It has been a fascinating week in Tallahassee, and an effective one.
Among the bills filed at the last minute were the long-awaited Expert Witness Certification Bills, filed by Senator Webster (SB 2686) and Representative Brummer (HB 1561). On the other hand, the Naturopathic Physician Bill obtained both Senate (Senator Webster) and House sponsors (Representative Bowen), and must now be defeated.
The Physician Supervision Bill took center stage this week, with all sides finally agreeing on an amendment that would allow a primary care physician to supervise up to four satellite offices, a specialty office to have two satellites, and a "skin care" specialist having only one (after a phase-in period). This will curtail the proliferation of Wal-Mart-type clinics and "medical spas," and ensure proper supervision by qualified physicians. The amended bill passed the House Health Care Committee unanimously.
After a flurry of activity that ended with only four words being changed in the Truth in Medical Education bill, both Mayo Clinic and the mental health clinics agreed to the bill, clearing the way for the House Health Appropriations Committee to pass the bill unanimously. The bill next goes to the House Health and Families Council before it can go to the House floor.
In the Senate, the bill has yet to be placed on the agenda by Health Care Chairman Durell Peaden. While not great news, his reluctance is partly caused by his desire to have all scope issues resolved before taking any such bills. Also, because the Senate bill only has one reference, he may have been waiting for the House to put the bill in final form before considering it. Both of these issues appear to be resolved, so we will redouble our efforts to get the bill heard soon, and the FMA is also fully engaged on the issue. Sarah Rothell has secured a meeting between the Florida Chapter ACP delegation and Senator Peaden for next week.
In other news, the bill to eliminate Joint and Several liability passed the House overwhelmingly and has already progressed to the Senate floor, a bill designed to study the aging and demographics of the physician community passed the Health Regulation Committee, as did the Surgical Assistant Bill.
On the "defensive" front, mandatory PLI, ARNP Prescribing, and Naturopathic Physician Bills all remained inactive for another week.
Special thanks go to this week's Chapter delegation from Miami. First time residents included; Ana Torres, M.D., and Joshua Trabin, M.D., accompanied by Allen Young, M.D., Associate Program Director, Mt. Sinai Internal Medicine Residency program; and Deanna Mullis, M.D., and Daniel Patel, M.D., accompanied by Joshua Lenchus, D.O., from the University of Miami Internal Medicine Residency program. The ACP team not only held meetings with legislators, but also had dinner with Health Care Chair Representative Gayle Harrell. Overall, it was as good a week as we have had in a long time, but much work still needs to be done.
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