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Details on Rick Scott’s hospital commission start to emerge

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

As the dysfunctional 2015 legislative session continued on Wednesday with the Florida Senate threatening to sue the House for its abrupt sine die, Gov. Rick Scott floated to the media details about the hospital and healthcare commission he plans on convening.

Scott released a draft outline of the commission that shows he plans on examining hospitals and insurance companies and will examine the salaries and benefits of executive staff, management, lobbyists and legal counsel.

Specific to financial data, Scott’s commission will examine the revenues hospitals collect, their profit margins (broken down annually) and the profitability of Medicaid, Medicare, and commercial insurance.

The commission will look into the amount of bad debt hospitals have as well as the total amount of charity care they provide according to the draft document. It also will look at the most common services provided at each facility and the costs of those services.

It also will look at patients and the number of emergency department visits; inpatient admissions; outpatient admissions; observation visits; readmissions; inpatient complications and adverse incidents.

The commission also will look at hospital foundations as well as medical education.

The commission will look at similar data on insurance companies, including the premiums they collect, the profits they make and the profitability of Medicare, Medicaid, state group health insurance, Florida Healthy Kids and private commercial insurance. The commission aslo will look at a score of “quality measures” such as preventable hospitalizations, and preventable emergency department visits.

Scott said he was going to create a commission last week after he called Republican and Democratic senators into his office to discuss his legislative priorities. Scott had a spreadsheet with hospitals’ profit margins.

The 2015 session came to an abrupt end on Tuesday when House Speaker Steve Crisafulli adjourned the House, sine die, without prior notice to the Senate or to even many of the House members. The Senate was caught off guard by the move and continued to work on Wednesday. Senate President Andy Gardiner sent a letter to Crisafulli on Wednesday saying the move violated Florida’s Constitution as well as House rules.

Crisafulli moved to adjourn the House because the chambers have been unable to come to agreement on a budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which begins July 1. Healthcare financing, specifically, the expansion of Medicaid and the continuation of the Low Income Pool, are at the center of the impasse. The Senate supports Medicaid expansion and the continuation of LIP and the House does not.

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