As FHCA staff headed back to the office after a day at the Capitol, the dark clouds began swirling around us. A tornado warning has been issued for the City of Tallahassee, which resulted in us picking up our pace and thankfully making it inside before the rain and hail arrived.
Things were a bit stormy inside the Capitol, as well, as the amendments started flying for a health care bill we've been tracking. HB 651, sponsored by Rep. Matt Hudson (R-101), is the Agency for Health Care Administration's bill which contains several "deregulation" provisions. It appears to be the perfect "health care vehicle" to move its way through session, and while some of the amendments stayed and some did not, in the end it is still a bill supported by FHCA. The next stop the bill will make is the House floor, so there appears to be a silver lining on the horizon. The Senate companion, SB 2286 sponsored by Sen. Andy Gardiner (R-9), is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Most of the House Health Care Services Appropriations Committee was taken up by HB 433, sponsored by Rep. Ken Roberson (R-71). FHCA supports this bill, which implements a "formulary" for nursing homes similar to the one that has been in use by hospitals for nearly 25 years. The debate primarily centered around whether the physician was notified prior to the dispensing of the substituted drug (what we have now) or simply notified (the way a formulary system works). A hand-written amendment, filed during the committee meeting by Rep. "Doc" Renuart (R-18), added the "prior to dispensing" language, which is not in the companion Senate bill (SB 1868) also set to be heard later this week. This issue is far from over.
For FHCA, it will be a busy week as we welcome our members to town for our last Lobby Wednesday. The House and Senate, for their part, will spend lots of time in Session, and anything can happen when legislators are on the floor. FHCA will continue tracking these bills, as well as our important reimbursement issue, and will continue keeping members up-to-date as things progress.