As we reach the last 10 days of the 2009 session (we hope!) we are seeing the creation of some health care trains, a concept that has been somewhat obsolete for a few years but is now coming back. This typically happens when bills are stuck in committees and legislators, worried they will run out of time before the end of the session, will add on an amendment to a bill that appears to be moving through the process. On Monday, Rep. Homan's bill, HB 7131, which deals with medical encounter data, was amended to include the text from HB 651 by Rep. Hudson, which is the Agency for Health Care Administration's deregulation bill, and SB 1986 by Senator Gaetz, which is the Medicaid fraud bill. There is no Senate companion to HB 7131, which is a requirement for a bill to be passed, so we'll be watching the bill carefully to see how things will progress.
The nursing home therapeutic formulary bill, SB 1868, will be debated on the Senate floor on Thursday. FHCA is continuing its communication with all Senators to help them understand how important this issue is to long term care providers.
FHCA also continues to work on an amendment to ensure that nursing home residents have access to voting at the polls. As we mentioned previously, an elections bill has, in fact, been passed by the Senate, SB 956, and by the House, HB 7149, but will need much work if it is going to pass the full bodies on the floor.