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Health Deregulation Bills On The Move In House

A budget panel Tuesday will take up three bills that are part of a broader push by Florida House leaders to overhaul health-care regulations.

The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a bill (HB 437), sponsored by Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, that would eliminate the "certificate of need" regulatory process for hospitals. That process, in part, requires state review and approval of plans for new or expanded hospitals.

The panel also will consider a long-debated measure (HB 423), sponsored by House Health Quality Chairman Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, that would expand drug-prescribing powers for advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

The panel's agenda also includes a bill (HB 85), sponsored by Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, that deals with ambulatory surgical centers and a proposal to allow what are known as "recovery care centers."

That bill would ease a law that currently prevents patients from staying overnight at ambulatory surgical centers. Under the proposal, patients could stay up to 24 hours.

Also, the measure would allow the creation in Florida of recovery care centers, where patients could stay up to 72 hours after surgeries.

The bills will be heard in the subcommittee on the first day of the legislative session.

House Republican leaders during the past year have pushed heavily to revamp health-care regulations, arguing in part that the moves could lead to more competition and lower costs.

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