Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

Bill to allow overnight ambulatory surgical center stays moves forward in the Senate

The Senate Health Policy committee Tuesday voted to advance the bill, which would allow stays to up to 24 hours.
Rep. Gayle B. Harrell, R- Stuart, shares a laugh with Florida Governor Rick Scott during a joint session of the Florida Legislature, Tuesday, 1/9/18. SCOTT KEELER | Times
Rep. Gayle B. Harrell, R- Stuart, shares a laugh with Florida Governor Rick Scott during a joint session of the Florida Legislature, Tuesday, 1/9/18. SCOTT KEELER | Times
Published Feb. 19, 2019
Updated Feb. 19, 2019

A proposal to allow patients at ambulatory surgical centers to stay overnight was approved by the Senate Health Policy committee Tuesday, with a promise from its sponsor that she would not seek to further extend how long patients can remain at those facilities.

Patients at ambulatory surgical centers can currently only stay for the duration of the day but SB 434, which was passed unanimously, would allow patients to stay at such centers up to 24 hours, enabling them to remain overnight. Sen. Gayle Harrell, R-Stuart, the chair of the committee, said the change would help lower health care costs by preventing costly transfers to hospitals that are required to happen under the current statute if a patient needs more time before returning home.

Children are exempted for now from the bill, Harrell added, to allow the Agency for Health Care Administration to develop rules for their care in conjunction with medical boards.

“Many patients end up transferred to the hospital in order to wake up or get through a little bit of pain,” she said, noting that 39 other states allow 24-hour stays. Extending the time they can recuperate gives them a “patient-centered option.”

Increasing how long patients can stay at ambulatory surgical centers has been a regular issue in recent sessions, and proposals allowing the increase to 24-hour stays have been floated before. The House has proposed also allowing recovery care centers to house patients for up to 72 hours, though the Senate has not typically agreed.

Some members of the committee, including Democratic Sens. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg and Janet Cruz of Tampa, raised concerns that extending stays might negatively affect hospitals by increasing their burden of high-risk patients more disproportionately on Medicaid.

But Harrell said ambulatory surgical centers were the appropriate venue for such low-risk patients “to get the appropriate care” and that such centers take all patients, including Medicaid ones.

Michael Madewell, the administrator for the Panama City Surgery Center, urged lawmakers to support the bills.

When the current law was first written decades ago, he said, the only surgeries being performed were colonoscopies and cataract surgery. More advanced surgeries now being performed regularly at centers like his, he said, require more anesthesia and time to recover.

“We’re still stuck with a thirty-year old statute that doesn’t really apply to what we do anymore,” he told legislators. Patients call him to complain about more expensive stays when they are transferred to hospitals, but he said under the current law he does not have other options.

In response to some concerns the bill would change more before it reaches the Senate floor, Harrell promised that the 24-hour cap would stay in place before the bill passed out of committee Tuesday.

“We’re not going to 72 hours. This is 24 hours,” she said.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Visitors head to Florida's Old Capitol building on Tuesday, the first day of the annual session. The same day, the advocacy group Equality Florida denounced four bills filed by Republican lawmakers, calling them “the most overtly anti-LGBTQ agenda from the Florida legislature in recent memory.” [SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Most of the bills try to eliminate local ordinances, and Republicans say they’ve been unfairly labeled.
  2. Attorney Joseph Bondy tweeted this photo of his client, Lev Parnas (right) with former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi on Friday, Jan. 17. Bondi on Friday was named on of President Donald Trump's impeachment lawyers. [Twitter]
    Parnas’ lawyer tweeted out the photo of the former Florida attorney general along with #TheyAllKnew.
  3. Florida Senator Rob Bradley, R- Fleming Island, watches the action on the first day of the session, 1/14/2020.  [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
    A popular bill would allow judges to dole out punishments less than the mandatory minimum sentences spelled out in state law for many drug crimes if the defendant meets certain criteria.
  4. Vice President Mike Pence take selfies with supporters after giving a campaign speech during the "Keep America Great" rally at the Venetian Event Center at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, January 16, 2020.  [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    ‘Come November the American people are going to have our say,’ Pence said.
  5. Rep. Stan McClain, an Ocala Republican, presents a bill that would allow Florida public colleges and universities to sponsor charter schools, during a January 2020 meeting of the House PreK-12 Innovation subcommittee. [The Florida Channel]
    Alternative authorizers have been found unconstitutional in the past. But that isn’t stopping the effort.
  6. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, members of the Florida Cabinet, left, and the Florida Supreme Court, right, stand at attention as the colors are posted in the Florida Senate during the first day of the Florida legislative session in Tallahassee, Tuesday, January 14, 2020.  [SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES]
    The court ruled that Amendment 4‘s “all terms of sentence” include the payment of all court fees, fines and restitution.
  7. Thousands rallied and marched from the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center to the Florida Historic Capitol to demand more money for public schools Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. Thousands of school workers from around the state thronged Florida's Capitol on Monday to press Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature to more than double the nearly $1 billion the governor is proposing for teacher raises and bonuses.  (Tori Lynn Schneider/Tallahassee Democrat via AP) [TORI LYNN SCHNEIDER  |  AP]
    The PreK-12 Appropriations subcommittee cutting exercise would come in nearly 25 percent below Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal.
  8. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.,, center, speaks as fellow candidates businessman Tom Steyer, from left, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. listen, Tuesday during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) [PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP]
    The candidates’ proposals reveal differences in how they plan to approach the issue.
  9. Vice President Mike Pence points to supporters before speaking during a campaign rally at the Huntington Center, Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) [TONY DEJAK  |  AP]
    Vice President Mike Pence will take the stage in New Tampa, at the Venetian Event Center at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, at 1:30 p.m. It wasn’t planned that way.
  10. <Samsung D70 / D75 / S730 / S750>
    For the first time since he was nominated by Gov. Ron DeSantis for the job of Florida Surgeon General, Scott Rivkees appeared before senators to answer questions that have been percolating for nine...
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement