Make us your home page
Instagram

PIP changes stall in Senate, but leaders remain hopeful

TALLAHASSEE — Heavy lobbying by massage therapists temporarily derailed one of the major issues of the legislative session: the high level of fraud in Florida's no-fault car insurance program.

The Senate's Budget Committee on Tuesday postponed discussion on a measure to reform personal injury protection, or PIP. Debate was bogged down by a series of amendments that would have added acupuncture and massage therapy back into the array of treatments authorized under the system, but the amendments failed.

Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, who is sponsoring the legislation in the Senate, said he was against including those service providers in the PIP system but welcomed the discussion — even if it meant that a vote on the bill wasn't taken. The committee will take up the issue again during a special meeting today.

"I applaud Chairman (JD) Alexander for making sure we have enough time to hear everybody's point of view," Negron said. "So I'm very happy with how things are going."

Even if the Senate manages to come to an agreement and approve changes to PIP, it still must reach a compromise with the House. That chamber takes a different approach to fixing the system.

Reforming PIP is a critical piece of Gov. Rick Scott's 2012 legislative agenda. Scott has expressed support for the House proposal, which requires people injured in an auto accident to be treated by medical professionals within 72 hours, eliminates chiropractors from participating in PIP and limits attorney's fees. The Senate's measure tightens regulations of pain clinics, requires long-form accident reports and creates a statewide antifraud task force.

Scott said he is staying apprised of both chambers' proposals and has talked to members behind the scenes about the importance of reaching an agreement.

"We've got to create a process that works," he said. "I'm confident that both the House and the Senate, when they come together, will pass a bill that will crack down on this fraud and will be good for all Floridians."

Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, said he believes that PIP reform can be done during the regular session, but others have suggested a special session may be necessary.

Time is running out if lawmakers want to avoid being called back to Tallahassee. The regular session is scheduled to conclude March 9 and lawmakers still must use much of that time to approve a budget.

Both the House and the Senate have clear ideas of what they want to see in PIP reform, Senate President Mike Haridopolos said, which could complicate matters.

"It's always tougher to pass things in an election year," said Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island. "I'm hopeful that in the very minimum we can get the common ground passed and at a maximum we can find some common ground on tort."

PIP changes stall in Senate, but leaders remain hopeful 02/28/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 10:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pasco county lawyer disbarred for taking woman's money

    Real Estate

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred Pasco County attorney and former congressional candidate Constantine Kalogianis.

    The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday disbarred Pasco County attorney and former congressional candidate Constantine Kalogianis. 
[2016 booking photo via Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Rick Scott signs package of tax breaks

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott signed a tax cut package Thursday that — while vastly scaled back from what he wanted — eliminates the so-called "tampon tax" and offers tax holidays for back-to-school shoppers and Floridians preparing for hurricane season.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a tax cut package that will cost state coffers $91.6 million during the upcoming year. [Joe Raedle | Getty Images]
  3. FBI probes fraudster's alleged church scam following Tampa Bay Times report

    Real Estate

    PLANT CITY — Once again, the FBI is investigating felon fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao.

    The FBI is investigating convicted mortgage fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao on new allegations following a Tampa Bay Times report.
[TImes file photo]

  4. Tampa Bay is ground-zero for assignment of benefits cases over broken auto glass

    Banking

    When Rachel Thorpe tried to renew her auto insurance last year for her Toyta RAV4, she was stunned to see her monthly premium had nearly doubled to $600. The Sarasota driver was baffled since her only recent claim was over a broken windshield.

    Auto glass lawsuits filed by a third party (through what's known as assignment of benefits) are skyrocketing in Tampa Bay.
[Times file photo]
  5. Siesta Beach tops Dr. Beach's rankings of best locations in America

    Tourism

    Three beaches in Florida made it on a highly coveted list of the top 10 in America this year, ranked by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, a.k.a. "Dr. Beach."

    This May 18, 2017 photo shows Siesta Beach on Siesta Key in Sarasota, Fla. Siesta Beach is No. 1 on the list of best beaches for the summer of 2017 compiled by Stephen Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach, a professor at Florida International University. [Chris O'Meara | Associated Press]