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Senate Panel Backs Longer Stays At Surgical Centers

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

A Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill that would let patients stay overnight at ambulatory-surgical centers --- but backed away from allowing another type of facility where patients could recover for longer periods after surgery.

The proposal (SB 212), sponsored by Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, is one of a series of bills in the House and Senate aimed at easing health-care regulations.

Under current law, patients at ambulatory-surgical centers cannot stay overnight. But the bill would allow them to stay up to 24 hours.

The Senate Health Policy Committee voted 7-2 to approve the measure, with Minority Leader Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, and Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, opposed. The vote came after substantial changes to the bill.

The committee eliminated a proposal that would have allowed the creation of what are known as "recovery care centers," where patients would be able to stay up to 72 hours after surgeries.

Also, the committee approved a change that would require ambulatory-surgical centers to provide services to Medicare and Medicaid patients and provide charity care. Those changes could set up a conflict with House Republican leaders, who, in part, have strongly supported the concept of recovery care centers.