Senate continues legislative maneuvers on trauma centers

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With the end of the legislative session approaching on Friday, the Florida Senate is using another approach to ensure the continued operation of disputed trauma centers in Pasco, Manatee and Marion counties.

On Wednesday, the Senate added an amendment to HB 7105 addressing trauma-care, a bill dealing with health-care rulemaking.

Senators had already added on Monday a trauma amendment to SB 1354, another health care bill. The House also tacked on trauma changes to HB 7113, a comprehensive health bill.

Although both chambers appear to support the continued operation of trauma centers at Blake Medical Center in Manatee County, Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Pasco County and Ocala Regional Medical Center in Marion County, neither have agreed on broader health bills, leaving it uncertain how the trauma issue will proceed.

At issue are the continuing legal and political battles over decisions by the Florida Department of Health in 2011 and 2012 to allow the three HCA Health Care-operated trauma centers to open.

Hospitals in the Tampa Bay and Gainesville areas, each with longstanding trauma facilities, have raised legal challenges, and courts found the rule the DOH used in granting the approvals was invalid.

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.