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Senate approves omnibus health care bill

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

On Wednesday, the Senate passed an omnibus health care bill after approving a number of amendments.

LobbyTools reports that the bill (HB 85) is now going back to the House.

After several changes proposed by Sen. Don Gaetz, the bill now combines several House priorities with Senate plans.

One substantial amendment from Gaetz rewrites the House bill regarding surgical centers. New language includes allowing patients in an ambulatory surgical center to stay in the center for up to 24 hours but not the creation of recovery care centers – something that was in the original House language. The House version allowed patients to stay as much as 72 hours.

The bill also includes direct primary care agreements between patients and doctors, as well as changes to step-therapy or “fail-first” protocols that require patients try an approved treatment or drug before attempting something different.

Also, the measure would require insurers to have a “clear and convenient” process for providers requesting an override of the protocol. However, LobbyTools notes that changes to prescription protocols may be a challenge since there was no House counterpart heard.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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