2021 Legislative Session
Click here for the Week 7 update on bills the FCACC is following.
Week 7 Highlights
Lawmakers have just concluded week seventh of their nine-week Session.
After Tuesday, April 20 most of the House and Senate committees will no longer be meeting. As a result, may bills that still have to be heard in multiple committees will die from lack of action. For the final two weeks, lawmakers will be meeting in their respective chamber to take up issues that still have a chance. The only issue that lawmakers must pass each Session is the General Appropriations Act. Lawmakers are expected to begin the budget conference process this weekend which will allow enough time for them to resolve their differences on a spending plan before Session concludes on April 30.
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training in Public Schools
Legislation that requires CPR in certain school grades was approved this week in a Senate committee. Both the House (HB 157) and Senate (SB 280) bills have one more committee stop before heading to the floor in each chamber for final consideration. The legislation specifies that school districts provide basic training in first aid, including CPR, and the use of an automated external defibrillator during the instruction.
Practice of Physician Assistants
The House this week passed HB 431 which revises how Physician Assistants can perform their work. The bill heads to the Senate where it will be matched up with SB 894 that awaits one more committee hearing before heading to the Senate floor for final passage.
An agreement between the physician assistants organization and the medical specialties resulted in a legislative compromise that expands the scope of practice of physician assistants by allowing them to:
Rare Disease Advisory Council
HB 1373 is heading to the House floor after unanimously passing thru the last committee this week. The Senate bill, SB 272 has already passed the Senate and is awaiting to be matched up in the House for final passage. The bill calls for a twenty member Council is to provide recommendations on ways to improve health outcomes for individuals with rare diseases.
The House Commerce Committee this week passed the Data Privacy legislation, HB 969. The bill is expected to be taken up on the House floor next Tuesday. The Senate bill, SB 1734 has passed all committees and is also expected to be taken up next week. The Senate is expected to release yet another version of SB 1734 just prior to considering it on the floor.
Both House and Senate bills add “biometric data” to the definition of “personal information” which requires commercial and governmental entities to take reasonable measures to protect. But there are still major differences in the two bills. For example, under the House bill, consumers whose personal information has been breached, sold, or shared after opting-out, or retained after a request to delete or correct may bring a cause of action against the controller, processor, or person in certain limited circumstances. The “private cause of action” provision is strongly opposed by many businesses, corporations and financial institutions. The House wants this provision while the Governor and Senate do not. For the data privacy legislation to pass and become law, the House, the Senate and the Governor must reach an agreement on a final product. It appears that they are still a long way from resolving their differences.
Medicare Transportation Services
Having passed both the House and Senate, SB 348 goes to the Governor for final approval. The legislation requires Florida Medicaid to reimburse for Medicare “crossover claims” for nonemergency ambulance services. Currently, Medicaid pays for emergency transportation crossover claims but not for non-emergency transportation crossover claims. A “crossover claim” is a claim for a recipient who is eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, where Medicare pays a portion of the claim, and Medicaid is billed for any remaining deductible and/or coinsurance. The bill requires Florida Medicaid to pay all deductibles and coinsurance for Medicare-covered services provided to Medicare-eligible recipients by ambulances licensed pursuant to chapter 401, Florida Statutes, according to the corresponding procedure codes for such services. Currently, Medicaid must pay all deductibles and coinsurance for Medicare emergency transportation services provided by ambulances licensed pursuant to chapter 401, Florida Statutes.
Telehealth Practice Standards
HB 247 unanimously passed the Health & Human Services Committee this week and heads next to the House floor. The bill will allow practitioners to prescribe Schedule III, IV, and V controlled substances through telehealth. Unlike Schedule I drugs that have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, drugs classified in schedules II through V still have the potential for abuse, but also have well established medical uses.
Hospital, Hospital System, or Provider Organization Transactions
HB 1219 passed the second of three committees this week. The bill amends the Florida Antitrust Act relating to the transactions by hospitals, hospital systems, and provider organizations. The bill imposes certain reporting requirements when a transaction between two entities in the health care market results in an affiliation or a material change to the health care market which could create a monopoly. An entity that fails to comply with these reporting requirements is subject to a civil penalty up to $500,000. The notice requirements will provide a mechanism for the Office of the Attorney General to review transactions before they occur to determine whether a proposed transaction has antitrust implications and, if warranted, pursue action to prevent coercive monopolies from forming in the health care market.
The Senate Rules Committee unanimously passed SB 518 this week. The bill is expected to be taken up on the Senate Floor next week. It provides an additional exception to the statutory ban on certain uses of drones by law enforcement agencies, fire departments, state agencies, and political subdivisions of the state. The bill would no longer prohibit a state agency or political subdivision to use a drone for the assessment of damage due to a hurricane, a flood, a wildfire, or any other natural disaster.
Administration of Vaccines
SB 768 unanimously passed the Senate Rules Committee this week and heads next to the Senate floor. Having passed all of its committees, HB 1063 is ready to be taken up on the House floor. The legislation authorizes pharmacists and pharmacy interns to administer any immunization or vaccine that is:
Prescription Drug Coverage
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government committee unanimously passed SB 390 on Tuesday in the second of three committees. The next stop for this bill is the Senate Appropriations Committee. Meanwhile, a similar version, HB 1155 awaits a hearing in its final committee stop before going to the full House for a final vote.
