FOMA Legislative Update, Week 7
February 25, 2022

Paul D. Seltzer, DO, Legislative Chair
Stephen R. Winn, ED
Michelle W. Larson, Assoc. ED
Jason D. Winn, Esq.
Acknowledging the importance of supporting healthcare on the frontlines of a global pandemic, Governor Ron DeSantis signs SB 7014 into law. The bill extends the existing COVID liability protections for approximately 14 months, from March 29, 2022, to June 1, 2023.  The FOMA thanks the Governor and the bill sponsors for supporting this vital legislation, recognizing physicians and other healthcare providers committed to providing quality care for Floridians.  

With two weeks to go, budget conferees should begin meeting in earnest next week to hammer out their differences on the FY 2022-23 budget.  Most legislation will officially die, failing to make it out of committee.  Any bill heard in its first committee of reference is eligible to be amended onto other legislation if it’s germane to the viable bill.  The FOMA’s legislative team is monitoring all potential vehicles for adverse amendments.  

In other news, the Florida Senate confirmed Surgeon General appointee Joseph A. Ladapo, M.D, this week.  Democrats opposed Dr. Ladapo’s appointment, citing what they believe to be controversial policies relating to the pandemic.  The confirmation was approved along party lines by a 24-15 vote.  
Governor Ron DeSantis
Signs COVID Liability Protections Extension Legislation into Law
Steve Winn, FOMA President Marc Kaprow, DO, State Rep. Colonel David Smith, FOMA President-Elect Lee Ann Brown, DO and FOMA Legislative Chair Paul D. Seltzer, DO
Patient protection legislation revising policy relating to step-therapy was heard in both the House and the Senate.  HB 459 was considered on 2nd reading by the House.  No amendments were filed, and the bill rolled to 3rd reading.  The House will likely vote on the measure next week. 

The Senate Companion, SB 730, unanimously passed its final committee of reference, the Senate Rules Committee.  SB 730 is now eligible for the consideration of the full Senate.  We anticipate SB 730 will be placed on the Senate Special Order Calendar soon.  

The legislation 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.  

The FOMA supports this legislation. 

  • SB 0730 Step-therapy Protocols by Harrell

  • HB 0459 Step-therapy Protocols by Willhite
PBM Regulation
This week, patient-centered legislation relating to pharmacy benefit manages cleared a significant hurdle, unanimously passing HB 357 off the floor of the House, sending the bill to the Senate for its consideration.  The Senate companion, SB 1476, is scheduled to be heard next week by its final committee of reference, the Senate Appropriations Committee.  

In its current form, HB 357 provides an enforcement mechanism for violations of established PBM audit protections for licensed pharmacies.  Under current law, the Board of Pharmacy cannot enforce Pharmacy Act violations committed by PBMs and insurers. The bill:

  • Transfers the audit provisions of the Florida Pharmacy Act to the Florida Insurance Code, granting the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) the ability to respond to potential violations;  
  • Allows pharmacies to appeal audit findings through AHCA’s Dispute Resolution Program.  Further, the bill establishes a financial penalty for PBMs failing to register with OIR; 
  • Provides that a health insurer is responsible for violations of the pharmacy audit provisions, even if a PBM is contracted to manage pharmacy benefits on behalf of the insurer or HMO.

The FOMA Supports this legislation.

  • HB 0357 Pharmacies and Pharmacy Benefit Managers by Toledo

  • SB 1476 Prescription Drug Coverage by Wright
After stalling, legislation revising policies relating to telehealth was revived in the House this week.  Taking up SB 312 in lieu of HB 17, the House amended SB 312, removing language that would have included audio-only telephone calls within the definition of telehealth.  

As amended, the bill unanimously passed the House and is headed back to the Senate for its consideration.  In its present form, SB 312 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. 

SB 0312 Telehealth by Diaz
Emergency Medical Treatment of Minors
Both House and Senate passed legislation that would remove barriers to rendering treatment to minors in an emergency without obtaining parental consent.  HB 817 was unanimously passed by House and is headed to the Senate for its consideration.   The Senate companion, SB 1114, unanimously passed its final committee of reference, the Senate Rules Committee.  SB 1114 is eligible for full Senate consideration.  

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. SB 1114 and HB 817 would allow physicians and emergency medical personnel to provide emergency medical care or treatment to a minor at any location without the consent of the minor’s parents.  A provider must first attempt to identify and contact the legal guardian, and care rendered without consent must be the result of 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
Medical Specialty Designations
This week, the House passed HB 861 relating to medical specialty designations by a vote of 95-19.  In its current form, the bill would prohibit the use of medical specialty designations by nonphysician healthcare providers.  In addition, HB 861 provides rule-making authority to the Department of Health and grants the Department certain enforcement powers.  

Although the bill’s passage in the House is a significant accomplishment, HB 861 has “likely” reached its highpoint for the 2022 Legislative Session, as the Senate companion, SB 1192, has not been heard in by any committee of reference.  We will have to wait and see if the language will be added to a larger legislative package in the waning days of the session.  Regardless of its final disposition, the bill’s passage in the House is a significant victory, acknowledging the vital importance of physician knowledge and training relative to specialty practice and placing the legislation in an excellent position to be approved in a future legislative session.  

The FOMA supports this legislation.

HB 0861 Medical Specialty Designations by Massullo, Jr. 
Medical Negligence Claims
The Judiciary Committee passed HB 6011 relating to recovery of damages in medical negligence claims by a 17-4 vote.  HB 6011 would authorize parents of adult children to recover damages for mental pain and suffering in medical negligence suits.  Although the bill is positioned for consideration by the full House, the Senate companion, SB 262, has not been heard by any of its referenced committees.  

The FOMA is opposed to this legislation and actively works with other stakeholders to prevent its passage.  

  • SB 0262 Damages Recoverable by Parents of an Adult Child in Medical Negligence Actions by Rodriguez (A)

  • HB 6011 Recovery of Damages in Claims for Medical Negligence by Roach
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 8
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