Legislative Report
Week 2
March 13, 2021

Paul D. Seltzer, DO, Legislative Chair
Stephen R. Winn, ED
Michelle W. Larson, Assoc. ED
Jason D. Winn, Esq.
Summary
The House and Senate continue to move at a brisk pace, passing a number of healthcare-related measures. COVID-19 liability protections for healthcare providers, expanding the scope of practice of optometrists and legislation to eliminate PIP coverage all passed at least one committee of reference.   
FOMA Service to Veterans

Executive Director Steve Winn testifies on behalf of HB 163 - POW-MIA Vietnam Veterans Bracelet Memorial.
Two bills relating to COVID liability protections for health care providers cleared their final committees of reference in the House and the Senate.  To ensure the greatest potential for passage, Senator Brandes chose to merge the Senate health care liability bill with the business liability protection bill, SB 72.  According to Brandes, “it’s easier to defend one fortress rather than two.”  

HB 7005 and HB 7 remain separate bills in the House and will be a point of negotiation between both chambers moving forward.  HB 7 relating to business liability protections passed out of the House of Representatives on March 5, 2021.
Scope-of-practice remains an issue this legislative session as the Senate Health Policy Committee passed Chairman Diaz’s optometry bill.  SB 876 expands the scope of practice of optometrists, authorizing optometrists with designated training to perform certain surgical procedures.  The bill also expands the profession’s prescriptive authority to include certain controlled substances. Some Senators on the committee expressed concerns with the measure, voting in favor of the bill out of deference to the Chairman Diaz. 
       
Revamping Florida’s motor vehicle insurance law remains a priority in both chambers as the PIP bills passed out of their assigned Senate and House committees this week.  HB 719 by Rep Grall and SB 54 by Senator Burgess, eliminate the existing PIP requirement, replacing it with mandatory bodily injury coverage. Although the House and Senate plans differ slightly, both require BI coverage with a minimum coverage limit of $25,000 to cover the bodily injury or death of any one person and $50,000 for the bodily injury or death of two or more persons. 

The legislation also requires the insurer to offer medical payments coverage before issuing a policy - the insured may reject the coverage regardless of their health insurance status. Coverage must be offered at limits of $5,000 or $10,000. 

To account for expected rate increases, the Senate plan has an option for students and low-income Floridians, lowering the minimum BI coverage for qualifying individuals to 15,000 / 30,000.   
2021 Legislative Session
Doctor of the Day Program
The Florida Office of Legislative Services is seeking physician volunteers for Session which begins Tuesday, March 2 through Friday, April 30, 2021. A physician volunteer is needed for both House and Senate Chambers each day. Each physician will need a House of Representative or Senate member for sponsorship.

Please contact the FOMA Governmental Relations office for assistance at govaffairs@foma.org or call 850-878-7364. The Florida Legislature has implemented COVID-19 protocols so please review this memo for details and instructions on how to register. 
Legislative Spotlight
HB 7005 Civil Liability for Covid-19-Related Claims Against Certain Health Care Providers by Health & Human Services Committee

Favorable with CS by Judiciary Committee; 15 Yeas, 5 Nays

HB 7005 provides heightened liability protections to health care entities for negligence claims by patients and residents arising under existing laws governing medical malpractice and long-term care facility litigation related to COVID-19.

A plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that a defendant was grossly negligent, reckless or committed intentional misconduct to recover under these COVID-19-related medical claims, thus immunizing providers from acts that constitute mere negligence. The bill provides an affirmative defense for defendants who complied with applicable government-issued COVID-19 guidance.

The bill also provides, that a health care provider making a good faith effort to substantially comply with applicable COVID-19 guidance is immune from these negligence claims. 
SB 0072 Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19 by Brandes

Favorable with CS by Rules; 10 Yeas, 5 Nays

SB 72 limits civil claims against businesses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill was amended to include health care providers.
SB 0054 Motor Vehicle Insurance by Burgess

Favorable by Rules; 12 Yeas, 3 Nays

CS/CS/SB 54 repeals the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law (No-Fault Law), which requires every owner and registrant of a motor vehicle in this state to maintain Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Beginning January 1, 2022, the bill enacts financial responsibility requirements for liability for motor vehicle ownership or operation, as follows:

For bodily injury (BI) or death of one person in any one crash, $25,000, and, subject to that limit for one person, $50,000 for BI or death of two or more people in any one crash.

The bill sets a lower financial responsibility requirement of $15,000 for BI or death of one person, and $30,000 for BI or death of two or more persons, for persons having a household income of 200 percent or less of the federal poverty guidelines and for full time students attending a secondary or post-secondary school.

