Despite backing from House Republican leaders and Gov. Rick Scott, controversial bills that would have eased regulations on building hospitals and adding trauma centers died Friday night.
The Senate did not take up a bill (HB 7) that would have eliminated the “certificate of need” regulatory process for building hospitals and a bill (HB 1077) that would have changed criteria for adding trauma centers.
Supporters of the measures said they would lead to a more free-market approach that would increase access to care for patients. But critics, including safety-net hospitals that serve large numbers of poor and uninsured patients and operate trauma centers, argued against the changes. They said, in part, that easing the construction of hospitals and adding trauma centers would siphon patients and staff members from longstanding facilities.
Parts of the hospital industry have been embroiled in repeated legal battles in recent years about certificates of need and new trauma centers. Both issues involve needing state approvals before going ahead with new facilities.
The bills died with the scheduled end Friday of the annual legislative session. Lawmakers will return Monday to approve budget-related measures but will not take up other issues.