Florida Legislature

The Florida Legislature is moving forward with a bill that could restrict abortion access. But similar measures have been struck down in other states.

House Panel Approves Tweaks To Pot Law

Jan 26, 2016

A House panel gave approval Monday to a bill that would tweak the state's low-THC cannabis law.

Judge Raises Red Flag About Pot Licenses But Can't Stop Them

Jan 25, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Florida health officials lack the authority to issue final licenses to the state's first medical marijuana businesses, but an administrative law judge can't do anything to stop them, according to an order issued Friday.

Transparency, 'Telehealth' Bills Moving In House

Jan 21, 2016
myfloridahouse.gov

Continuing to look for different approaches to health care, a House committee Wednesday approved bills that would require more transparency about medical costs and seek to expand the use of "telehealth."

Balance Billing Among Legislative Priorities For Cabinet

Jan 21, 2016
State of Florida / State of Florida

Citrus, rape kits, credit card skimmers, synthetic drugs, life insurance, water, medical bills, racketeering and Iran.

That is the short version of the legislative priorities for Florida's three independently elected Cabinet members. While they can't sponsor or vote on bills or sign them into law, the Cabinet members hold important leadership roles in state government and each is working with lawmakers to pass legislation.

Last year, lawmakers in Tallahassee fought over how to fund health care for uninsured Floridians. Now two new reports say county leaders are the ones who really need to be concerned.

Senate Panel Backs Longer Stays At Surgical Centers

Jan 20, 2016
WLRN

A Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill that would let patients stay overnight at ambulatory-surgical centers --- but backed away from allowing another type of facility where patients could recover for longer periods after surgery.

Bill Would Require Stricter Standards For Abortion Clinics

Jan 20, 2016
Florida House of Representatives

Abortion clinics would have to meet strict new licensing requirements under a bill being considered by the Florida Legislature.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

A final report from Gov. Rick Scott’s Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding is recommending that Floridians should be able to find out ahead of time what it will actually cost before going into the hospital for non-emergency treatment.

Paramedics, EMTs Could Get Public-Records Exemption

Jan 19, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Florida senators this week could approve a bill that would create a public-records exemption for information about paramedics and emergency-medical technicians.

The Senate on Friday took up the bill (SB 320), filed by Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, and could vote on it during a floor session Thursday. The bill would prevent the release of records that include personal information, such as home addresses, telephone numbers and photographs, of current and former paramedics and emergency-medical technicians.

Disabilities Jobs Bill Heads To Gov. Scott

Jan 19, 2016
Florida Senate

The Florida Senate approved legislation Friday aimed at helping people with disabilities become economically independent, completing what Senate President Andy Gardiner called a "trifecta" of bills headed to Gov. Rick Scott.

The measure (HB 7003) would encourage state agencies to employ more people with disabilities, recognize businesses that hire them and establish a program to teach them financial literacy.

Lawmakers put the brakes on a Medicaid reimbursement plan this week after Attorney General Pam Bondi attended the bill’s first committee hearing to speak against it.

The Florida Hospital Association has unveiled a new site dedicated to helping consumers understand costs. The website, MissionToCare.org, pulls information from both the state and federal governments to clear up the financial picture.

To outsource or not to outsource…That’s the question facing Florida lawmakers this year, as they mull over whether the Florida Department of Law Enforcement should use outside help to take care of the state’s backlog of untested rape kits.

House Speaker Backs KidCare For Legal Immigrants

Jan 13, 2016

To the surprise and delight of lawmakers who have long backed the proposal, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli on Tuesday called for eliminating a five-year waiting period for children of legal immigrants to be eligible for the state's KidCare health-insurance program.

Health Industry Regulatory Changes Sail In House

Jan 13, 2016
myfloridahouse.gov

A House panel Tuesday quickly approved two high-profile bills that would revamp health-care regulations --- and are drawing opposition from at least parts of the hospital industry.

Florida's annual legislative session gets under way today. WUSF News will bring you live coverage of the governor's State of the State address starting today at 11 a.m. This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 17 7:30 a.m.), we will feature highlights of the address, along with the Democratic response.  

The only thing Florida lawmakers must get done during the legislative session is pass a balanced budget. But it’s tricky ironing out all the numbers. And  a big part of laying out a budget is determining how much to spend when it comes to healthcare.

There are few issues that find more support among the Republican Party than guns, and Florida’s GOP dominated statehouse is no exception.  When lawmakers return to Tallahassee for the 2016 regular session, they’ll be coming back loaded for bear.

Lawmakers Call For Greater Price Transparency

Jan 8, 2016
Albuminarium

Two Republican lawmakers Thursday proposed wide-ranging bills that seek more transparency about the prices of services at hospitals and other types of health-care facilities.

Sammy Mack / Health News Florida

A consumer health measure aimed at protecting insured patients from surprise bills was filed Thursday by state Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah.  

Lottie Watts / WUSF

In previous legislative sessions, lawmakers have failed to make changes to the state employee group insurance. The issue is expected to come up again this session.

Kevin McCarty, who helped guide Florida's fragile insurance market in the wake of eight hurricanes a decade ago, announced Tuesday that he is resigning as the state's insurance commissioner.

Linda Quick has been a force in Florida health care policy for decades.

Quick—who was born at Coral Gables Hospital—spent 40 years working in health care. The past two decades of that were with the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association, which represents hundreds of hospitals and health-care businesses on legislative and industry issues.

Quick has had an insider’s view of some of the biggest policy and economic events affecting the health of Floridians.

And as of January, she’s retired.

WMFE

The Florida Legislature’s crackdown on so-called pill mills saved more than 1,000 lives over three years.

  A state official who wants to rescue insured patients from surprise health-care bills has crafted a road map for the Florida Legislature’s upcoming session.

Mary Shedden / WUSF

Some Tampa-area lawmakers are giving Medicaid expansion little chance of being considered during the upcoming  state legislative session.

Sammy Mack / Health News Florida

After an ambitious effort to revamp Florida's mental-health treatment system died at the end of the last legislative session, state officials are readying a new round of proposals for 2016.

Gov. Rick Scott has proposed an increase of $19 million for mental-health and substance-abuse treatment services in his recommended budget for the next fiscal year, with the lion's share going to treat people with mental illnesses in the community instead of in a state-run institution.

There’s a part of Florida law that could be renamed, under a bill starting to move through the Florida Legislature. That statute deals with creating enhanced penalties for crimes against people with a physical or mental disability.

Nurse Prescription Bill Makes A Comeback

Dec 1, 2015

The House Health Quality Subcommittee approved a bill Tuesday that would allow registered nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to prescribe controlled substances.

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