By Walter Carfora*
May 12, 2009
The Florida Legislature ended its recent session on May 8, 2009. Our state's March 2009 email alert, written by William Dillon and Kristen Plyler, discussed initiatives related to Medicaid, Access to Healthcare, and Electronic Health Records (EHRs). The analysis below explains the final status of those initiatives. (None of the bills have been delivered to the governor for signature, but he is expected to sign them.)
SB 1658 passed as reported in the March email alert, except that the Low Income Pool Council amendments were taken out of the bill and passed separately as CS/HB 285. The Council membership was expanded by seven—from seventeen to twenty-four. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House will each appoint two members, each representative of Federally Qualified Health Centers and the Florida Department of Health will appoint one member. The Agency for Healthcare Administration is to appoint one non-voting council member who is to serve as chairman.
The legislative leaders may appoint only one physician each, and that physician must take calls from a trauma center or hospital emergency department. No lobbyist may serve on the Low Income Pool Council.
Access to Healthcare
CS/SB 185, which increased membership in the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation board, placed loosened restrictions on providers by Prepaid Limited Health Service Organizations (PLHSOs), and provided additional incentives for pro bono healthcare delivery, passed as reported.
Electronic Health Records
CS/CS/SB 162, which created the "Florida Electronic Health Records Exchange Act," passed both houses. In addition to the previously reported provisions related to EHR definitions, emergency release of records, and a universal authorization form, the legislation provides for an EHR system adoption loan program to facilitate federal pass-through funds and private donations.
*AHLA wishes to thank Walter Carfora, Esquire (Walter Carfora PA, St. Petersburg, FL) for contributing this email alert.
The Healthcare Reform Educational Task Force is a joint endeavor of the Healthcare Liability and Litigation; Hospitals and Health Systems; In-House Counsel; Payors, Plans, and Managed Care; Physician Organizations; Regulation, Accreditation, and Payment; and Teaching Hospitals and Academic Medical Centers Practice Groups.