With the Florida Legislature taking this week off, attention turns to Washington, where the House of Representatives will consider a Senate budget amendment to reverse the 4.4. % Medicare conversion factor reduction that went into effect on January 1.
That is not to say that Tallahassee has not been a busy place. The House Judiciary Committee last week took up the elimination of joint and several liability (HB 145), which passed by a 7-5 vote amidst allegations of inappropriate pressure tactics by both sides. Meanwhile, medical tort reform received a boost when Senator Daniel Webster agreed to sponsor an Expert Witness Certification Bill (kudos to the FMA's Jeff Scott for securing that sponsorship); a House sponsor is expected to be named soon.
Scope of Practice issues continue to dominate; ARNPs have filed the usual bills allowing them to prescribe controlled substances (SB 602 and HB 485); PAs have filed bills to allow their charts to be free from physician review (HB 859 and SB 1690), and the naturopaths are rumored to have at least a House sponsor for their licensing bill. Medicine is responding to the challenge, having filed bills requiring the disclosure of one's licensure (HB 587 and SB 416), minimum supervision requirements (HB 571 and SB 1420), and additional Board of Medicine authority to regulate supervising physicians (HB 699 and SB 1216).
Finally, we continue to oppose attempts by Senator Jones and Representative Farkas to require commercial insurance for physicians, as such a requirement would be devastating to those for whom professional liability insurance simply is too expensive or not available.
Despite these contentious issues, we have been able to work with other groups to promote legislation designed to lead to a healthier Florida. Already we have testified for bills allowing for the responsible recycling if unused cancer drugs, immunizations for nursing home patients, and lead poisoning prevention.
All of these efforts would not be possible without the help of our physicians. Special thanks to residents; Hernan M. Avella Macias, M.D., and Einar G. Lurix, M.D., Cleveland Clinic, Florida, Daniel E. Peters, M.D., Mount Sinai, and Chris Manganaris, M.D., ORMC; and to our key contact members; Jason M. Goldman, M.D., Coral Springs, and Maghraj Thanvi, M.D., FACP, Stuart, for spending January 25th in Tallahassee to lobby on behalf of the Chapter and our patients.
Page updated: 1/31/06
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