Senate passes Flores’ cancer care and research bill

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With the goal of developing life-saving cancer cures as well as making Florida a “destination” for cancer care, the Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved SB 1660 to create endowments for cancer-research institutions and to create “Cancer Center of Excellence Awards” for hospitals and centers that meet certain criteria.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Anitere Flores, is intended to encourage hospitals to develop patient-centered, coordinated care for people undergoing cancer therapies. The bill develops performance measures, rating systems, and rating standards that must be met for achieving such recognition.  These awards may be used in the provider’s advertising for up to there years after its endowment and also entitles recipient facilities to preferential consideration in competitive solicitations by state funders.

Cancer research centers are likewise encouraged via this bill to establish a funded research chair to attract and retain grant-producing researchers in Florida. These endowments are contingent on funding in the General Appropriations Act. The Senate has requested the House to pass the bill as passed by the Senate, or agree to include the bill in the Budget Conference.

The bill’s companion, HB 7153 by the Health Quality Subcommittee and Rep. Jose Oliva, was heard today in the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, where it was passed 10-1, with Rep. Mark Pafford the sole vote against it.  Its final stop before the floor is the Health & Human Services Committee.