DORAL, FL – This week, two bills were approved that will boost health care in Florida. The first one was given a green light by the Florida House on Friday, while a day before, another version of the plan was passed by the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee.
The House Select Committee on Health Innovation unanimously approved HB 1549, a 315-page document that was sponsored by Majority Leader Michael Grant. This bill would cost $580 million, according to Grant as reported by CBS News Miami.
In contrast, SB 7016 of 234 pages would cost around $800 million in state and federal money, according to Senate Health Policy Chairwoman and sponsor of the bill Colleen Burton, R-Lakeland. The senate version of the plan could go before the full Senate next week.
And what do they promote? According to the news report, the house version aims at boosting the number of physicians in Florida and also to expand access to health care. On the other hand, the senate bill will try to encourage patients to seek for treatment in facilities such as urgent-care centers and federally qualified health centers instead of emergency rooms if they do not have emergency conditions.
But both bills share similarities such as expanding medical residency programs in order to retain more new doctors in the state, paving the way to allow doctors from other countries to practice in Florida, and allowing the creation of “advanced birth centers”.
These centers, says the report, could be allowed to offer cesarean-section deliveries for women in low-risk pregnancies, which currently is not permitted at birth centers.
“If we do not take steps now to grow our health-care workforce, all Floridians — even those with great insurance and certainly those on Medicaid — will continue to face barriers to care,” Senate President Kathleen Passidomo said Tuesday during remarks to open the annual legislative session, as reported by the Sun Suntinel. “My goal is to make sure our health-care system is growing and innovating to better serve all Floridians.”
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