State Capital Briefs (Evening Editition): Thursday, February 9
The News Service of Florida
The House will begin moving forward next week with proposals to chip away at health-care regulations, including a plan to eliminate the controversial "certificate of need" process. The Health Innovation Subcommittee on Wednesday is scheduled to take up a series of bills, including a measure (HB 7), filed by Rep. Alex Miller, R-Sarasota, that would eliminate certificates of need for hospitals, nursing homes and hospice facilities. 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 be built. Also at the Wednesday meeting, the subcommittee will take up a proposal (HB 145), sponsored by Rep. Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, and Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, that would allow patients to stay up to 24 hours at ambulatory surgical centers. Current law bars overnight stays. Also, the bill calls for allowing the operation of recovery care centers, a new type of entity where patients could stay 72 hours after surgery. In another high-profile issue, the subcommittee will take up a bill (HB 161), sponsored by Rep. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, and Rep. Mike Miller, R-Winter Park, that would help clear the way for the use of "direct primary care" agreements between doctors and patients. Such agreements generally involve monthly payments that patients or their employers make to physicians or other health providers. The payments cover patients' routine primary-care services, cutting out the role of insurers.