With the start of the 2019 Florida Legislative Session, several proposed bills could have significant impact on the healthcare landscape in the state. The following are brief highlights of some of the bills that have been introduced and under consideration for the 2019 Session.

This bill seeks to establish the licensure for recovery care centers, which are facilities not connected to hospitals and designed to provide recovery care services to individuals who are admitted and discharged from the center within 72 hours. The bill defines "recovery care services" as postsurgical and post-diagnostic medical and general nursing care provided to a patient for whom acute care hospitalization is not required and an uncomplicated recovery is reasonably expected. The term also includes postsurgical rehabilitation services, but not intensive care services, coronary care services or critical care services. The bill will also allow overnight stays at an ambulatory surgical care center (ASC) where the patient is discharged within 48 hours. Current law prohibits overnight stays at an ASC and requires discharge within the same working day.

This bill would transfer the powers, duties, and functions of the Department of Elderly Affairs over hospices, assisted living facilities, adult family-care homes and adult day care centers to the Agency for Health Care Administration.

The bill proposes a significant to the Florida Patient Self-Referral act by eliminating the special exception for referrals made by a physician to a hospital in which the physician holds an investment interest. The bill will make such referrals unlawful and subject to the Florida Anti-Kickback and Patient Brokering Statutes. If passed, the bill will also require practitioners to provide written notice to a patient any time the practitioner refers the patient to another health care provider who is not covered by the patient’s insurance.

SB 1192 would require all prescriptions to be electronically generated and transmitted. Practitioners will be required to acquire and implement software to accomplish such electronic prescribing by the time practitioner renews his or her license or July 1, 2021, whichever is earlier.