2024 Legislative Session Puts Health Care at the Center

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By Mary C. Mayhew

Health care is already front and center on lawmakers’ agenda heading into the 2024 legislative session starting Jan. 9. With the unveiling of the omnibus “Live Healthy” health care package in early December, legislative leaders signaled their deep and abiding commitment to advancing a modern, sophisticated health care system to meet the increasing need for health care in Florida.

The first two bills in the Senate President’s healthcare package will be championed by Sens. Colleen Burton and Gayle Harrell, and encompass numerous hospital priorities, including:

  • $152 million to enhance hospitals’ Medicaid reimbursement rates for labor and delivery.
  • Authorization of Medicaid reimbursement for Hospital at Home programs.
  • $170 million for Graduate Medical Education to train and retain the next generation of doctors.
  • $5 million to expand nurse education capacity through the Linking Industry to Nursing Education (LINE) program.
  • Authorizing clinical psychologists and psychiatric nurses to practice to the fullest extent of their education by repealing and reducing the experience requirements to work in Baker Act facilities.
  • $750 million over 10 years for a revolving loan program to incentivize innovative health care solutions.

SB 7016 and SB 7018 passed through their first committee unanimously in mid-December, getting the state one step closer to incentivizing innovative health care solutions. The Florida Hospital Association worked regularly with the Senate President and was pleased to see that the bills included initiatives providing Medicaid reimbursement for Hospital at Home programs, increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates for labor & delivery, and making a significant investment in expanding the health care workforce.

While there are future legislative hurdles to clear before Live Healthy proposals become reality, the promise of Live Healthy is one of a state with a robust health care workforce, streamlined and efficient models of care, reduced costs, improved patient outcomes, and expanded access to care.

Live Healthy comes at a critical time to support a vision for Florida’s health care delivery system focused on innovation, medical advancement, and improving timely access to health care services for all Floridians. Florida is already the third largest state in the country, and more than 1000 people are moving here every day as retirees, entrepreneurs, and young families alike seek out a thriving home to live, work, and play. Keeping the promise to Floridians that health care will be available wherever and whenever it is needed and provided by a world-class workforce requires investment and support.

Hospitals have a long history of innovation and investment in the service of continually improving patient care. With Live Healthy, they will have a long-term partner in that investment.

Mary Mayhew is President and CEO, Florida Hospital Association.


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