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Interim Committees, Week 6

February 20, 2023

Paul D. Seltzer, DO, Legislative Chair

Stephen R. Winn, ED

Michelle W. Larson, Assoc. ED

Jason D. Winn, Esq.


With the special session in the rearview mirror, interim committees wrapped up reports on the budget and other healthcare-related programs, positioning committees to begin hearing bills as they move to the final week of meetings ahead of the 2023 Legislative Session.  The Senate HHS Appropriation Committee heard presentations from agency heads and other officials concerning the Governor's recommended healthcare budget for fiscal year 20230-24.  Other committees received updates concerning the State Medical Marijuana Program, Medicaid Long-Term Care and Family Caregiver Programs, and the impact of digital technology time on children's mental health.  

Steve Winn and Osteopathic Medicine Day Attendees Meet with Governor DeSantis.

In appreciation for Governor DeSantis' work on behalf of veterans and the FOMA-supported Florida POW-MIA Bracelet Memorial, Steve Winn presented the Governor with an MIA bracelet and information concerning the serviceman inscribed on the Bracelet.

Bracelet Inscription:

US Navy CAPT Bruce Nystrom lost 2 Dec, 1966 over North Vietnam. Status MIA

To address ongoing concerns with Florida's fentanyl crisis, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee unanimously passed SB 164 relating to controlled substance testing.  The bill amends s.  893.145, F.S., the drug paraphernalia statute, to exclude from the definition of "drug paraphernalia" narcotic drug testing products used to determine whether a controlled substance contains fentanyl or a fentanyl analog.  If adopted by the legislature, a person who possesses or uses a fentanyl test strip kit would not be subject to arrest and prosecution.

The Senate Health Policy Committee is poised to begin hearing bills this week.  The committee's agenda includes SB 298 relating to telehealth, SB 112 relating to step-therapy, and SB 230 relating to healthcare practitioner titles and abbreviations.  

The Governor's Recommended Healthcare Budget FY 2023-24

The Governor released his “Framework for Freedom” budget for the fiscal year 2023-24, providing record funding totaling $114.8 billion. Governor DeSantis’ recommendation for the Health and Human Service budget totals $47.5 billion, a decrease of $1.4 billion or 2.8 percent below FY 2022-23.

Governor DeSantis &

FOMA President 

Lee Ann Brown, DO

HHS Budget Highlights

  • Graduate Medical Education: $353.4 million is allocated for graduate medical education. $197.3 million of the total allocation will fund the Statewide Medicaid Residency Program and the Graduate Medical Education Startup Bonus Program.

  • Cancer Research: Recommends $166 million in cancer research funding, with $20 millionin funding to establish the Florida Cancer Innovation Fund to support groundbreaking cancer research.

  • Opioid Crisis: Recommends $334 million to increase access to treatment such as prevention services, medication assisted treatment, recovery support, and research and surveillance activities. Funding includes $147.4 million from the Opioid Settlement Agreement to establish the Office of Opioid Recovery, an accredited Graduate Medical Education program to increase psychiatric residents, and other initiatives for individuals with substance use disorders.

  • Emergency Opioid Antagonists: Recommends $5 million for the Department of Health’s purchase of opioid antagonists for first responders.

  • Pregnancy & Postpartum Services: Recommends $143 million to improve maternal health outcomes for women at high risk for maternal morbidity, improve access to necessary care and behavioral health services for infants and children, support quality improvement initiatives for children birth to 36 months who have a developmental disability, and expand school health and dental services.

  • Behavioral Health: Recommends $334 million to increase access to treatment such as prevention services, medication assisted treatment, recovery support and continues research, and surveillance activities that seek to reduce overdoses, unemployment, and the incidence of hospitalization and homelessness.

