FOMA Legislative Update, Week 5
February 11, 2022

Paul D. Seltzer, DO, Legislative Chair
Stephen R. Winn, ED
Michelle W. Larson, Assoc. ED
Jason D. Winn, Esq.
We have officially crossed the halfway mark of the 2022 Legislative Session. The House and Senate released their initial budget recommendations, finalizing the steps necessary to position the bills for the budget conference.  The Senate plan appropriates record funding totaling $108.6 billion, $3.3 billion higher than the House plan. More conservative in its approach, the House budget offers record funding, totaling $105.3 billion, a 3.6% increase over FY-2021-22.  Due to adjusted state income projections, both plans are significantly above the Governor’s recommended FY 2022-23 budget totaling $99.7.  
Steve Winn, Senate President Wilton Simpson & Jason D. Winn, Esq.
The House Health & Human Services budget totals $47.09 billion, $733 million below the Senate’s plan totaling $47.8 billion.   Differences between the plans are partially due to the House proposal’s reductions in hospital inpatient and outpatient rates totaling $251.9 million. Under the House plan, these funds are reallocated to support programs addressing nursing shortages.  Both proposals provide robust funding for graduate medical education, $290.3 million in the House plan and $291.6 million in the Senate plan – funding GME above the Governor’s recommended allocation of $283.9 million.  Neither plan provides funding for osteopathic medical school programs at NOVA or LECOM.

The House and Senate budgets provide $15 million in recurring dollars to fund the Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program.  This appropriation authorizes AHCA to purchase drugs in accordance with the programmatic requirements.    Both plans authorize the transfer of funds to the ACHA from the Department of Health, the Department of Children & Families, and the Department of Corrections to purchase prescription drugs through the importation program.
House and Senate Approve COVID Liability Protection Extension
Remaining committed to protecting healthcare providers from potential liability stemming from the pandemic, the House took up and passed SB 7014.  Passing mainly across party lines (Vote 87-31), the bill will be sent to the Governor for his approval.  The bill extends liability protections for healthcare providers for approximately 14 months, from March 29, 2022, to June 1, 2023.  The FOMA supports this legislation, advocating for its passage throughout the session.  

  • SB 7014 COVID-19-related Claims Against Health Care Providers by Judiciary

  • HB 7021 Covid-19-related Claims Against Health Care Providers by Health & Human Services Committee
The Telehealth bills, HB 17 and SB 312, stalled on the House floor due to concerns surrounding the Senate plan’s inclusion of audio-only telephone calls within the definition of telehealth.  Legislators and staff are working on language to resolve the issue.   Both bills would allow a telehealth provider to issue a renewal prescription for Schedule III, IV, and V controlled substances through telehealth.  

The FOMA supports this legislation.

  • HB 0017 Telehealth Practice Standards by Fabricio

Legislation revising provisions relating to Step-Therapy and expanding access-to-care cleared another hurdle this week, as the Senate Health Policy Committee unanimously passed SB 730.  The bill requires an insurer or HMO granting a protocol exemption to specify the prescription drug, medical procedure, or course of treatment approved. Alternatively, an insurer or HMO denying a protocol exemption request must provide a written explanation of the denial, including the clinical rationale supporting the denial. The written description must also describe the procedure for appealing the determination by the insurer or HMO.

SB 730 has one committee of reference remaining, the Senate Rules Committee. The House companion, HB 459, has passed all committees of reference.  In conjunction with its advocacy partners, the FOMA supports this legislation, providing access to patient-centered care.

  • SB 0730 Step-therapy Protocols by Harrell

  • HB 0459 Step-therapy Protocols by Willhite
Medical Specialty Designations
The House Health & Human Services Committee amended and passed HB 861, a bill prohibiting the use of medical specialty designations by nonphysician healthcare providers.  Rep. Massullo amended the bill, authorizing the Department of Health to draft rules and granting enforcement authority to the Department.  HB 861 has passed all committees of reference and is now eligible to be considered by the full House.  SB 1192 has not yet received a committee hearing.

The FOMA Supports this legislation as amended

HB 0861 Medical Specialty Designations by Massullo, Jr.

Emergency Medical Treatment of Minors
Legislation allowing physicians to provide emergency medical care to minors without parental consent passed out of committee in the House and Senate.  SB 817 unanimously passed its final committee of reference, the Health & Human Services Committee. The Senate companion, SB 1114, unanimously passed the Senate Health Policy Committee and has one remaining committee of reference, the Senate Rules Committee.

Under current law, parental consent is required for a physician to provide emergency medical care to a minor outside of a hospital or college health service. HB 817 and SB 1114 would allow physicians and emergency medical personnel to provide emergency medical care to a child at any location without the consent of the minor’s parents. Under the measure, the provider must first attempt to identify and contact the legal guardian, and care rendered without consent must result from a genuine emergency. 

The FOMA supports this legislation. 

  • HB 0817 Emergency Medical Care and Treatment to Minors Without Parental Consent by Massullo, Jr.

  • SB 1114 Emergency Medical Care and Treatment of Minors by Bradley
Healthcare Provider Free Speech
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB 1184 with a 7-3 vote.  SB 1184 prohibits the Department of Health and its regulatory boards from disciplining a health care provider due to his or her right of free speech.  In an earlier committee, the FOMA successfully amended the bill, removing a reference to the Board of Osteopathic Medicine.  

SB 1184 has one remaining committee of reference, the Senate Appropriations Committee.  The House companion, HB 687, has not been heard in committee but is scheduled to be heard next week by the Professions & Public Health Subcommittee.

The FOMA is monitoring this legislation.    

  • SB 1184 Free Speech of Health Care Practitioners by Broxson

  • HB 0687 Free Speech of Health Care Practitioners by Drake
Medical Loan Reimbursement
The Senate Health Policy Committee unanimously passed SB 1442 relating to the Medical Education Reimbursement Loan Program.  This legislation, supported by the FOMA, revises the purpose of the Medical Education Reimbursement and Loan Repayment Program, expanding eligibility criteria to include medical professionals providing primary care to racial and ethnic minority populations experiencing health disparities.

SB 1442 has two remaining committees of reference, the Senate Education Committee, and the Senate Rules Committee. The House companion, HB 657, has not been heard by any of its three committees of reference. 
  • SB 1442 Medical Education Reimbursement and Loan Repayment Program by Jones

Bill Tracking Report
To review the legislation contained in the tracking report in greater detail:

  • Click on the Bill Number Link. 

  • This will take you to a shared LobbyTools webpage.
  • Find the section titled Bill Text and Amendments

  • Click on the PDF link
Legislative Calendar Week 6
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