Nicole Pasia | June 17, 2021
Governor Ron DeSantis signed a number of health bills this week, including changes to Florida’s stand-alone emergency services, Medicare-covered transportation services, and the implementation of a binding for health equity.
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CS / HB 183, which the House unanimously passed in April, will require the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE) to appoint a representative from each county health department to serve as the health liaison. for minorities with the OMHHE. The office will use these links to develop policies that address health disparities across the state.
Minority populations experience higher rates of death from chronic diseases, which have since been exacerbated by the pandemic. the CDC reported that most people who died from COVID-19 had an average of 2.9 underlying health conditions.
A recent study from the Florida Health Justice Project reported that blacks accounted for 21% of COVID-19 deaths in the state, compared to 17% of the state’s population. By comparison, non-Hispanic whites accounted for 47% of COVID-19 deaths and 54% of the state’s population.
Representative Dotie Joseph, who co-sponsored the bill, spoke about the importance of developing a working group to address cultural nuances in health care settings. To the 2021 Florida State Health Policy Reform Conference, she said:
“Whether you are providing primary or maintenance care, I want to make sure you have the tools you need to understand these little cultural nuances. How some populations may underestimate their pain, or how you might be inclined to over-medicate someone or under-medicate someone based on certain preconceived notions about pain.
An amendment to CS / SB 348 review the types of emergency transportation services covered by Medicaid. The bill will now include non-urgent transport in the coverage of cross-claims. Cross-claims for Double Eligible Floridians refer to when Medicaid pays the difference for a service partially covered by Medicare.
In a paid service delivery system, the deductibles for non-urgent medical transport are already covered. According to a bill Analysis Per the Credits Committee, Medicaid paid $ 1.1 million in deductibles for Double Eligible Floridians in the 2019-20 fiscal year. Regarding managed care, the analysis concluded:
“Reasonable costs to comply with mandates must be built into the capitation rates paid to health plans participating in the [Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Program] program, however, the proposed change would not have a material impact on capitation rates. The bill is believed to have an undetermined fiscal impact on the Florida Medicaid program. “
CS / HB 1157 affects the autonomous emergency services of hospitals. The bill prohibits these services from presenting themselves as emergency care centers (where visits are generally cheaper than emergency rooms), requires posted signs and updated information on the website with statements which specify the nature of the service. The representative of the sponsor of the bill, Traci Koster, said in a tweet:
“This bill will create identity and price transparency for consumers when they visit a stand-alone emergency service.”