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2006 Legislative Session Report
Christopher L. Nuland
Chapter General Counsel
March 30, 2006

March Madness Hits the Capitol

This week was perhaps the craziest legislative week in recent memory, with Chapter physicians and staff visiting the offices of over 20 legislators, meeting with both allies and foes, and testifying on no less than six different bills in Committee hearings.

Perhaps the week's biggest victory was preventing Nurse Prescribing Bill from passing the House Health Regulation Committee, as the measure failed on a 5-5 tie. The closeness of the vote underscores the value of every e-mail message sent by Chapter members (over 1,800 of them!), as well as the testimony of Chapter representatives at the hearings.

The Physician Supervision Bill again took center stage this week, with the House version passing the Health and Families Council and now proceeding to the House Floor. In the Senate, Chapter representative Michelle L. Rossi, M.D, FACP testified for the bill, and Medicine and Nursing combined to defeat an amendment by Senator Jones that could have derailed a carefully crafted compromise. The bill passed and now proceeds to the Senate Health Appropriations Committee.

The Senate Health Care Committee was also the forum for the Expert Witness Certificate Bill, where ACP Florida Chapter Governor Craig S. Kitchens, M.D., FACP provided testimony in support of a bill opposed vociferously by the Trial Bar. The Bill passed with only two negative votes and now goes to the Judiciary Committee next week. Special thanks goes to Chapter members who sent over 1,700 legislative messages on this important issue.

Unfortunately, not all of our efforts were successful, as the Pharmacist Flu Vaccination Bill passed the Senate Health Committee over Medicine's objections. Yet that loss was more than offset by the failure of the Foreign Physician Bill to pass the Colleges and Universities Committee, where the FMA and Chapter successfully argued that ACGME residency were crucial to the licensure of Florida physicians.

With the Session almost half over, the Chapter's substantial efforts have had a beneficial impact on many bills in the legislative process. Thanks go to all who are participating, but special thanks go to those physicians who this week took time away from their patients to travel to Tallahassee on behalf of the Chapter; ACP Governor Craig S. Kitchens, M.D., FACP, Michelle L. Rossi, M.D., FACP, and UF residents Abe Lin, M.D., Mitchell Machado, M.D., and James Salerno, M.D.

As always, it is a pleasure and honor to serve.

Page updated: 3/31/06