The legislative session has begun in Tallahassee and there are a number of important issues we will be following in the next two months.
SEIU Local 1991 will be championing two bills filed on our behalf by legislative allies.
- The Florida Hospital Patient Protection Act (SB 1026/ HB 905) proposes to mandate common sense staffing ratios in order to reduce patient mortality, tackle the nursing shortage and lower healthcare costs to medical facilities.
- Safe Patient Lifting (HB 289/SB 554) proposes to require new patient lifting and handling policies and practices developed by hospitals and their employees.
Join us in Tallahassee March 26-27 to lobby for these bills and some of the issues listed below. Sign up here.
Below are some of the other important issues we’ll be tracking:
Last year, the Republican leadership in the Florida House made the ridiculous decision to reject $51 billion in federal aid to expand Medicaid eligibility to 1.2 million Floridians and create thousands of jobs. The issue faces a steep uphill battle again this year. We’ll be watching a bill proposed by Sen. Rene Garcia and Rep. Amanda Murphy to provide more Florida families with health coverage by using the federal dollars to let them buy private insurance policies.
House Speaker Will Weatherford tried to starve the state pension system last year, failing only because the Senate wouldn’t go along with it. He’s back this year with a similar proposal to require new employees (except police and fire) to enroll in 401(k)-style investment plans.
Expand ARNP Scope of Practice
Florida is the most restrictive practice state for ARNPs in the country, which only contributes to steadily increasing healthcare costs and decreasing access to primary care. A coalition of healthcare advocates is supporting modernizing the law to allow Florida to take full advantage of all the training and skills of nurse practitioners.
Protect Jackson Funding
A new system for distributing Medicaid matching funds that will come online in July is predicted to have devastating effects on public safety net hospitals like Jackson. JHS could lose $140 million under this system, but the issue is being fought hard by safety-net hospitals. There are also concerns with how Jackson will be affected by reimbursements based on new per-procedure rates versus per diem.