Little Opposition As Healthcare DeReg Bills Start Moving In House

Jan 12, 2016

Rep. Cary Pigman talks with Rep. Richard Corcoran on the House floor, 2014.
Credit Meredith Geddings / Florida House of Representatives

The Florida House of Representatives is moving forward with a long healthcare agenda.  It includes a push for more acute-care facilities, scaling back rules governing where hospitals can be built, and letting some nurses prescribe more medications.

Rep.Cary Pigman’s bill expands nurses’ prescribing authority to include medicines like oycontin and Percocet. It passed quickly Tuesday in a House healthcare committee. Pigman says Florida is the lone holdout when it comes to letting advanced registered nurse practitioners prescribe such pain meds.

“There are counties in my district who do not have a physician. And if you break your ankle and splinted…there is no one there to give you a controlled substance. Your choice for pain control is Tylenol from a quickie shop," he said. 

The House’s Healthcare Appropriations committee also okayed scaling back regulations dictating where hospitals can be built, and it approved another bill more establishing recovery care centers and ambulatory care centers.

All measures are part of a push to control rising healthcare costs. But many  hospital organizations oppose the ambulatory care and recovery care centers bills citing citing safety concerns.  The measures could also face some challenges in the Senate, where they've been met with a lukewarm response. Senate President Andy Gardiner has referred to the bills as "second tier" plans.