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Surgical Center Bill Backed By House Panel

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Looking to ease regulations in the health-care industry, a House panel Tuesday approved a bill that would allow patients to stay overnight in ambulatory surgical centers and open the door to facilities known as "recovery care centers."

The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee supported the bill (HB 145). Currently, patients cannot stay overnight in ambulatory surgical centers, but the bill would allow them to stay up to 24 hours. Also, it would allow the creation of recovery-care centers, where patients could stay up to 72 hours after procedures.

Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, said the measure is "patient-centric" and would help hold down health-care costs.

"This gives us patient-centered care and cost savings," Harrell says.

The House approved such changes last year but could not reach agreement with the Senate. Rep. David Richardson, D-Miami Beach, called the proposals "highly controversial" and said he is concerned about the potential financial effects on hospitals if patients shift to the other types of facilities.