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Christopher L. Nuland 
FPHA Lobbyist and General Counsel


Legislative Update

April 9, 2017 

Happy Passover and Easter.

The 2017 Legislative Session has passed its midpoint, and with very little activity planned this coming week due to the Passover and Easter holidays, only three full weeks of full legislative activity remain.

That being said, this past week was an eventful one for Public Health, and the DOH Legislative Package (HB 1041 and SB 1144) passed both the House Health and Human Services Committee and the Senate Health Policy committees.  As a result, the House version is on the House Floor, while the Senate version still has two committees remaining.  Also adopted this week was a resolution promoting Spinal Injury Awareness.

While the coming week will be a light one, one major issue will be the Senate Appropriations Bill (SB 2500), which currently includes $220 million for raises for state employees.  This is a major difference with the House approach, which currently only calls for a one-time bonus. 

As mentioned above, this likely will be a light week, so there will be no Legislative Committee call on April 14, and the next legislative update will be on April 21 at 11:00 am EST. If you would like to join the call, please use the following information: 


March 31, 2017


March is in the books, but not before the Legislature had its most productive week of the 2017 Session, with more fireworks set for this week.


The tone for the week was set Monday, when the Senate Health Policy met a day earlier than usual to address a host of issues, including Newborn Screening Requirements, expanded access to Stroke Centers, elimination of duplicative regulation of Clinical Labs, and Overdose Reporting Requirements (which was amended to eliminate such reporting for non-EMS providers). 


However, those developments paled in comparison to the House, where the Health Innovation Committee passed a proposed deregulation of the Trauma System and virtual ban on managed care Retroactive Denials (both bills still have more committee stops).  The highlight of the week, however, was the full House passing its “Priority Package” of health-related issues Friday afternoon, including Direct Primary Care and Recovery Care Clinics.


All of THAT, however, pales in comparison to what the Senate will address on Monday, when the Senate Health Policy takes on MOC and Physician Assistant Regulation at the same time that the Banking and Insurance Committee addresses Workers Compensation, PIP, and Board of Medicine Office Surgery Rules.



March 10, 2017

 

As usual, the first week of the legislative session was dominated by the pageantry of the Opening Day, complete with flowers, the Governor’s annual State of the State address, and the last-second introduction of scores of new legislative proposals.  Nevertheless, a few bills did make some advances in committees, with SB 144 (Texting and Driving) passing its first Senate Committee of Reference, HB 145 (Recovery Care Centers) and HB 59 (Adult Cardiovascular Training Standards) both passing the House Health Appropriations Committee.

 

All of that, however, is a mere appetizer for what promises to be a momentous week.  Not only will the Senate Health Policy Committee take on insurance issues, nursing regulations and Recovery Care Centers, while the Senate Judiciary Committee will discuss HMO Liability for Medical Malpractice, but the House Health Appropriations, Health Innovation, and Health Quality Committees have each scheduled marathon five hour meetings in order to move legislation (the agendas for the House meetings have not been set at press time).

 

Stay tuned for progress reports, as it looks like next week will be a bumpy ride!!



February 17, 2017

Advocacy Matters

 

This past week was a momentous one for the Florida public health, both in the courts and in the legislature.

 

Florida House Moves Major Legislation

 

The Florida Senate this week addressed budgetary items, including the DOH budget.  The Governor’s proposed budget adds about $52 million to DOH coffers and holds the number of employees constant.

 

In the House Quality Committee, the Committee voted to move forward with a bill that would allow certain ARNPs to practice without physician supervision and would allow out-of-state Telemedicine providers to practice without being held accountable to the Florida Boards.  Discussions continue on those two points of disagreement.

 

The same Committee also advanced legislation that would allow the responsible use of a single opiate during Level I office procedures if (and only if) emergency medications were available.  The Senate Health Policy Committee will address the same issue next Tuesday.

 

 

11th Circuit Rules Ban on Physician Free Speech re Guns Unconstitutional

 

In a major decision for all professional free speech, the full 11th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday ruled that Florida’s ban on physician’s speaking to their patients regarding guns was a violation of the physician’s First Amendment Right to Free Speech.  While the Court did uphold a portion of the law that prohibits discrimination based upon a patient’s gun ownership (a point that was not disputed by the plaintiffs), all but one judge agreed that restrictions on what a physician and patients discuss are a violation of the First Amendment.

 

As of press time, the Scott administration is considering whether to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

CHRIS NULAND
nulandlaw@aol.com

 

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