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Advocacy

2022 Legislative Session

Click here for the Week 9 update on bills the FCACC is following.

Friday, March 11, 2022 should have been the final day of the 2022 Legislative Session. But week eight’s budget negotiations were delayed as several key lawmakers needed to return to their District to deal with wildfires raging in the Panhandle. As a result of the delayed budget negotiations, the Session was extended until Monday, March 14 by Concurrent Resolution. The resolution limits legislative consideration to only the budget, conference committee reports and related bills. All other bills that did not pass by March 11, are now considered out of order.

Bills of Interest that Passed 2022 Session

Emergency Medical Care and Treatment to Minors Without Parental Consent

HB 817 by Rep. Massullo authorizes physicians licensed under chapters 458 or 459, F.S., to provide emergency medical care or treatment to a minor without parental consent. This allows physicians to provide such care in prehospital settings, similar to EMTs and paramedics, or in hospital settings

Organ Harvesting Practices of the People's Republic of China

HB 791 by Rep. Fischer urges the President and Congress to:

  • Condemn China for the practice of forcibly removing human organs for transplants;
  • Pass legislation and measures that prohibit collaboration between U.S. pharmaceutical and medical companies and any Chinese counterparts linked to forced organ harvesting; and
  • Ban people who have participated in forced organ harvesting from entering the U.S. and provide for the prosecution of such people.

Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality

HB 5 by Rep. Grall prohibits a physician from performing an abortion after the fetus has reached 15 weeks of gestational age and redefines the term “gestation” to measure this time period from the first day of the pregnant woman’s last menstrual period. Additionally, the bill requires that the Comprehensive Statewide Tobacco Education and Use Prevention Program must target information towards pregnant women and women who may become pregnant.

Independent Hospital Districts

SB 1260 by Sen. Gruters provides a procedure for an independent hospital district to convert into a private non-profit entity by following the steps that are specified in the bill. The bill was amended in the House to specify  that a referendum is not required on an approved agreement to convert an independent hospital district to a non-profit entity if the independent hospital district has not levied, collected, or received ad valorem taxes in the current fiscal year or the previous five fiscal years.


Telehealth

SB 312 Sen. Diaz excludes from the definition of “telehealth” audio-only telephone calls.  The legislation also allows a telehealth provider to issue a renewal prescription for a controlled substance listed in Schedule III, IV, or V, through telehealth, within the scope of his or her practice, and in accordance with other state and federal laws.

 

Pharmacies and Pharmacy Benefit Managers

HB 357 provides increased oversight of pharmacy benefit managers who serve as middlemen between health insurers and pharmacies. Small pharmacies have long complained about pharmacy benefit managers, which represent health insurers in negotiations with drug companies and pharmacies. The bill would give the state Office of Insurance Regulation more authority over pharmacy benefit managers. As an example, pharmacy benefit managers are required to register with the state, but the Office of Insurance Regulation does not have power to enforce the registration requirement. The bill would allow the Office of Insurance Regulation to fine pharmacy benefit managers for violations of the requirement. Also, current law sets guidelines for audits that pharmacy benefit managers conduct of pharmacies. The bill would give the Office of Insurance Regulation authority to enforce violations of the guidelines.


Step-therapy Protocols

HB 459 by Rep. Willhite defines “step therapy protocol” 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.

 

Patient Care in Health Care Facilities

HB 469 by Rep. Trabulsy addresses the administration of medication within a local county detention facility.  The legislation will allow home health aides and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) to perform additional tasks in providing assistance to patients with self-administration of medication to create consistency. The bill expands the duties a nurse may delegate to a home health aide or CNA to include administering an insulin syringe that is prefilled with the proper dosage by a pharmacist or an insulin pen that is prefilled by the manufacturer.

 

Telecommunicator Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

HB 593 by Trabulsy requires 911 public safety telecommunicators to complete biennial telecommunicator CPR training in order to have their certification renewed. The bill also authorizes certain public safety agencies to enter into a reciprocal agreement with another public safety agency to provide telephonic assistance in administering CPR, including a fire department, law enforcement department, or other emergency medical service that receives or dispatches calls for emergency medical conditions.


