Gov. DeSantis administration slow to implement patient safety culture surveys
Kimberly Smoak says Florida is taking the least restrictive action against an abusive ALF.

Kim_Smoak art
'I’m not going to stand up here and make excuses.'

A legislative-mandated push to find out if health care professionals in Florida trust the hospitals where they work has yet to be put in place three years after it was ordered.

Lawmakers in 2020 passed a bill that required hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to survey their staff members about the places they work and to report the information to the state.

But the information won’t be available until sometime in 2026.

That’s because the Gov. Ron DeSantis administration has been slow to implement the rules necessary to make it happen. And on Monday, a top health care regulator put the blame, in part, on the public health emergency associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

DeSantis ended Florida’s public health emergency stemming associated with the pandemic more than two years ago, in June 2021.

“I’m not going to stand up here and make excuses. In March of 2020 in the Session in which this passed we all knew what was going on. Me and my team, it was all hands on deck,” said Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Deputy Secretary Kimberly Smoak, who added that she took all responsibility for the delay.

She also told lawmakers that the surveys were a new frontier for AHCA and one that had the agency working with the federal Agency for Healthcare Research Quality (AHRQ), which conducts a similar, but voluntary, culture survey of hospital and ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs).

“I’m not making excuses, I’m just telling you honestly how it all came out,” Smoak told members of the House Select Committee on Health Innovation, which held its inaugural meeting Monday afternoon.

Smoak told the committee that hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers could begin surveying their staff members in 2023 and can survey through the end of 2024. Hospitals can begin reporting the survey information to the state beginning June 2025. The state’s 306 licensed hospitals and 479 licensed ASCs must report the survey information by August 2025.

Smoak estimated it would take the state between six to nine months to compile and analyze the data and make it publicly available.

At the behest of former House Speaker Chris Sprowls, the Legislature in 2020 passed HB 763. The bill required hospitals and ASCs to conduct patient safety culture surveys of facility staff who are allowed to anonymously respond. The law required facilities to use the AHRQ patient safety culture but directed AHCA to alter it to gauge the likelihood of staff to seek care for themselves or their family within the facility.

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.


  • PeterH

    October 17, 2023 at 9:38 am

    Leave Ronnie alone! He’s been very busy pandering in Iowa, Ohio and New Hampshire for three years!

  • Sonja Fitch

    October 18, 2023 at 5:01 am

    Desantis shall tamper with the results. Desantis ain’t going to ever let the truth be know! Desantis is MAGA cult leader!

  • It’s Complicated

    October 23, 2023 at 8:47 am

    This is a classic case of the Legislature telling an agency to do something that was (and may still be) beyond their bandwidth. AHCA is terribly understaffed and has suffered a significant ’brain drain’ with knowledgeable staff leaving for better paying private sector jobs or retirement. Kim Smoak is a HUGE asset to AHCA, and they are fortunate to have her in a senior role.

    The last sentence of the article gets to an excellent point, which is the most accurate question one can ask to ascertain quality or satisfaction in a health care setting is, “Would you recommend this (health facility/service) to someone else?” It’s a question everyone understands and can intuitively answer.

  • rick whitaker

    October 23, 2023 at 9:24 am

    6 to 9 months to analyze and compile data, that’s not complicated, that’s negligence and incompetence. desantis’ team is a joke. the it’s complicated poster is dead wrong. to a deceiver or fool that is a goto statement. desantis doesn’t want people to know how bad he is. that’s real simple. if i needed hospital care, i would go to a blue state. who would want to go to a state with insurance companies gone wild and that didn’t accept all the federal help it could get like obamacare. profit needs to be removed from the healthcare industry. to properly staff, clean, or provide, cost money. desantis and the maga cult think about money and power over healthcare. it’s REAL simple.

    • It’s Complicated

      October 23, 2023 at 11:52 am

      That’s an uninformed and highly partisan opinion. AHCA is barely keeping up with its core mission due to staffing. Everyone who deals regularly with the agency knows that. It would not matter who the Governor is, that is the reality of the situation.

      • rick whitaker

        October 24, 2023 at 8:36 am

        wrong again. if the right wing would get out of the way the staffing would get better. free medical training schools would bring in workers for the good of the country. what does your uninformed partisan self have to say about that? is the issue too complicated for you. your christian maga views are showing, that’s simple to see.

        • It's Complicated

          October 24, 2023 at 3:47 pm

          LOL! Clearly you are the voice of authority when it comes to fallacious ad hominem arguments! Why are you so angry?

          • rick whitaker

            October 24, 2023 at 8:52 pm

            yes i do attack the person espousing the argument because if they are lying about an issue, then there is two things to condemn ( attack ) them for. my disdain for christian maga cultist is disgust for that type of person with those types of beliefs that cause a lot of grief for innocent children and adults. for example , when the christians killed and robbed the native americans and justified it by calling them godless heathens. when they were killing people in the name of jesus, they didn’t call themselves deceivers but they were. when maga types cause people to die or suffer because of their greed and bad policies , yes, that makes me angry. you asking me ( not really wanting the answer ) why am i so angry, is assuming you are right and i am wrong. you being a christian that believes in superstitions makes me devalue anything you say. i am woke and you are not. it’s simple, i am right and you are wrong. is that simple enough for you. what do you want me to say? wow, you are so smart and have good excuses for bad things. now i’m not angry, right?

Comments are closed.


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