The second week of the Legislative Session produced a series of initiatives that could drastically affect each and every physician’s practice in the Sate of Florida.
On Monday the Senate Health Policy Committee adopted a comprehensive rewrite of SB 732, which governs office surgery. As originally written, this bill would have required virtually every physician office in the State to become licensed as an ambulatory surgical center. As a result, of the amendment, only facilities that provide significant surgical services would be regulated, although the degree of regulation would be enhanced in the wake of several abuses, primarily in cosmetic surgery clinics in Southeast Florida. We thank Senator Anitere Flores for working with us closely on this effort to enhance patient safety without over-regulating all physicians.
On Wednesday, the House Civil Justice Committee passed as Committee Bill that would reinstate the caps on non-economic damages that had been stricken by the Supreme Court. The hope is that, with the replacement of three liberal judges on the Supreme Court by more conservative DeSantis picks, these caps may now be upheld by the new Court.
HB 833, which would allow Consultant Pharmacists to perform patient assessments and initiate drug therapies, was the subject of intense negotiation over the last two weeks. Unfortunately, those discussions did not produce an acceptable amendment, and we must continue to oppose the bill.
On Tuesday the House Health Quality Committee not only passed HB 821, which would grant independent practice to Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, but also amended the bill to create “autonomous physician assistants” that also could practice independently. We spoke vigorously against the bill, as did the FMA, but the bill was passed on a 10-3 vote.
As you can see, we have had an eventful two weeks, but nothing has yet been finalized, and we will redouble our efforts over the next few weeks.