Pre-Session Update # 3
January 15, 2021
Paul D. Seltzer, DO, Legislative Chair
Stephen R. Winn, ED
Michelle W. Larson, Assoc. ED
Jason D. Winn, Esq.
Summary
This week, members of the House Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee passed HB 7 relating to COVID 19 civil liability by a vote of 11-6. The provisions of HB 7 were heavily debated by the committee, and all amendments filed to the bill failed. A priority of House Leadership, the bill is widely supported by the business community.

Under the measure, all COVID-19 claims must be accompanied with an affidavit signed by a physician - confirming the physician's belief that the plaintiff's COVID-19-related injury occurred because of the defendant's conduct.   

The legislation does not include health care providers or entities. A separate committee bill, sponsored by the House Health and Human Services Committee, offering health care providers protection from lawsuits, is anticipated soon. On Thursday, the Committee held a workshop on the subject. Health care groups testified on behalf of extending protections to providers and hospitals who stepped-up and ran toward the danger to help individuals suffering from COVID-19.  

State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees testified before the Senate Health Policy Committee concerning the State’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts.  Committee members cited a number of concerns with the current process ranging from technical registration issues to prioritizing teachers for vaccinations.  

According to Dr. Rivekees, the State plan prioritizes health care providers and individuals over the age of sixty-five, a demographic representing four million Floridians. He went on to say the state is only receiving eight-hundred-thousand vaccines a month, and it’s going to take time. Seniors are going to have to be patient. “We are in a supply-limited situation and hopefully as more vaccines become available and other manufacturers get approval; we can move beyond this group.”  

Dr. Rivekees also announced the state was piloting a new statewide vaccine registration system. The Department hopes to have it available for registrations soon.  

Legislative Spotlight

HB 0247 Telehealth Practice Standards by Fabricio

HB 247 removes certain restrictions from Florida’s telehealth statute. The measure would allow for audio-only telephone calls to be included as a mechanism through which a physician or health care provider can deliver telehealth services. Presently, phone calls are excluded from the statutory definition of telehealth. The bill also would allow for the prescribing of controlled substances via telehealth.   

SB 0528. Health Insurance Prior Authorization by Harrell

HB 528 revises statutes governing prior authorization and retroactive denial.  Highlights include:

  • Prohibits insurers from excluding coverage for certain cancer treatment drugs, if a symptom or side effect, in the judgment of a health care provider, will further jeopardize the health of a patient if left untreated.  
  • Provides time limits for approving or denying requests for prior authorization.  
  • Requires health insurers to authorize or deny protocol exception requests, specifying requirements for, and restrictions on, health insurers and pharmacy benefits managers relating to prior authorization information, requirements, restrictions, and changes.  
  • Requires health insurers to provide and disclose procedures for insureds to request exceptions to step-therapy protocols.
  • Prohibits health maintenance organizations from imposing an additional prior authorization requirement with respect to certain surgical or invasive procedures or certain items, an individual or group health insurance policy that provides major medical or similar comprehensive coverage.
  • Prohibits health insurers, under certain circumstances, from retroactively denying a claim at any time because of insured ineligibility.
Bill Tracking
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.



The following bills were filed this week:

SB 0080 Child Welfare by Brodeur
HB 0227 School Protocols During a COVID-19 State of Emergency by Hinson
HB 0239 Regulation of Smoking by Counties and Municipalities by Altman
HB 0241 Parents' Bill of Rights by Grall
HB 0243 Lee Memorial Health System, Lee County by Roach
HB 0247 Telehealth Practice Standards by Fabricio
HB 0257 North Lake Hospital District, Lake County by Sabatini
HB 0269 Definition of Developmental Disability by Morales
SB 0528. Health Insurance Prior Authorization by Harrell
SB 0530. Nonopioid Alternatives by Perry
SB 0536. Procurement of Human Organs and Tissue by Rouson
SB 0538. Use of Epinephrine Auto-injectors on Public K-20 Campuses by Polsky
SB 0556. Eligibility for Medical Assistance and Related Services by Thurston, Jr.
SB 0562. Medical Marijuana Retail Facilities by Thurston, Jr.SB 0580Dyslexia by Harrell
SB 0604. Dental Therapy by Brandes
SB 0634. Dementia-related Staff Training by Gibson
HB 2027. Naples Senior Center Dementia Respite Support Program by Rommel
In the News
Surgeon General Rivkees Hopes For Increased Vaccine...

Florida expects to receive another 250,000 vaccines in a week, according to Surgeon General Scott Rivkees. The state is prioritizing vaccinations for people 65 and older, and the federal government recently revised its guidelines to do the same....

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Florida Lawmakers Weigh Health Care Liability Protections

The‌ ‌House‌ ‌Health‌ ‌& ‌Human‌ ‌Services‌ ‌Committee‌ ‌on‌ ‌Thursday‌ ‌conducted‌ ‌its‌ ‌first --- and‌ ‌last --- workshop‌ ‌on‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌liability‌ ‌protections‌ ‌for‌ ‌health‌ ‌care‌ ‌providers.‌ The‌ committee‌ ‌heard‌ ‌from‌...

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Florida lawmakers respond to COVID-19 with ... tort reform

TALLAHASSEE - In response to businesses, schools, churches and healthcare providers that worry they could be sued for legal liability for exposing people to COVID-19, Florida legislators are fast-tracking a measure to do what they know best:...

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Hospital buy-ups of physician practices under fresh FTC...

The Federal Trade Commission sent orders to six health insurance companies to obtain patient-level claims data for inpatient, outpatient, and physician services from 2015 to 2020, the agency said Thursday. The FTC wants to figure out how...

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