Lining up with Gov. Rick Scott and House leaders, Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, filed a proposal Friday that would eliminate the state's "certificate of need" regulatory process, which helps determine whether hospitals, nursing homes and hospice facilities are built.
The proposal (SB 676) follows the filing last month of a similar measure (HB 7) by Rep. Alex Miller, R-Sarasota. The certificate-of-need process, which has long been a controversial issue in the health-care industry, involves the state Agency for Health Administration reviewing projects and determining whether they should be allowed to move forward.
Scott and House Republican leaders have backed past efforts to end certificates of need for hospitals, though the idea has run into opposition in the Senate. The new bills filed for the legislative session starting March 7 also would apply to nursing homes and hospice facilities.
"By eliminating the state's restrictive CON process we'll increase competition and drive down the cost of health care for Floridians," Bradley said in a prepared statement. "For years, this cumbersome process has been used to block the expansion of facilities and restrict competition. So, in addition to driving costs, we should also see a significant economic impact in terms of the creation of new jobs by removing this barrier."