The existing $10,000 financial responsibility requirement for property damage (PD) is retained.

The bill requires insurers to offer medical payments coverage (MedPay) with limits of $5,000 or $10,000 to cover medical expenses of the insured. Insurers may also offer other policy limits that exceed $5,000. Insurers must offer a zero deductible option for MedPay, and may also offer deductibles of up to $500. Insurers must reserve $5,000 of MedPay benefits for 30 days to pay physicians or dentists who provide emergency services and care or who provide hospital inpatient care.
HB 0719 Motor Vehicle Insurance by Grall

Favorable with CS by Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee; 18 Yeas, 0 Nays

CS/HB 719 repeals PIP. By repealing PIP, the bill removes PIP’s tort liability limitation, making drivers at fault in an accident fully liable for any damages they cause. Due to this change, the bill also expands the scope of legal liabilities covered under an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.

In place of PIP, the bill requires BI coverage at the time of vehicle registration with a minimum coverage limit of $25,000 due to the bodily injury or death of any one person and $50,000 for the bodily injury or death of two or more persons. The minimum PD coverage limit remains unchanged. However, the minimum security limits for self-insurance of BI and PD requirements are increased, as are the minimum coverage limits applicable to garage liability policies and commercial motor vehicle coverage.

The bill requires insurers to offer medical payments coverage before issuing a policy, which the prospective insured may reject in writing. Coverage must be offered at limits of $5,000 or $10,000 but may be offered in amounts exceeding $5,000, and the insurer may offer deductibles ranging from $0 to $500.
SB 0420 Motor Vehicle Insurance Coverage Exclusions by Hooper


Favorable with CS by Judiciary; 10 Yeas, 0 Nays

SB 420 authorizes private passenger motor vehicle policyholders to exclude identified individuals from the following coverages under their policy:

  • Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage applicable to the identified individual’s injuries, lost wages, and death benefits;
  • Property damage liability coverage;
  • Bodily injury liability coverage, when required by law;
  • Uninsured motorist coverage for any damages sustained by the excluded individual; and
  • Any coverage the policyholder is not required by law to purchase.


SB 0876 Optometry by Diaz

Favorable by Health Policy; 6 Yeas, 3 Nays

Expands the scope of practice for certified optometrists;

  • Amends the definition of “certified optometrist” to provide that the term “certified optometric physician” is synonymous with the former term;

  • Adds the following elements to the definition of “optometry” which do not exist under the current-law definition:

  1. The “evaluation, treatment, and management” of conditions of the human eye and its appendages, and, under the bill, such conditions include “any chronic systemic conditions relating to the eye;” and
  2. The prescribing and application of “vision therapy, low-vision rehabilitation services, and ophthalmic procedures and therapy for the diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, or management” of any insufficiency, anomaly, abnormality, or disease condition relating to the human eye or its appendages.

  • Deletes the current-law prohibition against an optometrist performing surgeries on the eye;

  • Provides that optometrists may be certified to perform “ophthalmic procedures” such as laser and non-laser ophthalmic procedures and therapy approved by the Board of Optometry (Board);

  • Creates a new section of statute for ophthalmic procedures that an optometrist may become certified to perform;

  • Repeals the current-law formulary process for topical ocular agents that an optometrist may prescribe, as developed by the Board;

  • Repeals the current-law statutory formulary of oral ocular agents that an optometrist may prescribe;

  • Replaces the current-law formularies with a negative formulary system, to be established by the Board, that will include ocular agents that an optometrist is prohibited from prescribing;

  • Revises current law relating to controlled substances that certified optometrists are prohibited from administering or prescribing, except for oral analgesics for the relief of pain due to ocular conditions, by adding Schedule II controlled substances to that provision;

  • Limits the time frame for applicants to retake failed part(s) of the licensure examination;

  • Authorizes the creation of a new certification for certified optometrists to perform Board-approved laser and non-laser ophthalmic procedures and therapy if certain conditions are met.


