Gov. Rick Scott wants to eliminate Fla. CON laws

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday called for the elimination of the certificate of need process for building hospitals, nursing homes and hospice facilities. He also proposed ending the longstanding limitations on the number of trauma centers in the state, reports WLRN.

Under the CON process, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration reviews proposed healthcare projects and determines whether they will be granted approval to move forward.

"This session, I want to fight to make the healthcare system fair for families and ensure healthcare works for patients and not for hospitals' bottom lines," Gov. Scott said in a prepared statement, according to the report. "I will champion legislation that will repeal the outdated certificate of need program, repeal the cap on trauma centers and ensure transparent and upfront pricing for patients."

State Rep. Alex Miller, R, on Jan. 23 filed a bill that supports Gov. Scott's position on the CON process. The bill will be considered during the legislative session that begins March 7, according to the report.

The bill, as well as any attempt to rescind the statewide cap of 44 trauma centers, is likely to spark lobbying and political battles, according to the report.

Some say the elimination of the CON process could help expand access to healthcare and facilitate greater competition among providers. However, others, including many public and safety-net hospitals, worry eliminating CON laws would create conditions in which new hospitals are built in affluent areas, while older, safety-net facilities would be left to care for the majority of low-income and uninsured patients, according to the report.

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