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. [SKIP O'ROURKE   | Times]
    It’s unclear if there will be any proposed changes to this method for measuring teachers’ impact on their students’ performance, despite complaints.
  2. Ron DeSantis, the Republican nominee for governor, announces his education proposals in front of Franklin Middle Magnet School in Tampa last month. He says he wants to reduce "bureaucratic waste and administrative inefficiency" in Florida schools. But many educators say their budgets are already cut to the bone. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
    DeSantis said Wednesday he will call for expanding state oversight of septic tanks, developing better oversight of wastewater and stormwater systems and requiring the state to track agricultural...
  3. In this Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, file photo, a woman using an electronic cigarette exhales in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File) TONY DEJAK  |  AP
    “We’re looking at it, we’re going to be thorough in our investigation, and we will hold accountable any companies that are intentionally targeting and misleading our youth regarding vaping products,”...
  4. From left to right: Igor Fruman, Lev Parnas, President Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani. Miami Herald
    David Correia, who worked with Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, is now in federal custody and will be arraigned Thursday before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken in Manhattan federal cour
  5. Hurricane Michael, which made landfall in Mexico Beach last year, left wide swaths of destruction across the Florida Panhandle. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Darcy Abbott, a longtime official at the state Agency for Health Care Administration and Department of Health, will coordinate several agencies’ mental health responses to disasters and emergencies.
  6. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, from left, businessman Tom Steyer, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN/New York Times at Otterbein University, Tuesday in Westerville, Ohio. JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    Several statements from the candidates drew scrutiny.
  7. Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN/New York Times at Otterbein University, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Westerville, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    Impeachment dominates. Bernie Sanders looks fine. Biden defends his son. And Elizabeth Warren is finally being treated like a frontrunner.
  8. This combination of Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, photos provided by the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office shows booking photos of Lev Parnas, left, and Igor Fruman. The associates of Rudy Giuliani, were arrested on a four-count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records. The men had key roles in Giuliani's efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against Biden and his son, Hunter. (Alexandria Sheriff's Office via AP) AP
    One takeaway: there are still unanswered questions.
  9. Debris from homes destroyed by Hurricane Michael litters the ground in Mexico Beach. A year after Hurricane Michael, Bay County, Florida, is still in crisis. Thousands are homeless, medical care and housing are at a premium, and domestic violence is increasing. Michael was among the strongest hurricanes ever to make landfall in the United States. GERALD HERBERT  |  AP
    Senators for the first time seriously addressed the complaints of people in the Panhandle on Tuesday.
  10. Marijuana plants grow in a greenhouse environment in this room at the Curaleaf Homestead Cultivation Facility. This environment controls the amount of natural sunlight and artificial light the plants are exposed to, as well as the temperature. EMILY MICHOT  |  Miami Herald
    An Atlanta broker is listing one license for $40 million and the other for $55 million.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement