NEC Corporation of America via flickr /

The solo practice family doctor is becoming less and less common. But a local primary care group is surviving the test of time, and celebrating twenty years of service. WFSU sat down with some of the doctors there to find out how healthcare has changed in the past two decades.

Several healthcare proposals are on the way to the Senate after overwhelming support by the Florida House.  Efforts to crack down on balance billing, promote price transparency, and increase the use of Telehealth are up in the final weeks of the legislative session.

Florida lawmakers are bracing for budget holes despite figures showing the state could end up with another year of surplus. Alternative healthcare proposals making their way through the Florida legislature as lawmakers look for ways to cut health costs without accepting billions in federal dollars to expand Medicaid.

A Florida Senate health committee is the latest to sign off on a proposal trying to increase the use of telemedicine in the state. But the conversation in the Senate’s health policy briefly veered off into a terse exchange with the political action group –Americans for Prosperity.

FSU Med’s class of 2015 was sent off to the next step of their medical training during the college’s Match Day. While the fawning graduates accepted their residency assignments with nothing but pride, the specter of Florida’s low physician-to-patient ratio was still on everyone’s minds.

Rep. Travis Cummings (R-Orange Park) and Rep. Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville) demonstrate bi-partisan support of a telemedicine bill.
The Florida Channel

If you can’t get to the doctor, it could become easier for the doctor to come to you. That’s the point of telemedicine, which connects physicians to patients through video conferencing.  A compromise worked out with various hospitals, and physician organizations has cleared the way for a telemedicine proposal to get through the legislature.

Capital Report: 02-06-2015

Feb 6, 2015

In the coming weeks, a Senate panel is slated to take up a comprehensive prison reform proposal aimed at fixing Florida’s troubled prison system. Sascha Cordner is digging into what the overall prison reform package could look like.

Lawmakers set sail this week on a long, complicated journey to rewrite the state’s water policy. As Jim Ash reports, clouds are building as some passengers wonder who’s captaining the ship.

LHatter / WFSU News

Florida lawmakers appear ready to re-ignite talks on the future of telemedicine after it was extinguished. The issue of how to handle doctors who treat patients remotely was jumbled into a larger health-related bill, which contributed to its defeat last session.

Florida TaxWatch’s Tamara Demko says lawmakers need to pare down their goals for addressing telemedicine in the state.

With hours left to go before Florida lawmakers are set to finish this year’s legislative session, a major healthcare proposal has been derailed in the Senate.

The move highlights the gulf between the House and Senate when it comes to how to manage trauma centers, telemedicine, pharmacists and nurses, and the Senate is not impressed with a massive healthcare "train" bill sent to it by the House.

Didier Lahousse / flickr/creative commons

The Florida House is cobbling together several different health-related bills in the hope the combined proposal will sway the Senate to vote for them. But the new, combined proposal still doesn’t sway some in the originating chamber.

Intel Free Press

Florida lawmakers have been weighing how to regulate telemedicine—generating debate between doctors’ groups and other healthcare providers. The House has been moving its telehealth proposal along, but the Senate version of the bill had its first hearing Tuesday.

LHatter / WFSU News

Jacksonville Doctor Phil Perry is the Chief Medical Officer for Saint Vincent Medical Center, and he’s been using telemedicine at the network’s new Clay County hospital. He says the intensive care staff’s ability to have experts on call at the push of a button has saved lives:

“We have seen one saved life in the care of a sepsis patient. Overall 7 patients’ lives have been saved by the performance of our telehealth facility," Perry told a House health committee.

The nation’s health care delivery system is undergoing major changes, and the lines between what different healthcare providers do is beginning to blur. That’s the backdrop for fights between doctors, nurses and pharmacists, and those fights have become an annual occurrence at Florida’s Capitol, as each group tries to increase or maintain its scope-of-practice.

To put it plainly, these are turf battles. At the center is this debate: access, versus quality. 

LHatter / WFSU News

Florida lawmakers are grappling with the issue of telemedicine.

Telemedicine allows doctors to digitally connect to their patients—usually through video conferencing. Florida is looking to Georgia as a guide in how to craft its telemedicine policy. Paula Guy heads The Georgia Telemedicine network, TeleHealth. She says physicians must support telemedicine for it to work, and the best way to ensure that is by paying them: