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Health News Florida

'Transparency Tour' Takes Aim at Hospitals

Continuing to target the hospital industry,Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday announced what he dubbed the "Spotlight Transparency Tour" to discuss issues such as hospital profits and patient outcomes.

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 The Scott-appointed Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding will meet next Thursday at the Capitol and then visit three other cities in June and July as part of the tour. The tour stops are June 17 in Tampa, June 29 in Jacksonville and July 13 in Miami.

The governor's office said the tour will include comparing hospitals in each region and inviting the lowest- and highest-performing hospitals to present information about costs, profits and patient outcomes.

Scott appointed the commission amid a state budget standoff that includes a battle about a Senate proposal to use federal Medicaid money to offer health insurance to an estimated 800,000 Floridians.

Major players in the hospital industry support the proposal, which is opposed by Scott and the House. Scott asked hospitals to provide detailed financial and operational information to the commission, which has met twice this month.

But many hospitals did not submit the information, arguing that they have already provided such data to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

House, Senate Floor Sessions Set for Special Session

The Senate is scheduled to meet on the floor four times next week, while the full House will gather three times, according to calendars posted online Thursday for the upcoming special legislative session.

Both chambers will meet on the floor at 1 p.m. Monday to begin the session. The Senate also is scheduled to return to the floor at 10 a.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m. Thursday and 1 p.m. next Friday. The House, meanwhile, will hold floor sessions at 10 a.m. Thursday and 11 a.m. next Friday.

The special session, which could last until June 20, was called to pass a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

But the early part of the special session likely will be dominated by a Senate proposal to use federal Medicaid money to offer health insurance to hundreds of thousands of Floridians --- a proposal the House and Gov. Rick Scott oppose.

The Senate Health Policy Committee is expected to take up the issue during a meeting at 4 p.m. Monday, with the Senate Appropriations Committee following suit at 11 a.m. Tuesday. The House Health & Human Services Committee will hold a workshop on the Senate proposal at 3 p.m. Monday. Also early in the week, the House Finance & Tax Committee is expected to consider a tax-cut package at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

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