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Florida Senate Committee on Health Policy Pass Four Bills Heading into Session

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (FNN) – The Senate Committee on Health Policy voted on several key proposed bills during its February 17th meeting including pediatric health care, Moffitt Cancer & Research Center funding, telehealth service reimbusrement, health insurance licensure requirements, among others.

The first bill taken up by the Committee was Senate Bill 362 (SB 362) – Pediatric Cardiac Care which was presented by Senator Gayle Harrell (R-25). Senator Harrell lives in Stuart, Florida, and is a Health Information Technology Consultant and CEO of Health IT Strategies. She was elected to the Senate in 2018 and has since been reelected.

Senator Harrell serves on the following committees:

  1. Transportation Committee – Chair
  2. Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Committee – Vice Chair
  3. Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services
  4. Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee
  5. Finance and Tax Committee
  6. Select Committee on Pandemic Preparedness and Response

SB 362 does the following:

  • Revises requirements for members of the pediatric cardiac technical advisory board
  • Requires the panel’s chair and vice-chair, in consultation with the Agency for Health Care Administration, to develop panel meeting agendas
  • Extends sovereign immunity to apply to all individuals who are members of a site visit review team
  • Requires pediatric cardiology programs to include certain cases in the program’s required surgical volume
  • Authorizes the Secretary for Health Care Administration to accept or modify the panel’s recommendations and requires enforcement of the agency’s standards accordingly

SB 362 passed with no negative votes and is now in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The next bill taken up was Senate Bill 780 (SB780) – Health Care Licensure Requirements presented by Senator George Gainer (R-2). Senator Gainer lives in Panama City, Florida, and owns an automobile dealership. He was elected to the Senate in 2016 and has been reelected since.

Senator Gainer serves on the following committees:

  1. Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development – Chair
  2. Appropriations Committee
  3. Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice
  4. Criminal Justice Committee
  5. Ethics and Elections Committee
  6. Transportation Committee

SB 780 requires physicians who are working in VA hospitals and who are licensed in other states to submit specified information to the Department of Health to be exempt from specified licensure requirements. The bill also requires the Department of Health to notify such health care practitioners of their exemption within a specified time frame.

SB 780 passed with no negative votes and is now in the Military and Veterans Affairs, Space and Domestic Security Committee.

Next on the agenda was Senate Bill 866 (SB 866) – H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute presented by Senator Ed Hooper (R-16). Senator Hooper lives in Clearwater, FL, and is a retired firefighter and Consus Group, LLC partner. He was elected to the Senate in 2018.

Senator Hooper serves on the following committees:

  1. Commerce and Tourism Committee – Chair
  2. Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development – Vice Chair
  3. Appropriations Committee
  4. Community Affairs Committee
  5. Finance and Tax Committee
  6. Regulated Industries Committee
  7. Joint Committee on Public Counsel Oversight

SB 866 would increase the funds the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Institute would receive from the cigarette tax from the current 4.4% to 7% for three years and then to 10% to be used for certain purposes.

SB 866 passed with no negative votes and is now in the Finance and Tax Committee.

The third bill that was taken up by the committee was Senate Bill 700 (SB 700) – Telehealth presented by Senator Maria Rodriguez (R-39). Senator Rodriguez lives in Miami, Florida, and is the Senior Vice President of Miami Realtors. She was elected to the Senate in 2020. Senator Rodriguez serves on the following committees:

  1. Finance and Tax Committee – Chair
  2. Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services- Vice Chair
  3. Agriculture Committee
  4. Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice
  5. Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Committee
  6. Transportation Committee

SB 700 provides for the following:

  • Requires the Agency for Health Care Administration to reimburse the use of telehealth service under certain circumstances and subject to certain limitations
  • Authorizes telehealth providers to prescribe specific controlled substances through telehealth under certain situations
  • Authorizes registered pharmacy technicians to compound and dispense medicinal drugs under certain conditions
  • Provides additional long-acting medications pharmacists may administer under certain circumstances

SB 700 passed with no negative votes and is now in the Appropriations
Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.

The final bill presented during this meeting was Senate Bill 768 (SB 768) – Immunizations, presented by Senator Dennis Baxley (R-12).

Senator Baxley is a Funeral Director and Consultant for Hiers-Baxley Funeral Service. He lives in Ocala, Fl, and was elected to the Senate in 2016 and has been reelected since. Senator Baxley serves on the following committees:

  1. Ethics and Elections Committee – Chair
  2. Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice
  3. Community Affairs Committee
  4. Criminal Justice Committee
  5. Health Policy Committee
  6. Judiciary Committee
  7. Rules Committee
  8. Joint Legislative Auditing Committee – Alternating Chair

SB 768 requires certain persons licensed to practice pharmacy to report specified vaccination data to the Department of Health’s immunization registry, with some exceptions. It also authorizes certain pharmacists and registered interns to administer specified immunizations and vaccines to children within a specific age range and under certain conditions. The bill also requires authorized pharmacists and registered interns to obtain a medical consent form before administering a vaccine to a child younger than 18 years old.

SB 768 passed with no negative votes and is now in the Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee.

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Lynn DeJarnette is a Florida National News reporter. | info@floridanationalnews.com

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