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Legislators Get to Work – OCMS & SCMS Boots on the Ground

Friday, March 10, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Diane Berg
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Fraser Cobbe

Orange County Medical Society |   Seminole County Medical Society

This week signaled the start of the 2017 Florida Legislative Session and your organization was in attendance to make sure the interests of our physician members were well represented. As reported in previous weeks, there are a number of important issues being debated in Tallahassee that will have an impact on the practice of medicine in our community and your organization has expanded the tools we have available to participate in those discussions.

With the assistance of our OCMS Lobbyist, Toni Large, we were able to call upon a number of our elected officials and participate in several committee meetings this week.

Several of our priority bills were heard and are already moving through the process:

Direct Primary Care (SB 240 and HB 161) has already passed two committees in the Senate and one committee in the House. This legislation is steaming ahead towards the floor of both chambers. The bill will enable patients and employers to contract directly with physicians for the provision of primary care services without the regulation and administrative burdens of traditional insurance.

Retroactive Denials and Payment of Health Care Claims (SB 102 and HB 579) has passed one committee in the Senate and is waiting for its first hearing the House. This legislation will prohibit an insurance carrier from retroactively denying a claim for patient ineligibility if they have provided a treatment authorization to the physician.

Recovery Care Services (SB 222 and HB 145) continues to move towards passage in the Florida House. It has been heard and approved by large margins in two committees in the House. It is waiting for its first hearing in the Senate. This legislation will expand utilization of ambulatory surgery centers and create a licensure and regulatory framework for recovery care centers.

Workers Compensation is also attracting a great deal of attention as the Legislature attempts to address the increased premiums approved last Fall. Most of the debate has centered on the duration of benefits for injured workers and attorney fees. The Senate has published their legislation (SB 1582) and the House released a preliminary draft of their legislation this week. Our organization is working with the FMA to try to address longstanding issues of concern for physicians and injured workers including timely treatment authorizations and addressing the physician fee schedule that continues to be the lowest in the nation.

There is no doubt that our plate is full this legislative session. The above is just a snap shot of some of the issues we are working to address. There are a large number of
additional bills that will start to move in the coming weeks including Maintenance of Certification relief, independent practice for APRNs and PAs, and patient protections from unnecessary treatment delays due to fail-first protocols and prior authorization processes.

We are putting the final details together for a Legislative Days event in Tallahassee on April 4th. We would encourage any physician advocates interested in attending to reach out to our organization so we can include you in our travel party.

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