Governor Rick Scott’s hospital finance commission meets for the first time today, and it's already running into head winds.
Scott has requested hospitals turn over data about their finances, but the hospitals say most of the request is already available on the state's floridahealthfinder.gov website.
Hospitals have been the driving force behind an effort to expand Medicaid to more low-income Floridians by accepting more than $50 billion in federal money under the Affordable Care Act. The legislature is at impasse over that issue.
The healthcare industry is also criticizing the commission for its lack of experience. There's only one doctor on the panel. Governor Scott has called for hospitals to share their profits. But that idea has also been panned.
“It appears on the front end, to be a form of a tax and the question is do you want to create an environment where tax an entire industry and redistribute income," says Tallahassee Memorial Hospitals CEO Mark O'Bryant.
The commission's formation comes right before the legislature returns to Tallahassee to hammer out a state budget plan, after failing to do so last month due to disagreement on healthcare. The state is facing the loss of a federal program that provides about $2 billion in state and local money to reimburse hospitals and other health providers for uncompensated care.