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Weekly Legislative Update from April 7, 2017

Health Care

SB 1354-Relating to Maintenance of Certification
On Monday, April 3rd, SB 1354, by Senator Dana Young (R-Tampa), was heard by the Senate Committee on Health Policy and passed by a vote of 6 yeas to 0 nays. AIF stood in opposition of this bill.

This bill eliminates the requirement of physicians to maintain board certification in a subspecialty as conditions of licensure, reimbursement, employment, or admitting privileges. Currently, hospitals or private employers have the ability to require their physicians who may practice in a specialty field to hold and/or maintain such specialty certifications.

As medical practices change daily, allowing employers this ability will ensure that these physicians have the utmost knowledge and skill pertaining to their specialty. Hosting top medical facilities, as well as world renowned specialty physicians, is one of the many things that brings people to Florida. We want our physicians to be on the cutting edge of their field and the only way to accomplish that is to continue to implement the requirement of maintaining certification.

SB 1354 will move on to the Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance for its next hearing.

AIF OPPOSES government mandates that regulate how private employers hire their employees.

HB 7-Certificates of Need
On Thursday, April 6th, HB 7, by Representative Alex Miller (R-Sarasota), was heard before the House Health and Human Services Committee and passed by a vote of 12 yeas to 5 nays.

In committee, a strike all amendment, offered by the bill sponsor was adopted. This amendment still repeals the certificate of need (CON) review program in the state of Florida, however, it takes out nursing homes, hospices, and ICFDD’s from the original proposed CON program repeal. AIF stood in support of this amendment.

CONs ensure that there is not an over-saturation of facilities in an area. With too many facilities and too few patients, the quality of care would decrease. Removing CONs for nursing homes would be detrimental to Florida's senior care demands. 

HB 7 will move on to the House floor to be heard.

AIF SUPPORTS keeping nursing centers within the CON program to ensure a high-quality, need-driven environment for Florida’s senior care demands.

SB 182-Relating to Consumer Protection from Nonmedical Changes to Prescription Drug Formularies
On Thursday, April 6th, SB 182, by Senator Debbie Mayfield (R-Melbourne), was heard by the Senate Committee on Appropriations and passed with a vote of 18 yeas to 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, spoke in opposition to this bill.

This bill addresses the ability to move or shift prescription drugs within drug formularies by health plans. Currently, health plans have the authority to move prescription drugs to different tiers within the drug formulary, or add/remove certain drugs all together. Health plans use this system if, for instance, a drug has been found to be unsafe for patients or a more cost-efficient alternative has become available. Removing this ability from health plans would not only cause the cost of healthcare to rise but could put patients at risk of taking potentially harmful medications. 

SB 182 will now go to the Senate Committee on Rules to be heard.

AIF OPPOSES taking away the leverage health plans have to add, remove, or shift drugs within the formulary system as it will increase the cost of health care and pharmaceuticals for Florida’s employer community.