Dept. of Health overhaul proposed

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A House panel Monday is expected to take up a plan that would overhaul the Florida Department of Health and create a more decentralized public-health system, reports the News Service of Florida. The proposal (PCS for HB 1263) would shift responsibilities from the state to county health departments, which would receive state block grants and enter into contracts with DOH. “Counties shall be responsible for determining the most appropriate methods and manner of meeting local public health needs,” the bill says. It also says that centralized state services would be limited to “those public health functions that provide measurable improvements in efficiency, outcome or cost-effectiveness when delivered through a unified, statewide operation.” The bill, which will be heard in the House Health & Human Services Quality Subcommittee, is sponsored by Rep. Matt Hudson, a Naples Republican who has long called for narrowing the focus of the Department of Health. Hudson is an influential player on such issues because he is chairman of the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee. The 152-page bill calls for the Department of Health to submit a plan to Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders by July 1 that would detail how to move forward with such issues as transferring duties to counties and developing contracts.

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