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Weekly Legislative Update from February 23, 2018

Health Care

HB 21-Relating to Controlled Substances

On Wednesday, February 21st, HB 21 by Representative Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton) was heard before the House Health and Human Services Committee and passed by a vote of 19 yeas and 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this bill.

This bill addresses opioid abuse by expanding the use of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), increasing regulation of prescribers and dispensers, and aligning state criminal statutes with federal law. The bill limits the prescription for a Schedule II opioid to alleviate acute pain to a three-day supply, or a seven-day supply if deemed medically necessary by the prescriber.

The bill also requires the Department of Health (DOH) to adopt rules establishing guidelines for prescribing controlled substances for acute pain, similar to those for chronic pain. Additionally, the bill also requires a health care practitioner authorized to prescribe controlled substances to complete a board-approved 2-hour continuing education course on safely and effectively prescribing controlled substances, and to review a patient’s PDMP history prior to prescribing or dispensing a controlled substance.

HB 21 will go on to the House floor for consideration.

The Senate version of this bill has been amended to include provisions that prohibit the use of protocols such as prior authorization and step therapy, and for those reasons AIF is neutral on SB 8.

AIF supports legislative efforts that aim to curb opioid abuse and addiction that is currently running rampant through the state affecting Florida’s families and businesses.


SB 280-Relating to Telehealth

On Thursday, February 22nd, SB 280 by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) was heard before the Senate Committee on Appropriations and passed by a vote of 20 yeas to 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this bill.

SB 280 provides specific authorization for the provision of health care services through telehealth. Telehealth is the provision of health care services using telecommunication technologies, which allows licensed practitioners in one location to diagnose and treat patients at a different location. The bill will remove regulatory ambiguity regarding the provision of health care services using this technology because it is not currently addressed in Florida Statutes.

SB 280 will go on to the Senate floor for consideration.

AIF supports legislation that permits an unfettered role for telehealth services that will allow our citizens access to better quality care at lower costs.