January 24, 2018

2018 Legislative Session Highlights - week 3

The second week of the Legislative Session kicked off with the House Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness. The Committee made 78 hurricane response recommendations that can become committee bills in the House. Recommendations included overhauling special-need shelters by creating a statewide special-needs shelter registration; requiring hospitals to take in people denied shelter entry due to medical reasons; requiring each county and local health department to develop a staffing plan for the hurricane season on an annual basis; and establishing emergency gas distribution centers around the state. View the Committee's final list of recommendations and full report online.

Advanced Birthing Centers
On Tuesday, the House Health Quality Subcommittee passed House Bill 1099 related to Advanced Birth Centers by Rep. MaryLynn Magar. HB 1099 creates advanced birth centers, a freestanding, non-hospital facility authorized to perform standard birth procedures, cesarean sections (c-sections) and vaginal births after c-sections among other functions. The Committee adopted an amendment to the bill for the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to develop/require minimum standards in a number of areas such as staffing and operations. FHA voiced concerns about the significant risk to patient safety and lack of compliance with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology best practices/protocols. FHA opposes this legislation. In the Senate, Senate Bill 1564 by Sen. Denise Grimsley has been referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee.

The Senate Insurance and Banking Committee also met on Tuesday to consider Senate Bill 280 related to telehealth by Sen. Aaron Bean. The bill would implement the Telehealth Advisory Council recommendations by providing a framework for telemedicine definitions and creating practice standards for the provision of telehealth services. The standard of care for a telehealth provider is the same as an in person provider. The bill was amended to add osteopathic medicine and passed favorably. SB 280 has now been referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee for consideration. FHA supports this legislation.

Opioid Addiction and Overdose Prevention
On Tuesday, the Senate Health Policy Committee passed Senate Bill 8 by Sen. Lizbeth Benaquisto, a bill intended to combat the opioid crisis, that would limit the prescribing of opioids for acute pain and mandate consultation of the prescription drug monitoring program database by prescribers. The legislation also includes $27,035,360 in nonrecurring funds from the Federal Grants Trust Fund and $15,520,000 in recurring general revenue to be used for case management, treatment, peer recovery and outreach. The House companion, House Bill 21 by Rep. Jim Boyd, has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration.

A detailed, e-mail summary of all of this week's legislative issues is every Friday throughout Session. FHA members can sign up to receive the Capitol Update online. For more information, contact a member of the FHA advocacy team at (850) 222-9800.