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FOMA 2023 Legislative Update - Week 2

March 19, 2023

Paul D. Seltzer, DO, Legislative Chair

Stephen R. Winn, ED

Michelle W. Larson, Assoc. ED

Jason D. Winn, Esq.


The Florida Senate has made significant strides in promoting patient safety, transparency, and accessibility in health care by passing two key bills: SB 230 - Health Care Practitioner Titles and Designations, and SB 298 - Telehealth Practice Standards.  Together, the passage of these bills highlights Florida's dedication to improving the healthcare experience for both consumers and providers, ensuring a safe and accessible healthcare environment for patients.

On March 15th, 2023, the Florida Senate took a significant step in promoting patient safety and transparency by passing SB 230, a bill concerning Health Care Practitioner Titles and Designations.  This bill establishes clear guidelines for identifying medical professionals, ensuring that they accurately provide their credentials to patients and the public.  The Senate unanimously passed the bill, sending it to the House for consideration. As a result of the decisive vote, the Senate demonstrates its strong commitment to protecting consumers and enhancing trust in the healthcare system.

Additionally, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee unanimously passed SB 298, a bill focused on expanding access to health care services by amending the definition of "Telehealth" to include audio-only telephone calls as an approved method for providing remote health care services. This change benefits patients without access to broadband internet or video-enabled devices and providers facing technical difficulties during video consultations. The bill also aligns Florida's telehealth definition with Medicare and most other states, promoting consistency and accessibility across the healthcare landscape.

FMA President 

Joshua Lenchus, DO

& FOMA President Brett Scotch, DO

Senator Corey Simon, Senate President Pro Tempore Dennis Baxley & Steve Winn

SB 230 - Health Care Practitioner Titles Passes the Senate

SB 0230 Health Care Practitioner Titles and Designations by Harrell

What You Need to Know About SB 230: Health Care Practitioner Titles and Designations

Consumers in Florida can enjoy increased confidence and safety in their healthcare experiences thanks to a new bill that ensures healthcare practitioners clearly identify themselves, fostering transparency and trust between medical professionals and their patients. SB 230, sponsored by Senator Harrell, aims to prevent confusion and deception among consumers by regulating healthcare practitioner use of specific titles and designations.

Senator Gayle Harrell & FOMA President Brett Scotch, DO

What does SB 230 do?

SB 230 creates a new section in chapter 456, F.S., which applies to all health care practitioners regulated by the Department of Health (DOH) or its boards. The bill defines key terms such as advertisement, educational degree, misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent representation, and profession. Further, it lists several titles and designations that are reserved for allopathic or osteopathic physicians.

The bill provides that if anyone other than an allopathic or osteopathic physician uses any of these titles or designations in an advertisement or in a way that is misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent, they are committing unlicensed practice of medicine or osteopathic medicine and are subject to penalties under s. 456.065, F.S.

The bill also provides some exceptions for certain professions and titles authorized under their respective practice acts. For example, dentists can use the title "doctor" or "Dr." if they also indicate their profession as dentists. Similarly, podiatric physicians can use the title "podiatric physician" or "podiatrist" if they also indicate their degree as DPM.

The bill also allows health care practitioners to use titles and specialty designations that are authorized under their respective practice acts. For example, advanced practice registered nurses can use the title "APRN" and their role designation such as CRNA, CNP, etc.

How does SB 230 affect health care practitioners?

SB 230 revises the grounds for disciplinary action for health care practitioners who fail to comply with the new requirements. Specifically:

  • A practitioner must wear a name tag that includes his or her name and profession when treating or consulting with a patient unless he or she is in his or her office where his or her license is prominently displayed in a conspicuous area.
  • A practitioner must verbally identify himself or herself by name and profession to all new patients.
  • Any advertisement naming a practitioner must include his or her profession and educational degree.
  • The DOH or its boards must adopt rules to determine how practitioners must comply with these requirements.

When does SB 230 take effect?

SB 230 has an effective date of July 1, 2023. However, it still needs to pass both chambers of the Legislature and be signed by the Governor before it becomes law.

Why is SB 230 important?

SB 230 protects consumers from being misled or deceived by healthcare practitioners who use titles or designations that imply they have more qualifications than they actually do. According to Senator Harrell, “This legislation will ensure Floridians receive accurate information about their healthcare providers’ education level so they can make informed decisions about their healthcare.”