Managed Care Plan Performance

HB 855 by Rep. Bartleman requires Managed Medical Assistance (MMA) program plans to collect and report an expanded set of performance measures. Beginning in calendar year 2025, the bill requires each plan to collect and report all of the Adult Core Set behavioral health measures, which are not currently required by Agency for Health Care Administration. Beginning in calendar year 2026, the bill requires each MMA plan to stratify all performance measure data by recipient age, race, ethnicity, primary language, sex, and disability status.

 

Living Organ Donors in Insurance Policies

HB 1099 by Rep. Barnaby prohibits insurers of life insurance policies, industrial life insurance policies, group life insurance policies, credit life and credit disability insurance policies, and long term care insurance policies from discriminating against living organ donors, or prospective donors, in coverage or eligibility solely on their status as a living organ donor. The bill makes such discrimination a violation of the Unfair Insurance Trade Practices Act, subject to existing penalties within the Act.


Medicaid Managed Care

SB 1950 by Sen. Brodeur makes changes to the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC) program in anticipation of the next procurement cycle, for plan year 2025. Among other provisions, the bill consolidates the 11 regions into eight, and adjusting the minimum and maximum numbers of plans with which the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) will contract to provide services to managed medical assistance (MMA) and long-term care managed care (LTC) enrollees; creates requirements concerning the delivery of dental benefits; and requires AHCA to conduct a single statewide SMMC procurement, requires negotiation and selection on a regional basis, and authorizes statewide contract awards if deemed the best value.

 

Evidentiary Standards for Actions Arising During an Emergency

SB 542 by Sen. Anna Maria Rodriguez specifies that certain actions taken by a business during a state of emergency declared by the Governor may not be used as evidence to establish the existence of an employer-employee relationship in certain enumerated civil causes of action.

 

Department of Health

SB 768 by Sen. Anna Maria Rodriguez requires the Department of Health to adopt rules to establish marijuana potency variation.  The bill also specifies that the Department of Health would not be allowed to renew a medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC)  license if the licensee has not begun to cultivate, process or dispense medical marijuana by the date that the treatment center is required to renew.  This is designed to prohibit companies from holding then selling licenses. The bill makes a number of changes to state law regarding health care-related issues regulated by the Department of Health.  Specifically included among those revisions is the requirement that a change to a physician’s licensing information that must be submitted to the Florida Department of Health would now be required to be reported to the department within 45 days of the change in status or in the occurrence of an event. It also revises Florida law to allow the Department of Health to collect samples of marijuana and marijuana delivery devices, in general, from a MMTC for specified testing, rather than only samples of edibles. It also expands MMTC recall requirements to all marijuana products and delivery devices, rather than only edibles.

 

Acute and Post-acute Hospital Care at Home

SB 1222 by Sen. Bean authorizes paramedics and Class III institutional pharmacies, a type of hospital pharmacy, to serve hospital patients at their homes. Under the bill, a paramedic, under the supervision of a physician or acting under other standing orders, may provide basic life support services and advanced life support services to a patient receiving acute and post-acute hospital care at his or her permanent residence through a program approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Agency for Health Care Administration. A Class III institutional pharmacy may dispense, distribute, compound, and fill prescriptions for medicinal drugs for these same patients. 

 

Clinical Laboratory Testing

SB 1374 by Sen. Anna Maria Rodriguez exempts registered nurses (RNs) who are determined by the clinical lab director of a hospital or hospital-based off campus emergency department  to be qualified to perform only moderate-level or waiver-level clinical laboratory testing within the hospital or hospital-based off-campus emergency department with a separate federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) program clinical laboratory certification under 42 C.F.R. part 493.

 

COVID-19-related Claims Against Health Care Providers (Signed into Law)

SB 7014 by the Senate Judiciary Committee extends the length of time that health care providers receive certain liability protections from COVID-19-related claims. According to legislation passed during the 2021 Legislative Session, liability protections from COVID-19-related claims apply to claims accruing within 1 year after the effective date of the act, which was March 29, 2022. The bill extends the application period of the liability protections, making them applicable to claims accruing before June 1, 2023. The net result of the bill is to extend the liability protections for about 14 months, from March 29, 2022, to June 1, 2023.

