This week saw the new Florida Legislature begin its 2007 season in earnest. It may only be January, but it is readily evident that the legislators and special interests already are in full gear. Each of the four health care committees held hearings, scores of bills were filed, and several trends emerged.
Overall, it appears that the 2007 Session will target property taxes and insurance as its signature projects. However, this certainly does not mean that health care issues will be ignored. Already much discussion has centered on Medicaid reform, Kidcare, and the crisis in ER staffing. With regard to the latter, legislators and the Florida Hospital Association agree that reimbursement, liability, and lifestyle concerns all must be addressed if physicians are to return voluntarily to emergency room duty. With regard to Medicaid, there was a consensus that physician reimbursement needs to be increased, as it is illogical that physicians are the most vital part of any health care delivery system, yet account for less that five percent of the current Medicaid budget.
Challenges also have arisen. Senator Dennis Jones today made it apparent that he once again will target physician financial responsibility, and Senator Saunders has once again filed his ARNP prescribing bill.
2007 promises to be another exciting year full of challenges and opportunities that we are well prepared to face.
Page updated: 1/18/07
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