The Senate bill revises provisions of the Florida Insurance Code (code) relating to the oversight of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) by the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). Specifically, the bill:
The OIR estimates that it will incur a negative fiscal impact, ranging from $100,000 to $200,000, to contract with a pharmacist to provide oversight of PBM market conduct examinations and respond to complaints involving pharmacy audits.
HB 1057 unanimously passed the House this week and heads to the Senate. The Senate Appropriations Committee will hear SB 1292 on Monday. The Legislation revises a number of provisions regarding the State’s Medicaid program. Among other things, the legislation makes changes to provisions setting reimbursement rates for providers of prescribed drugs.
Currently, a provider of prescribed drugs must be reimbursed the least of the amount billed by the provider, the provider’s usual and customary charge, or the Medicaid maximum allowable fee established by the agency, plus a dispensing fee. The Medicaid maximum allowable fee for ingredient cost must be based on the lowest of: the average wholesale price minus 16.4 percent, the wholesaler acquisition cost plus 1.5 percent, the federal upper limit, the state maximum allowable cost, or the usual and customary charge billed by the provider.
Under the bill, a provider of prescribed drugs will be reimbursed in an amount not to exceed the lesser of the actual acquisition cost based on the federal CMS National Average Drug Acquisition Cost pricing files plus a professional dispensing fee, the wholesale acquisition cost plus a professional dispensing fee, the state maximum allowable cost plus a professional dispensing fee, or the usual and customary charge billed by the provider.
Tobacco and Nicotine Products
This week, SB 1080 passed in its last committee before moving to the Senate floor for a final vote. The legislation:
Of Note: In 2019, Federal law was amended to raise the minimum age to 21 for purchasing or knowingly possessing tobacco products, nicotine products, and nicotine dispensing devices, unless the person falls under an exemption such as being in the military or handling tobacco products as a part of a person’s lawful employment.
NEW LEGISLATION FILED THIS WEEK
The House Ways and Means Committee released a new proposed committee bill on taxation. PCB WMC 21-01 provides for several sales tax holidays and other tax-related modifications designed to directly impact both families and businesses. The bill is the annual tax package and will be assigned a bill number and referred to committees.
For sales tax, the bill includes:
For property taxes, the bill:
For corporate income tax and other taxes, the bill:
BILLS HEARD THIS WEEK BUT MAY NOT ULTIMATELY PASS
The legislation defines “step therapy protocol” (HB 1001) as a protocol or program that establishes the specific sequence in which prescription drugs, medical procedures, or courses of treatment must be used to treat a health condition. The bill also requires a process to receive a “protocol exemption”, which is a determination by an insurer or HMO to exempt an insured patient from an existing step therapy protocol. The bill requires an insurer or HMO to publish on its website, and provide to an insured in writing, a procedure for an insured patient and health care provider to request a protocol exemption.
The legislation has passed all committees of reference but none of the comparable Senate bills (SB 528, SB 1290) have been heard in the Senate. With time running out, this issue may have to wait until next Session.
Health Care Expenses
Among other things, HB 1067 requires hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to post a consumer-friendly list of standard charges for at least 300 shoppable health care services on a facility website, consistent with federal rule. The bill unanimously passed its final committee this week and heads to the House floor and will be taken up next week. However, the Senate version, SB 1952 has not been given a hearing in the Senate and may not pass this Session.
Health Care Licensure Requirements
This week the full House unanimously passed HB 1097. The bill requires the Department of Health (DOH) to grant physicians, as defined under the bill, who are employees of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) an exemption from Florida’s physician licensure requirements if such physicians submit proof of out-of-state licensure, proof of VA employment, and an attestation that they will only treat veterans in Florida-licensed hospitals or pursuant to their employment with the VA.
Unfortunately, the Senate version, SB 780 is stuck in a committee that is not scheduled to meet again this Session.
Recovery of Damages in Claims for Medical Negligence
This week, the full House passed HB 651 which allows parents of a child who is 25 years old or older and has no surviving spouse or children to recover for mental pain and suffering in a medical malpractice wrongful death action. The Senate version, SB 1112 has not been heard this Session.
CORONAVIRUS AND YOUR HEART: DON'T IGNORE HEART SYMPTOMS
ACC CardioSmart recently published the infographic below to emphasize the importance of maintaining heart health through the epidemic. Click here for additional information.
The FCACC has a strong presence in the state capital where we meet with lawmakers and work with other like-minded organizations to support legislation. Our goal is to be the source of knowledge for cardiovascular health information. Updates on bills we follow in session are posted on this page along with update on activities in the Capital.
Although a state chapter, the FCACC has an impact and voice at the Federal level. Working in concert with the other 49 chapters of the ACC and with Heart House leaders and staff we have a network of contacts with our Congressional delegation. If you would like to serve as a key contact email email@example.com. Key contacts sit down with lawmakers in-district and in Washington to explain in detail the impact of bills on our patients and profession and form a relationship with our lawmakers and their staff.
Charge: The Advocacy Committee is charged with advocating for CV medicine and communicating with the lawmakers and regulators of Florida on issues relating to improving the cardiovascular health of all Floridians and to promoting access to quality cardiovascular care in Florida.