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House Members Want To Revisit Health Bills

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As House leaders pushed for changes last year in the state's health-care system, they backed the creation of "recovery care centers" and the use of "direct primary care" agreements. But the proposals died among broader disagreements with the Senate about health-care issues.

On Wednesday, Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, and Rep. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, filed bills to revisit the recovery-care center and direct primary-care proposals during the legislative session that begins March 7.

Under Fitzenhagen's bill (HB 145), patients would be allowed to stay up to 24 hours at ambulatory surgical centers. Current law bars overnight stays. Also, the bill calls for allowing the operation of recovery care centers, a new type of entity where patients could stay 72 hours after surgery.

Meanwhile, Burgess' bill (HB 161) would make clear that direct primary-care agreements are not considered insurance and are not governed by state insurance laws. Direct primary-care agreements generally involve monthly payments that patients or their employers make to physicians or other health providers. The payments cover patients' routine primary-care services, cutting out the role of insurers.

Two similar bills have been filed in the Senate for the 2017 session. The recovery-care center bill (SB 222) was filed by Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota; the direct primary-care bill (SB 240) was filed by Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon.