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Organized Medicine Legislative Priorities Advance

Fraser Cobbe

Orange County Medical Society

Seminole County Medical Society

As we quickly close the door on the fourth week of the 2017 Florida Legislative Session, there are a number of legislative priorities for our organization that continue to move forward. Our lobbying team continues to work collaboratively with key legislators to advance our pro-physician and pro-patient agenda. The following is a quick update on several issues:

Ambulatory Surgery Centers Legislation that would expand utilization of outpatient surgical settings continues to advance quickly through the process. The Florida House of Representatives has passed the measure. The Senate version of the bill advanced recently through the Health Policy Committee. The bill would eliminate the midnight rule in Florida by adopting the federal standard for Length-of-Stay in an Ambulatory Surgery Center.

Maintenance of Certification (MOC) The bill that would eliminate the ability of hospitals to require physicians to participate in Maintenance of Certification programs to maintain staff privileges has passed its first two hurdles in the House and continues to drive towards the Floor. The Senate version of the legislation is due to be heard in committee next week. The legislation would also prohibit insurance carriers from requiring participation in MOC to continue to serve on their networks. The bill differentiates between initial Board Certification and MOC, enabling hospitals and insurance carriers to require initial certification but not some of the expensive and burdensome MOC programs that have been implemented in recent years.

Direct Primary Care A bill that will expand lower cost primary care alternatives for patients and employers while drastically reducing administrative burdens on physicians is also on the fast track this Session. The legislation would make it clear that monthly subscription-style relationships between patients and physicians are not insurance contracts and therefore can bypass the regulatory and administrative entrapments of traditional insurance. Not a single Senator has voted against the legislation as it has cleared three committees in that chamber. The House of Representatives is widely anticipated to approve the bill with a final floor vote potentially taking place next week.

Retroactive Denials Legislation that would protect physicians from recoupments and bad debt due to retroactive denials is advancing in both chambers as well. The bill will place accountability on the insurance carriers and patients by prohibiting carriers from retroactively denying a claim for patient ineligibility if they have previously verified benefits and authorized treatment. Bills in both chambers advanced this week.

The OCMS and SCMS will continue to advocate for these important measures over the coming weeks. We will have a delegation of physicians and executive leadership in Tallahassee on Tuesday to continue to work with our elected officials to advance our initiatives.

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