Health Care was the topic at last week’s Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting. Committee members had a robust discussion with Chamber member Hospital representatives regarding the 2019 Session. House leadership has made it clear that expanded access to health care is a priority – a shared goal by many in the health care arena. However, ideologies differ - especially between the Florida House and Senate - on the policies needed to achieve increased access and address health care costs impacting Floridians and the state’s budget. Recognizing these challenges and the health care landscape heading into the 2019 session, our Policy Advisory Committee discussed the following issues that may come up during session:
- Medicaid Levels: The recurring cuts to Medicaid rates continue to hurt state safety-net hospitals. Also, the statewide Medicaid enrollment continues to fall (common during a strong economy), the hospital inpatient Medicaid spending by the State continues to decrease along with it. In short, hospitals need to emphasize that the State leave the Medicaid rates alone, if not increase them given that the current rates don’t cover anything more than 60% of hospital costs on average.
- Certificate of Need: Florida relies on a Certificate of Need (CON) process to regulate the expansion of health care facilities to avoid the duplication of costly medical services and was supported by the Hospital members in attendance at our advisory meeting. CON requires health care systems to apply for state approval before establishing new or expanded services. Once again, there are anticipated efforts to repeal the CON process.
- 24 Hour Ambulatory Surgery Center ASC Stays: Would allow patients, except children under 18, to stay past midnight in an ASC. This has been opposed by the Florida Hospital Association, arguing that the legislation would lower patient safety and quality of care standards.
- Advanced Birthing Centers: This would create a new licensure program within AHCA to be known as advanced birth centers (ABCs). Health providers in ABCs would be allowed to perform outpatient cesarean section surgeries and administer anesthesia to women expected to have low-risk deliveries. There are little safety standards or oversight regulations included in past legislation. There are a lot of patient safety concerns associated with this bill.
The Chamber supports reducing the cost of health insurance to the business community by increasing access to health insurance for all Floridians and legislation that gives our health care providers the infrastructure and regulatory environment needed to best serve our community. We will monitor the issues above as we work through health care policy at all levels of government. The Chamber’s Policy Advisory Committee meets on the first Thursday of each month and is open to all members. If you’re interested in serving on the PAC please email [email protected].