 

Bills of Interest That Did NOT Pass

Electrocardiograms for Student Athletes

HB 59 by Rep. Hawkins requiring certain students to receive electrocardiogram to participate in interscholastic athletic competition. 

 

Data Privacy

HB 9 by Rep. McFarland would give consumers the right to determine what information is collected, delete or correct the data, and opt out of selling or sharing that personal information. But the House version, filed by Rep. Fiona McFarland, has drawn resistance from business interests who fear complying with the measure will significantly raise costs on companies, which will trickle down to consumers. The House bill allows the Department of Legal Affairs (DLA) to enforce such rights by bringing an action against, and collecting civil penalties from, businesses that violate a consumer’s rights as provided in the bill. A consumer whose personal information has been sold or shared after opting-out, or has been retained after a request to delete or correct such information may also bring a cause of action on his or her own behalf. The private “cause of action” is a major sticking point between the House and Senate and among many stakeholders and businesses. The Senate preference is for the Attorney General to handle legal action and does not include the controversial private cause of action provision.

       

Free Speech of Health Care Practitioners

HB 687 by Rep. Drake would prohibit a board within the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Health (DOH), or the DOH if there is no board, and recognizing agencies from reprimanding, sanctioning, revoking or threatening to revoke a license, certificate, or registration of a health care practitioner for exercising their constitutional right of free speech, including through the use of a social media platform. The bill provides an exception to this prohibition if the DOH, board, or recognizing agency proves beyond a reasonable doubt that a health care practitioner’s use of free speech has led to the direct physical harm of a person with whom the health care practitioner had a practitioner-patient relationship within the 3 years immediately preceding the physical harm.


Sovereign Immunity

SB 974 by Sen. Gruters increases the limits of the state’s waiver of sovereign immunity for some public entities.  Under the bill, the limits are increased from $200,000 per injured person and $300,000 per incident to $400,000 per person and $600,000 per incident for the state, state agencies, and a county or municipality with a population in excess of 250,000, and are increased to $300,000 per person and $400,000 per incident for a county or municipality with a population between 50,000 and 250,000. The bill allows sovereign entities other than the state or a state agency to voluntarily pay a claim in excess of the limits without the need for a claim bill. The bill also provides that there is no statute of limitations or statute of repose on a civil action against the state or a local government where the plaintiff was younger than 16 years of age at the time of the injury and the injury involved a violation of the sexual battery statute.

 

Recovery of Damages in Claims for Medical Negligence

HB 6011 by Rep. Roach allows parents of an adult child who has no surviving spouse or children to recover for mental pain and suffering in a medical malpractice wrongful death action.

 

Conference Committee Bills to be Approved on Monday, March 14th

Health / Drug Importation

SB 2526 by Senate Appropriations Committee appropriates $20 Million to the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center for the construction and development of the Moffitt Pasco County Life Sciences Park. The bill expands the list of eligible pharmacists or wholesalers who can import drugs under the Canadian Drug Importation Program to include a pharmacist or wholesaler employed by or under contract with a forensic facility that are managed by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. It also renames the Florida Consortium of National Cancer Institute Centers as the Casey DeSantis Cancer Research Program.

 

Taxation

HB 7071 by Ways & Means Committee provides for a number of tax reductions and other tax-related modifications designed to help both families and businesses. Of note, the bill updates the Florida corporate income tax code by adopting the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) as in effect on January 1, 2022, including the federal change to the deduction for research and experimental expenditures. The existing deduction for Research and Experimental Expenditures found in section 174 of the IRC generally allowed companies to immediately deduct 100% of their non-depreciable expenses for research related to science or technology. Beginning January 1, 2022, those expenses instead are required to be deducted over five years (for domestic research expenses) or fifteen years (for foreign research expenses).

 

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.

Heart Health During COVID-19 graphic

TALLAHASSEE

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.
Click here to find your Florida Senators and Representatives. WASHINGTON, DC

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 jennifer@accfl.org. 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. 

ADVOCACY COMMITTEE

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.
 
David Kenigsberg, MD, FACC, Chair, Plantation


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