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Healthcare plays pivotal role in extended session

Monday, March 12, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Bryan Campbell
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An Update from DCMS Chief Executive Officer Bryan Campbell:

Sunday, the Florida Legislature ended its 2018 Session two days late, thanks in part to a number of high-profile issues directly related to healthcare in the state of Florida.

The primary reason for the weekend closing date was due to disagreements over the state budget and funding for safety-net hospitals like UF Health-Jacksonville. The budget proposed by the Senate would have eliminated the automatic rate increases to hospitals like UF Health-Jacksonville and other safety-net hospitals who see a higher percentage of poor, disabled, elderly and pregnant cases in Medicaid. Ultimately, the final version of the budget kept those automatic payments in place.

Another healthcare issue was also center stage on the budget debate. At issue, increased funding for nursing homes and their patients. The budget includes a $130 million bump in Medicaid payments to these systems, as well as an increase of personal needs monthly stipends of 25% for nursing home residents.

What Passed

Opioids – As anticipated, the much discussed opioid bill was approved on the final day of the session after disagreements over aspects of the bill related to Medical Assisted Treatment. In the end, here are the key takeaways for your practice:

  • Prescriptions of opioids will be restricted to three days for acute pain
    • Chronic pain, terminal cancer, and palliative care are exempt
    • Surgery is NOT exempt
  • Physicians may extend the three day limit to seven utilizing an “Acute Pain Exemption”
  • The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) currently known as E-FORCSE must be checked for each prescription
    • Nearly a million dollars was added to the budget to upgrade the system
    • It will now have access to patient records from other states
  • Each physician with a DEA License and a Florida Medical License must complete a two-hour CME course on safe opioid prescribing for each Florida License renewal

Direct Primary Care – Florida physicians who choose to operate in a Direct Primary Care model will no longer be subjected to report to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.


What Did Not Pass

  • Pharmacists to Diagnose and Treat Flu and Strep
  • PAs and ARNPs to Sign Documents as Physicians
  • Restricting facilities from using M.O.C. for Licensure or Privileges

I will have more thoughts on the Legislative Session in the coming weeks. Considering the number of attacks on scope of practice and your rights to practice medicine, this was a relatively successful 2018 Legislative Session. The opioid bill will be onerous for some, but there was no stopping the political will behind the bill, and while there are certainly things we hoped would have been included in the final language, it does closely mirror CDC guidelines. Next year’s legislative session will not be in an election year. That often means a slower pace and the chance to reflect on existing policy. My best guess is that there will be many efforts to improve and/or expand this law next year.

Finally, as I’ve mentioned before, there were more than 100 bills that impacted delivery of health care in some way, shape or form. If you’d like to know more about a particular bill, please don’t hesitate to call or e-mail me at any time.

-Bryan Campbell
Chief Executive Officer
Duval County Medical Society

p: (904) 353-7536
c: (904) 626-2915