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Overnight Debate in Sunshine State

Lawmakers may reintroduce extended stay proposal next year.

Published: August 19, 2015

A proposal to let Florida's ASCs keep patients overnight failed to gain legislative traction earlier this summer, but one of the bill's supporters says the issue isn't going away.

Speaking before Gov. Rick Scott's Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding, Rep. Jason Brodeur explained that extended stays following outpatient surgery boost patient choice and control runaway costs.

Rep. Brodeur, a Republican who chairs the Florida House's Health & Human Services Committee, said the proposal's sponsors will likely reintroduce the bill during the 2016 legislative session in the name of healthcare transparency.

Florida currently requires ASCs to discharge patients on the day of their procedures. House Bill 23A would have enabled stays of up to 24 hours, as well as the creation and licensing of independent recovery care centers which could keep hospital, ASC or other patients for up to 72 hours.

While the House approved the bill, the state Senate declined to draft a version of it, effectively killing the proposal. The Senate similarly stalled a proposal to end Florida's certificate of need program this summer. In both cases, the state's hospital industry argued that the moves would siphon away their profitable business.

"The Senate has been a very strong opponent of the 23-hour legislation, and other reforms that the House is looking for," says Peter Lohrengel, executive director of the Florida Society of Ambulatory Surgery Centers. The organization hopes that a reintroduction of the modernizing, patient-care-improving, ASC-empowering proposal will provide an opportunity to present their case before the senators, which the lack of a hearing this year denied them.

David Bernard


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