Independent hospital districts required to analyze the benefits of going private under House bill
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 9/22/21-Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, during the House Redistricting Committee, Wednesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

The Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida opposes the bill but didn't publicly testify against it.

Independent hospital districts may have made sense years ago, but a leading House Republican contends they may be antiquated in Florida’s current health care marketplace.

Rep. Randy Fine, Chair of the powerful Health & Human Services Committee, filed legislation (HB 1421) that requires the 26 independent hospital districts in the state conduct a market evaluation by the end of the year analyzing the costs and benefits associated with converting their model into a private nonprofit entity.

“Just because something was a good idea in 1948, 1928 or 1968 doesn’t mean it’s a good idea today,” Fine told the members of the House Select Committee on Health Innovation before the panel voted 7-3 to advance the bill.

“What this bill would do is to require them to go out and hire someone independent and say hey, might somebody be willing to pay a lot of money for this? That money goes to the taxpayers and then it gets it off our books because, the fact of the matter is, if the private sector can do it the government probably shouldn’t be,” he said.

Rep. David Silvers questioned the costs of the market analysis required under the bill and who would be responsible for the tab. He also asked what the special district’s governing board should be considering when determining whether they want to sell the facility.

“Profitability, is that the main metric? Or if it makes economic sense to go private for the sale? Is that the main metric to determine whether or not the hospital should be sold?” he asked.

Fine said the bill didn’t address the metrics.

“The decision whether to put a hospital up for sale or if this bill were to pass, convert it to nonprofit status, that is a decision of the board,” Fine said.

To that end, the bill establishes a procedure for independent hospital districts to individually convert into a private nonprofit entity, allowing the governing body of the district to vote, requiring a majority.

If the governing body of the district determines conversion is in the best interests of the district’s residents, the board is authorized to negotiate an agreement with the governing body of each county in which any part of the district’s boundary is located.

This agreement must include the terms and conditions necessary for both disposing of the assets and liabilities of the system and ensuring health care services are provided to the district’s residents. The plan would have to be approved by all the parties.

If the hospital district levies, collects or receives ad valorem taxes, such as the North Broward Hospital District and the South Broward Hospital District, the conversion must be approved by the electors of the district voting in a referendum held during the next General Election.

The Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida opposes the bill but didn’t publicly testify against it.

HB 1421 heads to the House State Affairs Committee next. SB 1700, the companion measure, has been referred to three committees but has not been heard.

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.


  • TJC

    February 5, 2024 at 4:11 pm

    It would be nice if Randy Fine could explain how this will improve healthcare for the people of Florida. He seems a little focused on money, money, money.

  • KathrynA

    February 5, 2024 at 7:39 pm

    I so agree! It’s all about profits for corporate healthcare. It doesn’t appear many For Profit hospitals provide good care. What happens to any care for the many, many people in Florida with no insurance?
    This is sickening as no one in the Florida government cares about the little man. They just want the money and perks that elected officials personally getfrom corporate healthcare!

  • Flash Light

    February 5, 2024 at 8:34 pm

    Good luck with that idea.
    They want to privatize Jackson Memorial in Miami, Broward Health, Sarasota Memorial, Lee Health in Ft Myers, and others? These are some of the best-run hospitals in the state.
    Every few years this idea is trotted out.
    Once again, the Tallahassee turkeys want to overrun local taxpayer constituencies, telling us all that they know best.

  • MH/Duuuval

    February 6, 2024 at 9:48 am

    Nothing like adding a corporate profit requirement to one’s hospital bills.

    It speaks to the mediocrity of MAGA world that Fine is chair of this committee. No doubt we will see his beady eyes and hear his yapping next in the Florida Senate.

Comments are closed.


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