Legislative Interim Committee Update, Week 1
September 24, 2021

Paul D. Seltzer, DO, Legislative Chair
Stephen R. Winn, ED
Michelle W. Larson, Assoc. ED
Jason D. Winn, Esq.
Summary
Returning to Tallahassee for interim committee meetings, the Florida Legislature wasted no time getting to work, hearing reports relating to the pandemic, health care and agency legislative budget requests. No health care legislation was heard in committee this week; however, several health care-related bills were filed. The FOMA continues to monitor the process and will keep you appraised of any legislation of interest to the osteopathic medical profession. 

Florida Surgeon General
Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD,
This week, Governor DeSantis appointed Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD, as Florida Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health.

Regarding his selection, Governor DeSantis commented:

“Dr. Ladapo comes to us by way of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA with a superb background. He has had both a remarkable academic and medical career with a strong emphasis in health policy research. Dr. Ladapo will bring great leadership to the Department of Health."

Direct in his opening remarks, Dr. Ladapo provided some insight into his working philosophy regarding the pandemic.  

“We must make health policy decisions rooted in data and not in fear. From California, I have observed the different approaches taken by governors across the country and I have been impressed by Governor DeSantis’ leadership and determination to ensure that Floridians are afforded all opportunities to maintain their health and wellness, while preserving their freedoms as Americans. It is a privilege to join his team and serve the people of Florida.”

The House Health and Human Services Committee heard presentations concerning COVID and innovative care models developed to meet the challenges presented by the pandemic.  Dr. Neil Finkler of Advent Health hospitals discussed innovations they deployed throughout the pandemic to ensure adequate access to care in a high-demand pandemic environment. According to Dr. Finkler, Advent Health’s key strategic decisions were made around three key categories - space, staffing and supplies.  

To meet space needs, Advent Health expanded virtual and home-health options. According to Dr. Finkler, the hospital’s remote monitoring program significantly reduced ER visits and patient readmissions when compared to those who chose not to participate in remote monitoring.   

Dr. Finkler explained that nursing shortages were placing increased staffing demands on hospitals. To overcome staffing shortages, Advent Health established a team nursing model. Presently, the hospital is exploring a virtual integrated care model. According to Dr. Finkler, nursing programs need to be expanded, and telehealth/virtual models should be established to address future staffing demands.   

Regarding supplies, Dr Finkler explained that in addition to procuring personal protective equipment, testing supplies and ventilators, the hospital quickly mobilized to procure monoclonal antibodies, converting several facilities into monoclonal antibody treatment centers.  Such treatment facilities have played a role in reducing hospitalizations, easing pressure on vital resources.   

To watch the meeting, please click here

For presentations click here
Governor DeSantis Announcements
Legislative Spotlight
Medical Malpractice
HB 6011 Recovery of Damages in Claims for Medical Negligence by Roach
  
This bill would allow the parent of an adult child to sue under medical malpractice.  Presently, Florida is the only state that prohibits such lawsuits. Similar language passed out of the full House last session but died in the Senate.   
Telehealth
HB 0017 Telehealth Practice Standards by Fabricio

This legislation would allow any controlled substance not listed as Schedule II to be prescribed through telehealth. Under the proposed language, Schedule II substances could only be prescribed through telehealth under the following circumstances: the treatment of a psychiatric disorder; Inpatient treatment at a hospital licensed under chapter 395; the treatment of a patient receiving hospice service, and the treatment of a nursing-home facility resident. This language almost passed last session, dying due to other policy considerations within the larger legislative package.   
Abortion
HB 0167 Abortion by Barnaby

The bill requires a physician to conduct tests for the presence of a detectable fetal heartbeat, prohibiting all abortions when a fetal heartbeat is verified. In addition, the bill authorizes a private civil cause of action for certain violations and provides for civil remedies and damages.
Bill Tracking
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
Interim Calendar 2021
  • October 11 – October 15
  • October 18 – October 22
  • November 1 – November 5
  • November 15 – November 19
  • November 29 – December 3
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