Florida bill would lift limits on specialty hospitals

A proposed Florida House bill would lift a ban that prohibits specialty hospitals from offering services beyond cardiac, orthopedic, surgical and oncology care, according to the Walton Sun.

The bill, sponsored by Florida Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, already received approval by a House healthcare panel.  

Ms. Fitzenhagen said the bill will ensure that Florida citizens can have the best possible care in every specialty.

The bill is opposed by the Florida Hospital Association, which is concerned that lifting the restrictions would siphon off insured and wealthy patients from already established facilities but not treat the poor.

"Florida should maintain the current patient protections that prohibit standalone, single-service boutique hospitals," Crystal Stickle, interim president of the Florida Hospital Association, told the Walton Sun. "Any surgery can become high-risk, which is why it is critical that any hospital specialty surgical services be co-located, even within a separate building, with a full-service hospital to ensure rapid, quality responses to surgical emergencies that can arise."

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