Bills Heard in Committee
HB 0017 Podiatric Medicine by Bell

HB 0029 Dispensing Medicinal Drugs by Willhite

SB 0054 Motor Vehicle Insurance by Burgess

SB 0058 Hospitals’ Community Benefit Reporting by Rodriguez (A)

SB 0072 Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19 by Brandes

SB 0080 Child Welfare by Brodeur

HB 0133 Surrendered Newborn Infants by Harding

SB 0240 Donor Human Milk Bank Services by Book

HB 0245 Massage Therapy by Chaney

SB 0262 Dispensing Medicinal Drugs by Harrell

SB 0272 Rare Disease Advisory Council by Baxley

SB 0340 Supermajority Vote Required to Enact a Single-payor Healthcare System by Diaz

SB 0348 Medicaid by Rodriguez (A)

SB 0352 Massage Therapy by Rodriguez (A)

HB 0371 False Reports of Crimes by Brannan III

HB 0383 Involuntary Examinations of Minors by Plasencia

SB 0420 Motor Vehicle Insurance Coverage Exclusions by Hooper

HB 0461 Medicare Transportation Services by Trabulsy

HB 0519 Required Health Education Instruction by Yarborough

SB 0532 Workforce Education by Burgess

HB 0545 Reproductive Health and Disease Education by Chaney

SB 0634 Dementia-related Staff Training by Gibson

SB 0686 Offers of Judgment by Brandes

HB 0701 Behavior Health Care Services Coverage and Access by Stevenson

HB 7005 Civil Liability for Covid-19-Related Claims Against Certain Health Care Providers by Health & Human Services Committee
HB 0719 Motor Vehicle Insurance by Grall

HB 0725 Nonopioid Alternatives Educational Materials by Plakon

SB 0846 Medical Expenses by Brandes

SB 0876 Optometry by Diaz

SB  0922 Veterans’ Preference in Employment by Burgess

HB 0969 Consumer Data Privacy by McFarland

SB 0990 Occupational Therapy by Bradley

SB 1024 Increasing Access to Mental Health Care by Brodeur

HB 1055 Pub. Rec./Trade Secrets by Gregory

HB 1057 Agency for Health Care Administration by Garrison

SB 1064 Hospital, Hospital System, or Provider Organization Transactions by Brodeur

SB 1080 Tobacco and Nicotine Products by Hutson

SB 1084 Volunteer Ambulance Services by Pizzo

SB 1140 Unlawful Use of DNA by Rodrigues (R)

HB 1157 Freestanding Emergency Departments by Koster

SB 1192 Mental Illness Training for Law Enforcement Officers by Powell

HB 1219 Hospital, Hospital System, or Provider Organization Transactions by Grall

HB 1221 Disability Abortions by Grall

SB 1234 False Reports of Crimes by Boyd

SB 1426 Pregnant Women in Custody by Jones

HB 1455 Regulation of Medical Marijuana by Roach

HB 2193 Department of Children and Families (DCF) Extended-Release Injectable Naltrexone (Vivitrol) Program by Rodriguez (Ant)

HB 7001 OGSR/Nurse Licensure Compact by Government Operations Subcommittee

The FOMA Opposes the Following
Bills Expanding Scope of Practice
HB 0111 Autonomous Practice by an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse by Maggard

SB 0160 Prescriptive Authority Certification for Psychologists by Brandes

SB 0424 Autonomous Practice by Advanced Practice Registered Nurses by Brandes

HB 0431 Practice of Physician Assistants by Rommel

HB 0631 Optometry by Rizo

HB 0687 Prescriptive Authority Certification for Psychologists by Alexander

SB 0876 Optometry by Diaz

SB 0894 Physician Assistants by Diaz

HB 1299 Autonomous Physician Assistants by Rizo
Bill Tracking
Virtual Leadership and Advocacy Summit

Participants pictured: Jeffery Grove, DO, FACOFP; Brianne Howerton, OMS-II, LECOM Bradenton SGA President; Marc Kaprow, DO, MHA, FACOI, FOMA President; Nicole Bixler, DO, FACOFP, ACOFP President; Lee Ann Brown, DO, FAAPMR.
Please see the link below containing a list of all legislation filed to date. Let us know if you have any specific areas of interest or concern.

Legislative Session Calendar - Week 2
Monday Mar 15, 2021
S Judiciary, 412 K, 3:30PM-6:00PM
  • SB 0368 - Elder-focused Dispute Resolution Process by Baxley  

Tuesday Mar 16, 2021 
H Early Learning & Elementary Education Subcommittee, 17 H, 9:30AM-11:30AM       
  • HB 0519 - Required Health Education Instruction by Yarborough  
 
H Professions & Public Health Subcommittee, 212 K, 9:30AM-11:30AM       
  • HB 0239 - Regulation of Smoking by Counties and Municipalities by Altman  
  • HB 0541 - Veterans' Preference in Employment by Buchanan 
  • HB 0543 - Occupational Therapy by Koster  
  • HB 1097 - Health Care Licensure Requirements by Learned  
  • HB 6095 - Scheduling of Drug Products Containing Cannabidiol by Fischer 
  • HB 1063 - Administration of Vaccines by Fernandez-Barquin  
  • HB 1565 - Department of Health by Drake  
 
