Dept. of Health re-org bill continues moving in House

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The House Health & Human Services Committee on Monday approved a bill to overhaul the Florida Department of Health, amid efforts to reach agreement with the Senate on the issue. “We’re real close now,” Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, said after the committee voted 12-6 for the bill (HB 1263). The committee approved a series of changes that Hudson said helped narrow differences between the House and Senate. But opponents continued to question proposals such as closing the A.G. Holley state tuberculosis hospital in Palm Beach County and moving patients to other facilities. “A.G. Holley is a unique institution,” said Paul Arons, a former medical director of the Department of Health’s Bureau of HIV/AIDS. “It treats the hardest of the hard cases.” But Hudson said state officials have discussed closing A.G. Holley for about a decade and that Florida is one of only a few states that run tuberculosis hospitals. “Fourty-six other states have figured out a way to do this,” Hudson said.

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.