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Several health care related bills have been passed by the Florida Legislature. These bills will now be submitted to Governor DeSantis for consideration.

Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 732, relates to office surgeries.  In large part, this legislation would codify existing rules of the Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine.  However, there are some significant additional regulatory provisions in the bill.  There would be a new statutory provision requiring that the Department of Health issue an Emergency Suspension Order suspending or restricting the registration of an office surgery location registered with the State of Florida upon a finding of probable cause that the office, or a physician practicing in the office, is not in compliance with the standards for the practice of office surgery, if such non-compliance constitutes an immediate danger to the public.  Second, there would be a change to the current provision that allows the performance of liposuction procedures in which less than 1,000 cubic centimeters of supernatant fat is removed.  Under the current rule, offices performing liposuction procedures of this nature (provided that there is level two sedation lasting 5 minutes or less) are not required to register as a facility providing office surgery.  In addition, all offices which are required to be registered must, no later than January 1, 2020, designate a physician responsible for the office’s compliance with the office health and safety requirements for office surgeries.  Such designated physicians must have full, active, and unencumbered licenses.  Each such registered office must establish financial responsibility in the same manner as physicians. This Act would become effective on January 1, 2020.

Committee Substitute for House Bill 23 is an Act relating to telehealth.  It establishes standards of practice for telehealth providers and permits the use of telehealth to perform a patient evaluation.  It also permits the use of telehealth to provide prescriptions for controlled substances under limited circumstances including the treatment of a psychiatric disorder; inpatient treatment at a hospital; hospice services; and to residents of a nursing home.  The legislation also provides for the registration of out-of-state health care professionals to provide telehealth services to patients in the State of Florida. This Act would become effective on July 1, 2019.

Committee Substitute for House Bill 831 relates to electronic prescribing.  It will mandate the use of electronic prescriptions in most circumstances.  Written prescriptions will only be permitted when electronic prescribing is not available due to temporary technological or electrical failures.  This Act would become effective on January 1, 2021.

Committee Substitute for House Bill 843 is broad in scope.  It establishes a dental student loan repayment program.  It also requires hospitals to notify a patient’s primary care provider after the patient’s admission and discharge.  It gives patients the option to require that the hospital’s treating physician consult with the patient’s primary care or specialist providers.  The legislation also clarifies the length of time that a patient may remain in an ambulatory surgical center.  The limit would become 24 hours, whereas currently the patient must be discharged on the same working day and is not permitted to stay overnight. Thus, overnight stays would be permitted for some procedures.  This legislation also provides for the Agency for Health Care Administration to establish minimum standards for pediatric patient care in ambulatory surgical centers.  Finally, it requires that the Agency for Health Care Administration establish a pediatric cardiac technical advisory panel. This Act would become effective on July 1, 2019.

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This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.

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