Sen. Jeff Brandes filed a bill Wednesday that would toss a controversial “certificate of need” hospital regulatory process as the House fast-tracks an identical bill.
House Republican leaders and Gov. Rick Scott, a former hospital CEO, have long supported repealing the “certificate of need,” but the effort has stalled in the Senate.
This year, though, the bill has a powerful advocate in the Senate: Budget Chairman Rob Bradley, who last Session filed a bill to scrap that regulation.
“By eliminating the state’s restrictive CON process we’ll increase competition and drive down the cost of health care for Floridians,” Bradley said.
The House bill filed by state Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, a Fort Myers Republican, is already set for a week-one floor vote, an indication that it is again a priority for House Speaker Richard Corcoran. Brandes’ bill has yet to be referred to committees.
Under both bills, the “certificate of need” would be repealed for hospitals only. Current law requires health care providers to have a “certificate of need” before building or converting hospitals, nursing homes and hospices.
The regulation was initially created in 1973 by the federal government as a method to control costs and it was repealed at the federal level in 1987. Several states have maintained some form of it, including Florida.