The bill also prevents confusion among consumers who may not be familiar with the different types of health care practitioners and their scopes of practice.

The House companion, HB 583 by Massullo, has three remaining committees of reference. To date, no committee has heard the bill.

House Passes Tort Reform

HB 0837 Civil Remedies by Gregory

On March 17, 2023, the House's tort reform bill, HB 0837, passed in the House with a vote of 80 Yeas and 31 Nays. The bill proposes changes to civil remedies in Florida, including modifying the comparative negligence system from a "pure" to a "modified" system, limiting a plaintiff's ability to recover damages if they are more at fault than the defendant. It also provides uniform standards to calculate the value of medical damages in personal injury or wrongful death cases and modifies the "bad faith" framework. Additionally, the bill limits contingency fee multipliers for attorney fee awards to rare circumstances and repeals Florida's one-way attorney fee provisions for insurance cases. HB 0837 is now in messages in the Senate for further consideration. 

Speaker Paul Renner (R- Palm Coast) commented in a statement supporting the bill: "Our legal system must be reformed in a way that allows good claims to move forward so that those engaging in negligence or misconduct are held accountable. I commend Representatives Gregory and Fabricio for passing this transformational legislation and for working to put an end to lawsuit abuse."

A companion bill in the Senate, SB 236, also proposes changes to civil remedies in Florida. On the same day, March 17, 2023, SB 236 passed its final committee in the Senate with 13 Yeas and 6 Nays. The bill proposes similar changes to the comparative negligence system and the "bad faith" framework, as well as modifying the attorney fee provisions in insurance cases. SB 236 will now move to the Senate floor for a vote. 

Legislative Highlights

SB 0298 Telehealth Practice Standards by Boyd

The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee unanimously passed SB 298, Telehealth. SB 298 amends the definition of "Telehealth" to include audio-only telephone calls as an approved method for providing remote healthcare services.

HB 0387 - Physician Certifications for the Medical Use of Marijuana by Roach

The House Health & Human Services Committee unanimously passed HB 387, Physician Certifications for the Medical Use of Marijuana. HB 387 retains the requirement that a qualified physician conduct an in-person physical examination on a qualified patient for an initial physician certification and authorizes qualified physicians to use telehealth to conduct examinations for a renewal certification.

HB 0483 - Blood Clot and Pulmonary Embolism Policy Workgroup by Black

The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee unanimously passed HB 483, Blood Clot and Pulmonary Embolism Policy Workgroup.  HB 483 creates the Emily Adkins Prevention Act to require the Secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), in conjunction with the State Surgeon General, to establish a blood clot and pulmonary embolism policy workgroup.

The bill tasks the workgroup with: 

  • Identifying the aggregate number of people in Florida who experience blood clots and PEs annually; 
  • Identifying how data is collected regarding blood clots, PEs, and associated adverse outcomes; 
  • Identifying how blood clots and PEs impact the lives of Floridians; 
  • Identifying the standard of care for blood clot surveillance, detection, and treatment; 
  • Identifying emerging treatments, therapies, and research relating to blood clots; 
  • Developing a risk surveillance system to help health care providers identify patients who may be at a higher risk of forming blood clots and PE; 
  • Developing policy recommendations to help improve patient awareness of blood clot risks; 
  • Developing policy recommendations to help improve surveillance and detection of patients who may be at a higher risk of forming blood clots in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, residential treatment facilities, and ambulatory surgical centers; 
  • Developing policy recommendations relating to guidelines used that affect the standard of care for patient at risk of forming blood clots; and 
  • Developing policy recommendations relating to providing patients and their families with written notice of increased risks of forming blood clots. 

The bill requires the workgroup to be composed of health care providers, patients who have experienced blood clots, family members of patients who have died from blood clots, advocates, and other interested parties and associations. The bill requires the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate to appoint two members each. The bill requires the State Surgeon General to appoint the chair of the workgroup who may create subcommittees to assist with research, scheduling speakers, and drafting a workgroup report and policy recommendations. The bill authorizes meetings of the workgroup to be held via teleconference or other electronic means and prohibits members of the workgroup from being compensated.

Bill Tracking Report

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