Behind the scenes: Why the ‘trauma train’ derailed

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One of the more closely-watched health care issues of the session – involving an effort to grandfather in three disputed HCA trauma centers – died in the final minutes of the session Friday night when the trauma center issue got bogged down in a massive “health care train” amendment offered by Rep. Jason Brodeur.

The amendment didn’t make it over to the Senate before time ran out.

The trauma center issue went through some legislative convulsions in the last 10 days of session. Last week, the House passed legislation that both HCA and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida – which had opposed broad grandfathering trauma centers – agreed with.

Senator Denise Grimsley had been expected to adopt the House language as a “strike-all” to the Senate bill on Monday. But instead, the Senate passed its own trauma center legislation that the safety net hospitals could not accept, and the agreement in the House bill was jeopardized.

On Friday night, Rep. Brodeur offered an amendment that returned the House to its original trauma center language that both HCA and the Safety Net Hospitals had supported. But his amendment was loaded down with other controversial health care issues – including a proposal to allow Ambulatory Surgery Centers to keep patients 24 hours and for overnight stays – that hospitals couldn’t support. Time ran out and the two chambers Sine Died, leaving the trauma center legislation to die on the train.

Afterwards, Safety Net Hospital representatives said they believed that the various stakeholders are tired of the trauma center fight.

Safety Net Hospital officials believe that discussions throughout the session have established a favorable environment for resolving the lawsuits involving the three disputed HCA trauma centers and for developing a new statewide trauma rule that all parties can agree with.

Safety Net Hospital officials issued a statement saying  they are hopeful that the Florida Department of Health will renew negotiations over the new trauma rule.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.