1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

Repeal of certificate of need process heads to the House floor

The bill’s companion in the Senate is scheduled to be heard Monday.
Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, debates on the House floor May 2, 2017.
Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, debates on the House floor May 2, 2017.
Published Mar. 14, 2019
Updated Mar. 18, 2019

The Florida House is expected to take up repealing the state’s certificate of need process for healthcare facilities next week, after a second and final committee approved advancing the bill Thursday.

HB 21, sponsored by Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, passed the House’s Health and Human Services committee 14-3 despite continued concerns from hospice and nursing home groups about their inclusion in the bill. The measure, at the top of House Speaker José Oliva’s healthcare deregulation checklist, allows the state to determine whether hospitals and other healthcare facilities can build or add beds.

Oliva and other supporters of the measure have said the process, which is overseen by the state Agency for Health Care Administration, throttles competition to existing facilities and allows them to keep prices high. But opponents have contended that the move could lower the quality of low volume but complex treatment by siphoning away cases needed to keep providers well-trained, and that it could draw away paying patients from facilities.

Nursing home and hospice facilities, which have not always been included in past repeal efforts, have argued that the existing certificate of need process ensures that there are facilities that serve all regions of the state, and that controlling how many facilities are built ensures that existing facilities can keep their beds occupied. Nursing homes in particular have argued that controlling how many nursing homes are built allows the state to encourage home and community-based options for seniors.

But Fitzenhagen in committee Thursday said that she felt the type of care that people seek out was determined more by personal decisions or by the type of care being sought, rather than state regulations.

The push to repeal certificates of need has cleared the House multiple times in recent years, but it remains to be seen if counterparts in the Senate will also approve the bill. Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, has expressed some reservations about Oliva’s broad deregulatory plans and said he does not approve of fully eliminating the program.

The Senate companion to Fitzenhagen’s bill, SB 1712, filed by Health Policy chair Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, is scheduled to be heard in its first committee stop Monday.


  1. Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, left, and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody were appointed to the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice by Attorney General Bob Barr. [Tampa Bay Times]
    Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody will also join a commission that will “explore modern issues affecting law enforcement," according to the Department of Justice.
  2. Tiffany Carr — shown during a 2004 visit to a Hollywood nail salon, where she spoke on domestic violence — did not respond this past week to requests from the Miami Herald to address her $761,560 annual salary. She is head of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. [MIAMI HERALD  |  [Bob Eighmie Miami Herald file photo]]
    A bill removes a statute ensuring a state contract with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence following a flap over how much its former CEO was paid.
  3. State Rep. Wyman Duggan, a Jacksonville Republican, presents his bill to create a "do not hire" list for any school employee who has been terminated, or resigned in lieu of termination, from employment as a result of sexual misconduct with a student. [The Florida Channel]
    The measure would apply to district, charter and private schools.
  4. A green iguana strolls around Eco Golf Club in Hollywood, Florida on Oct. 28. [MATIAS J. OCNER  |  Miami Herald]
    The Senate Environment and Natural Resources committee voted 4-0 on a bill that would prohibit green iguanas from being kept as pets or sold in pet shops.
  5. Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley, middle, looks over an absentee ballot.
    A nonprofit is mailing millions of voter registration forms to Floridians this month in hopes of getting people on voter rolls in time for the 2020 election. Pasco’s supervisor of elections issued an...
  6. Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland. [STEVE CANNON  |  Special to the Times]
    Sen. Kelli Stargel said lawmakers deserved the same level of privacy as police officers and judges, but offered no proof why such an extraordinary exemption in public records was necessary.
  7. In this Feb. 14, 2018, file photo, students hold their hands in the air as they are evacuated by police from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., after a shooter opened fire on the campus. (Mike Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, File) [MIKE STOCKER  |  AP]
    But this year’s bill may provoke fewer fireworks than the bitter debates seen in the past two sessions.
  8. The four candidates for Clearwater mayor in 2020. Clockwise from the top left: Frank Hibbard, Morton Myers, Bill Jonson and Elizabeth "Sea Turtle" Drayer. [[Frank Hibbard (Courtesy of Hibbard); Morton Myers [Douglas R. Clifford | Times]; Bill Jonson [Douglas R. Clifford | Times]; Elizabeth "Sea Turtle" Drayer; (Courtesy of Drayer)]
    We might learn a great deal about a key election in Tampa Bay.
  9. iPhone x Pano of fans outside of Amalie Arena in Tampa for game one of the Eastern Conference NHL Playoffs of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New Jersey Devils. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times [LUIS SANTANA  |  TIMES]
    Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Miami Springs, wants to repeal sales tax money earmarked for stadiums such as Amalie Arena and Raymond James Stadium and the Trop.
  10. Rep. Anthony Sabatini presents his bill to create school board term limits to the Florida House PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee on Jan. 21, 2020. [The Florida Channel]
    The idea would require a three-fifths vote in each chamber before it could appear on the ballot.