 S Banking and Insurance, 412 K, 9:30AM-12:00PM       
  • SB 0390 - Prescription Drug Coverage by Wright  
  • SB 1786 - Payments for Birth-related Neurological Injuries by Burgess  
 
S Children, Families, and Elder Affairs, 37 S, 12:30PM-3:00PM       
  • SB 0948 - Child Welfare by Book  
  • SB 1686 - Definition of Developmental Disability by Torres, Jr.  
 
S Criminal Justice, 110 S, 12:30PM-3:00PM       
  • SB 1608 - Protecting Consumers Against Pandemic-related Fraud by Bean  
 
H Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee, 17 H, 1:00PM-3:00PM         
  • HB 1345 - Pharmaceutical Products Containing Cannabis by Persons-Mulicka  
  • HB 1483 - Solicitation of Non-medical Services by Yarborough  
 
S Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security, 37 S, 3:30PM-6:00PM         
  • SB 0764 - Veterans Treatment Courts by Burgess  
  • SB 1760 - Personal Protective Equipment by Albritton  
 
H Commerce Committee, 212 K, 3:45PM-5:45PM         
  • HB 1055 - Pub. Rec./Trade Secrets by Gregory  
 
H Pandemics & Public Emergencies Committee, 404 H, 3:45PM-5:45PM         
  • HB 1353 - Personal Protective Equipment by Yarborough  
 
Wednesday Mar 17, 2021
S Governmental Oversight and Accountability, 37 S, 9:00AM-11:30AM       
  • SB 7000 - OGSR/Nurse Licensure Compact by Health Policy  
 
S Health Policy, 412 K, 9:00AM-11:30AM       
  • SB 0614 - Assault or Battery on Hospital Personnel by Rodriguez (A)  
  • SB 0818 - Mental Health Professionals by Burgess  
  • SB 1142 - Prohibited Acts by Health Care Practitioners by Rodrigues 
  • SB 1442 - Substance Abuse Prevention by Boyd  
  • SB 0532 - Workforce Education by Burgess  
  • SB 1934 - Health Care Practitioner Discipline by Book  
  • SB 0716 - Consent for Pelvic Examinations by Book  
  • SB 0874 - Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness by Brodeur  
  • SB 0852 - Medicaid Modernization by Brodeur  
  • SB 0864 - Telehealth by Brodeur  
  • SB 1132 - Personal Care Attendants by Bean  
  • SB 0894 - Physician Assistants by Diaz  
 
S Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, 412 K, 12:30PM-2:30PM  
  • SB 0130 - Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders by Rouson 
  • SB 0404 - Office of Minority Health and Health Equity by Rouson  
 
S Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice, 37 S, 3:00PM-5:00PM   
  • SB 1192 - Mental Illness Training for Law Enforcement Officers by Powell  

Thursday Mar 18, 2021
H SESSION - Special Order Calendar, 2:00PM-N/A    
  • HB 0133 - Surrendered Newborn Infants by Harding  
 
S SESSION Consideration of Bills on Third Reading, 2:00PM-6:00PM         
  • SB 0058 - Hospitals’ Community Benefit Reporting by Rodriguez (A)  


Full agendas for Thursday and Friday are not available at this time.
In the News
DeSantis Anticipates Lifting COVID Vaccine Age Limits...

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is suggesting that he will open up coronavirus vaccinations to the general public as soon as April. The governor's announcement Thursday underscored confidence that the wider availability of vaccines will allow the state ...

Read more
health.wusf.usf.edu
Optometrist 'Scope Of Practice' Discussion Heats Up In...

Jump-starting an annual tug-of-war over who can treat patients, a Senate panel has approved a bill that would authorize optometrists to perform some laser surgeries and prescribe opioids for patients.

Read more
health.wusf.usf.edu
Florida Senate Merges Health, Business Liability Bills

COVID-19 liability bills aimed at protecting businesses and health care providers from lawsuits are heading to the Senate floor after being merged together in an effort to increase their chances of passing.

Read more
health.wusf.usf.edu
Senate Panels Support More Money To Help Build New...

With supporters saying the proposal would help fund a new campus to treat cancer patients, a Senate committee Thursday unanimously approved a measure that would provide millions of additional dollars each year to Moffitt Cancer Center. The bill...

Read more
health.wusf.usf.edu