Capital New York
Health committee advances ‘direct primary care’ bill
By: Christine Sexton
TALLAHASSEE — The Health and Human Services Committee met for 35 minutes on Wednesday morning and advanced legislation that would allow so-called “direct primary care,” as well as a bill that would allow Florida to enter a nursing compact.
The bills have cleared all committees of reference and can now be considered by the full House of Representatives.
The direct primary care bill,HB 37,had two amendments added before the committee voted it out unanimously. The amendments made clear that a physician would have to give 30 days instead of 60 before terminating the contract.
Direct primary care arrangements allows doctors to collect fees from patients on a monthly basis. In direct primary care arrangements, doctors do not bill insurance companies. The fees cover a variety of primary care services that can be provided in doctors’ offices.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Fred Costello, said that most primary care contracts don’t require any written notice before being cancelled. The 30-day notice, Costello said, provides a good balance between consumer protection and flexibility for the direct primary care provider. The committee added another amendment that would delete a requirement that patients be told that a direct primary care contract — in addition to a high deductible plan — meets the requirements under the federal health care law to have an insurance plan.
The bill is endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business and organized medicine such as the Florida Medical Association. It also is supported by the conservative James Madison Institute.
The direct primary care bill was one of a handful of measures the House proposed last year to help lower the costs of health care.
The committee also approvedHB 1061, sponsored by Rep. Cary Pigman.
Under that bill, Florida nurses could obtain multi-state licenses that would allow them to practice in other states and, conversely, nurses from other states could come and practice in Florida. The bill is supported by the Florida Hospital Association and the Florida Nurses Association.