Interim Meeting Schedule

Final Week, Monday, February 20 – Friday, February 24, 2023

Legislative Highlights

HB 0305 - Protection of Medical Freedom by Barnaby

HB 305 prohibits DOH from requiring enrollment in the state’s immunization registry or requiring persons to submit to immunization tracking.  Business & governmental entities are prohibited from requiring individuals to provide proof of vaccination to gain access to or receive services.  Employers may not deny employment to or tack action against an employee on the basis of vaccination or immunity status.  Finally, the bill amends the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 to include discrimination protection for vaccination or immunity status. 

Identical SB 0222 - Protection of Medical Freedom (Gruters)

SB 0420 - Pharmacy Benefit Managers by Wright

SB 420 requires the Office of Insurance Regulation to conduct market conduct examinations of pharmacy benefit managers.  The bill defines the terms affiliate and spread pricing.  Finally, the legislation authorizes OIR to take specific disciplinary actions against a pharmacy benefit manager for specified acts. 

Compare: HB 0203 - Access to Pharmacies and Prescription Drugs Under Insurance and Pharmacy Benefit Managers Policies (Gonzalez Pittman)

HB 203 requires the OIR to conduct market examinations of pharmacy benefit managers.  Under the plan, PBMs must have standard contracts with pharmacies, and PBMs are prohibited from denying pharmacies & pharmacists the right to participate as contract providers.  The bill authorizes persons and entities to bring actions to seek injunctive relief.  HB 203 prohibits PBMs from committing certain acts against patients and health insurers and PBMs from engaging in acts relating to covered clinician-administered drugs.

SB 0416 - Antiretroviral Drugs by Osgood

SB 416 authorizing pharmacists to order and dispense HIV preexposure and postexposure prophylaxis drugs without a prescription under certain circumstances upon completing a training program approved by the Board of Pharmacy.  In addition, the legislation prohibits health insurers from requiring prior authorization or step-therapy protocols for preexposure or postexposure prophylaxis solely on the basis that it was ordered or dispensed by a licensed pharmacist.

SB 0112 Step-therapy Protocols (Harrell)

The bill defines the term “serious mental illness” to include certain conditions contained in the DSM-V.  It requires the Agency for Health Care Administration to approve drug products for Medicaid recipients for the treatment of serious mental illness without step-therapy prior authorization under certain circumstances.

Identical:  HB 0183 - Medicaid Step-Therapy Protocols for Drugs for Serious Mental Illness Treatments by Gonzalez Pittman 

HB 0039 - Emergency Opioid Antagonists by Edmonds

The bill requires Florida College System institutions & state universities to have a supply of emergency opioid antagonists in certain residence halls & dormitories for use by specified employees.  It provides requirements for the placement & accessibility of emergency opioid antagonists & training.  The bill also offers specified immunity from liability.

SB 0046 - Health Insurance Cost Sharing by Wright

The bill requires health insurers and their pharmacy benefit managers to apply payments by or on behalf of insureds toward the total contributions of the insureds’ cost-sharing requirements.

Bill Tracking Report

In the News

DeSantis, first lady target opioid crisis with $205 million in settlement money

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday announced an expansion of opioid treatment and recovery services, using more than $205 million coming to the state from legal settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors. During an appearance with first lady Casey DeSantis at the Shoreline Church in Destin, the governor said $10.2 million will go to a new Office of Opioid Recovery at the Department of Children and Families.

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FDA panel backs making opioid antidote Narcan available over the counter

The overdose-reversing drug naloxone should be made available over the counter to aid the national response to the opioid crisis, U.S. health advisers said Wednesday. The panel of Food and Drug Administration experts voted unanimously in favor of the switch after a full day of presentations and discussions centered on whether untrained users would be able to safely and effectively use the nasal spray in emergency situations.

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Why some Florida kids could lose Medicaid coverage even if they're still eligible

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Psychologist offers ways lawmakers can help 'defang' social media's effects on kids

Social media has strong links to adverse mental health impacts among teens. A panel of Florida lawmakers Thursday heard recommendations from psychologist Nicholas Kardaras about provisions that could help protect kids without requiring a complete ban on the platforms. "It's similar to a COVID mindset.

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