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Senate Health Policy Committee

Treat medical marijuana “like medicine,” advocates say

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The right way to put the new constitutional amendment on medical marijuana into effect is to “treat (it) like medicine,” supporters said Tuesday.  The Senate Health Policy committee held its first workshop for the 2017 Legislative Session on medical cannabis implementation. “The states that have done it poorly, with a lack of regulation, allowed folks to market and advertise the notion of getting high,” said Ben Pollara, who leads Florida for Care, the organization advocating for “a strong, well-regulated medical marijuana system.”…

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Senate health care panel narrowly advances CON, balance billing changes

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Monday afternoon, the Senate Health Policy Committee narrowly approved a pair of closely-watched health care bills, with exchanges between lawmakers that predict much more debate will still be to come. Bills weakening the state’s “certificate of need” regime for hospital licensure, and shielding patients from a medical collections practice known as “balance billing” each passed by votes of 6-3 and 5-4, respectively. Former Senate Don Gaetz joked his SB 1144 was simply an “another uncontroversial bill” after the panel approved a number of relatively minor…

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Senators say anti-pill mill law has seen patients’ pain go untreated

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Members of the Senate Health Policy Committee discussed a 2011 law designed to crack down on illicit painkiller prescriptions through “pill mills,” which Chairman Aaron Bean said has sent “the pendulum from one direction to the other.” The law, HB 7095, was spearheaded by a newly elected Attorney General Pam Bondi and then-state Sen. Mike Fasano in the midst of a widespread painkiller abuse epidemic that earned Florida the title of “pill mill capital of the U.S.” A pair of experts corroborated accounts senators…

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Senate OKs health board appointees, but not Department of Health secretary

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The Senate on Wednesday approved appointees to the boards of medicine, nursing, podiatry,  dentistry, chiropractic medicine and physical therapy, among others, without fanfare. The boards are located within the Florida Department of Health and charged with regulating healthcare professionals. The Senate had not, however, moved to confirm the secretary of the Florida Department of Health, John Armstrong, M.D. Armstrong appeared before the Senate Health Policy Committee earlier this month but was not confirmed by the panel after refusing to answer questions…

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Nurses can order meds in inpatient settings under bill approved by Senate panel

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Nurses will be authorized to order in a hospital setting under a bill approved at the last Senate Finance and Tax Committee of the regular 2015 session. The bill — CS/CS/SB 532 — allows an advanced registered nurse practitioner to order any medication — including a controlled substance — for administration to a patient in a hospital, ambulatory surgical center, or mobile surgical facility within the framework of an established protocol. It was filed by state Sen. Denise Grimsley. The committee did agree to…

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Eyeball wars II: Senate OKs bills letting retailers set price for contacts

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The Senate Health Policy Committee on Monday gave the nod to a bill that would restrict contact lens manufacturers from preventing retailers from selling or advertising contact lenses below a set price. The bill, SB 1400 by state Sen. Tom Lee, brought lobbyists from Las Vegas, Utah, and Washington, leading former Senate President Don Gaetz to joke that Lee, also a former Senate president, deserved the “Visit Florida” award for the number of lobbyists who traveled to the state to testify on the…

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Senate is the ‘right place’ for Florida Medical Association’s top priority

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Florida physicians have friends in the Senate. The Senate Health Policy Committee took up and passed a priority bill for the Florida Medical Association over the strong objections of Associated Industries of Florida as well as the Florida Association of Health Plans. But the majority of those who attended the committee meeting on Monday were there in support of the CS/SB 784, sponsored by state Sen. Don Gaetz. In all, 28 people filled out cards to testify on the measure.…

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