Bill SB 644: Establishing Rural Emergency Hospitals In Florida

May 10, 2024 at 01:03 pm by Matt

Bill SB 644, championed by Senator Corey Simon and Representative Jason Shoaf, has gained unanimous approval from the Florida House and is now awaiting Governor Ron DeSantis' signature. This groundbreaking bill introduces the concept of "rural emergency hospitals" in Florida, aimed at bridging the healthcare gap in rural areas.

Background Of The Bill

The genesis of Bill SB 644 lies in a federal law allowing the designation of rural emergency hospitals, thus enabling them to receive Medicare payments. This legislative move is necessitated by the requirement for these hospitals to obtain state licensure. Representative Joel Rudman, a Navarre Republican and physician, underscores the vital role of Medicare payments in sustaining hospital operations.

Bill SB 644 empowers rural emergency hospitals to provide essential services, including emergency care, observation, and outpatient services, with a maximum stay duration of 24 hours. These hospitals are exempted from certain regulations pertaining to inpatient and surgical care, enabling them to prioritize critical emergency services.

Current Challenges And The Need For Action

A Senate staff analysis reveals the closure of rural hospitals in DeFuniak Springs, Williston, and Lake City since 2010, underscoring the urgent need for healthcare infrastructure in rural Florida. Moreover, 15 states have already implemented designations for rural emergency hospitals, emphasizing the importance of Florida's action.

Bill SB 644 signifies a significant stride towards bolstering healthcare access in rural Florida. By establishing rural emergency hospitals and facilitating Medicare payments, this legislation addresses the healthcare disparities prevalent in underserved communities, ensuring that all Floridians have access to essential healthcare services when they need them most.

About Orlando Medical News

Orlando Medical News is the number one news source for medical-related content in Central Florida. Through twenty years of service, we’ve cultivated a strong audience of dedicated healthcare professionals. Orlando Medical News is your source for the best medical news in Central Florida and your trusted advertising platform which reaches far into the medical community of Central Florida healthcare professionals.

Sections: Digital Editions