Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics

Time running short for legislative fix to trauma center dispute

Published Apr. 29, 2014

TALLAHASSEE — Lawmakers in both chambers want to allow three disputed trauma centers owned by Hospital Corporation of America to continue operating, but the House and the Senate have very different ideas on how to get it done.

Lawmakers say they aren't sure how a compromise will be reached. If nothing gets done by Friday, costly lawsuits will continue between HCA and safety net hospitals contending the HCA centers should not have been allowed to open.

The Senate approved its trauma center legislation on Monday with a 33-3 vote. Language protecting the three HCA centers from legal action was amended onto Senate Bill 1354, which regulates aspects of the state's Medicaid managed care program.

In addition to clearing the way for trauma centers at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, Blake Medical Center and Ocala Regional Medical Center to remain open, the measure creates a one-year $15,000 cap on trauma activation fees, a one-year moratorium on new trauma centers and an advisory committee to make recommendations for approving new trauma centers.

The fee cap, moratorium and advisory committee were added after a Tampa Bay Times investigation found hospitals across the state were charging huge admission fees to trauma patients, and the highest charges were at HCA facilities.

The House includes its trauma center language in an omnibus health care proposal, HB 7113, that has slightly different language protecting the HCA centers. The House version doesn't include the advisory council and has tweaks reflecting a compromise between HCA and safety net hospitals.

"I guess the House has a position on health care and the Senate has a position on health care, and we will just have to see how we line up before the end of the week," said Senate sponsor Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring. She believes a trauma fix will be passed into law but it may happen just before the session ends Friday.

Hospitals with long-standing trauma centers released a statement criticizing the Senate bill as inadequate.

"Safety net hospitals are disappointed that the Florida Senate today walked away from proposed House legislation that paved the way for resolving legal disputes over trauma centers and instead passed a bill that is flawed and will likely lead to continued challenges," spokesman Ron Bartlett said via email.

The Senate's trauma bill will now be sent to the House for consideration. Meanwhile HB 7113 and SB 1276, the Senate's original trauma proposal, are waiting to be heard on the Senate floor.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Students and community activists marched in Tampa last year after the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The attack killed 17 people and gave rise to Florida’s school guardian law, which this year was changed to allow classroom teachers to be armed. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the measure into law. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
    Damien Kelly, the director of the Office of Safe Schools, told lawmakers that 11 districts have said they would like the option to arm instructional staff, but it wasn’t clear if all 11 had...
  2. Florida Senator Tom Lee, R- Thonotosassa. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times] SCOTT KEELER  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES
    Tom Lee chairs the Florida Senate’s Infrastructure and Security Committee, which has been tasked by the Senate president with coming up with a response to the most recent spate of mass shootings.
  3. Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, a Republican, has asked for a City Council vote on a resolution asking congress for gun control measures. DOUGLAS CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    However, the Republican’s symbolic resolution will almost certainly fail.
  4. Former Gubernatorial Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum, left, and Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa looks on while Terrie Rizzo, the State Chair of the Florida Democratic Party speaks during the Florida Democratic Party and Forward Florida Action Partnership to register voters in Florida held at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, May 16, 2019. JONES, OCTAVIO   |  Tampa Bay Times
    It’s called ‘Campaign Blueprint’ and it’s the latest piece of the party’s rebuild
  5. The Florida Supreme Court, Wednesday, May 1, 2019.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times] SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    A quick look at a variety of salaries in Florida government.
  6. Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden campaigns in Miami, Florida while visiting Ball & Ball & Chain in Little Havana for a meet-and-greet with Hispanic voters on Sunday, September 15, 2019. [CARL JUSTE CJUSTE | MIAMI HERALD]
    Florida Democrats have feared that Trump has been mostly left unchecked to court Miami’s exile communities.
  7. Hillsborough Democratic Party Executive Director Mark Hanisee. ALLIE GOULDING  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Party officials said they sold 750 tickets for $100 to $200 each for the Kennedy-King Dinner.
  8. H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute is the centerpiece of Project Arthur, an 800-acre corporate park that could include up 24 million square feet of office and industrial space on nearly 7,000 acres of what is now ranch land, but targeted for development in central Pasco. Times
    The H. Lee Moffitt facility is the centerpiece of an economic development effort in a proposed 800-acre corporate park.
  9. Marion Hammer, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association. [News Service of Florida] News Service of Florida
    ‘We’re going to find out at some point in the future,’ one Republican said.
  10. Florida Supreme Court Justices Barbara Lagoa, left, and Robert Luck, right, were appointed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta by President Trump. Florida Supreme Court
    Ok losers, who needs access to our state politicians, anyway?
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement