Budget conference: Pediatrician fees, graduate medical education done deal
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 2/6/23-Rep. Tom Leek, R-Ormond Beach, chairs the Appropriations Committee, Monday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

Will legislators allow Mayo Clinic to participate in the Casey DeSantis Cancer Research Program?

Health care budget negotiations wrapped Saturday night with the chambers agreeing to increase pediatricians’ rates by $76.1 million and appropriate an additional $61.5 million for a statewide graduate medical education effort aimed at increasing the number of physician residency slots at Florida hospitals.

The House also agreed to the Senate’s offer to increase rates at freestanding children’s hospitals by nearly $54.3 million and to increase rates at prescribed pediatric extended care centers, or PPECs, by about $5 million.

As of Saturday night, the chambers also have agreed to spend an additional $27.5 million to boost cancer funding. Those issues were put to rest after House Appropriations Chair Tom Leek announced his chamber was accepting the Senate offer made earlier in the day.

The House and Senate have not reached an agreement on whether to increase reimbursements for hospitals that treat the sickest children, regardless of whether they are a designated “children’s hospital.” The Senate wants to increase those rates by $76.1 million, and the chamber made no offer to the House earlier in the day to modify or adjust that position. Therefore, it remains unresolved.

And while the chambers agreed to the cancer funding increase, they have not discussed changes to the Casey DeSantis Cancer Research Program. The House wants to change the law (HB 5303) so the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center in Jacksonville qualifies.

Budget negotiations between Leek and his Senate counterpart, Sen. Doug Broxson, will resume Sunday as the chambers try to finalize the Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget. There won’t be any meetings before noon, though.

Lawmakers must soon reach an agreement on final spending decisions to meet the 72-hour “cooling off” period required by the state constitution. In order for the Session to end May 5 the budget must be finalized, printed and placed on lawmakers’ desks by Tuesday. 

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


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