© 2023 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Senators Seek To Boost 'Medical Tourism'

Senate Health Policy Chairman Aaron Bean
Florida Senate
Senate Health Policy Chairman Aaron Bean

A Senate panel Tuesday approved a bill aimed at boosting "medical tourism,'' which could attract out-of-state residents to seek care from Florida hospitals and other health providers.

The measure (SB 178), sponsored by Health Policy Chairman Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, would direct Enterprise Florida to market the state as a "destination" for health services. That would include developing a marketing plan to promote services and expertise of Florida providers.

Bean, whose committee unanimously approved the bill, said medical tourism can be a "great economic engine."

The committee, however, eliminated from the bill an unrelated proposal designed to clear the way for what are known as "direct primary care" agreements between doctors and patients. Such agreements involve patients paying monthly fees to doctors for routine care, effectively cutting out insurers.

House leaders have included direct primary care in a series of issues they say could help improve access to health care and lower costs.

Bean expressed support for the direct primary-care issue Tuesday but said it would have to be addressed separately from medical tourism.

"That's for another meeting,'' he said.

Copyright 2015 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

WUSF 89.7 depends on donors for the funding it takes to provide you the most trusted source of news and information here in town, across our state, and around the world. Support WUSF now by giving monthly, or make a one-time donation online.