as House leaders push for more of a free-market approach to health care.

The committee also will take up a bill (HB 37), filed by Rep. Fred Costello, R-Ormond Beach, that would help clear the way for what are known as "direct primary care" agreements. Such agreements involve patients paying monthly fees to doctors for primary-care services, removing the role of insurers.

The bill would make clear that such agreements are not subject to insurance laws. Also, the committee is slated to consider a proposal (HB 85), filed by Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, that would allow patients to stay at ambulatory surgical centers for up to 24 hours and to allow the operation of longer-term "recovery care" centers.

Under current state law, patients are required to be discharged from ambulatory-surgical centers on the same day they undergo procedures. But the Fitzenhagen bill would allow patients to stay overnight. Also, it would allow "recovery care" centers, where patients could stay up to 72 hours after surgery.

Florida does not currently issue licenses to recovery-care facilities. The House passed all three of the proposals during a June special session, but the Senate did not take them up.