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House Bill Would Revamp Trauma System

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JusticeSolutions.org

Saying Florida needs more trauma centers to care for injured patients, a House Republican has filed a proposal that would erase limits on the number of trauma facilities across the state.

The bill (HB 1077), filed this week by Rep. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City, is similar to a proposal (SB 746) filed earlier by Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton. Both measures came after years of legal and political fights in the hospital industry about whether more trauma centers should be built. The bills, in part, would repeal a law that places a limit of 44 trauma centers statewide.

Along with eliminating the overall cap, the bills also would end limits on the numbers of trauma centers in each of 19 regions of the state.

In a prepared statement Wednesday, Trumbull said the moves would help improve care.

"For too long, we have allowed outdated rules and bureaucracy to determine who receives access to the best care,” Trumbull said. "When someone is critically injured and suffers extreme trauma, every minute can mean the difference between death and full recovery. We must increase the number of trauma centers and make saving lives our priority."

Critics of getting rid of the limits, however, argue trauma centers are costly to operate and require highly trained medical staffs. They contend that adding new facilities can siphon patients and staff from existing trauma centers.