Christopher L. Nuland
FPHA Lobbyist and General Counsel
FPHA Legislative Wrap-Up
May 8, 2017
In a year in which legislators failed to pass legislation even on
their priority issues, such as Worker’s Compensation and Marijuana Regulation,
FPHA was able to boast some notable achievements.
After years of frustration, DOH workers, as well as all state
employees, will finally be receiving a well-deserved raise. Likewise, after years of not being able to
have a State Surgeon General confirmed, Celeste Philip, M.D. was confirmed on
the Session’s final day.
In addition, several pieces of legislation advocated by the FPHA
were passed by both chambers and currently await Governor Scott’s signature,
which is expected on each of the bills.
For instance, in the fight against opioid abuse the Legislature passed
bills both funding the Prescription Data Monitoring Program and requiring more
timely reporting of the dispensing of such medications. A Laboratory Screening Bill will provide the
DOH will better information on lead paint contamination and better ensure the
privacy of positive HIV tests. Patients
in Level I surgery units will benefit from the addition of anxiolytic and
opiate reversal agents, and patients will be allowed to have advocates attend
their meetings with health care professionals.
All in all, it was a banner year.
Finally, if I may be allowed a point of personal privilege, I
would like to thank the FPHA for having allowed me to serve both the
organization and Florida’s Public Health for the past twenty years. While fiscal reality may require cutbacks in
paid advocacy, FPHA’s dedication to its work and mission must never wane, and I
am confident that FPHA’s leadership will ensure that its voice continues to be
heard for years to come.
April 28, 2017
I am pleased to announce that SB 1124, which ensures that all
Newborn Screenings meet current CDC recommendations, has passed both the House
and Senate and is on its way to the Governor!
Score one for the good guys.
April 9, 2017
Happy Passover and
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
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
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
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
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
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
11th Circuit Rules Ban on Physician Free Speech re Guns
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.