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Florida Senate Unanimously Approves "Live Healthy" Health Care Initiative, Addressing Provider Shortage and Encouraging Innovation

Florida Senate Unanimously Approves "Live Healthy" Health Care Initiative, Addressing Provider Shortage and Encouraging Innovation

Medicare Medicaid Private Duty Government Affairs & Advocacy

The "Live Healthy" initiative, consisting of two health care bills, received unanimous approval from the Florida Senate on Thursday, January 18. Despite a $116 million funding reduction through amendments, the initiative, championed by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples), aims to address the state's health care provider shortage and foster innovation in the health care marketplace.

The first bill (SB 7016) allocates $737 million for various programs, including initiatives to enhance graduate medical student positions, incentivize health care professionals to work in rural areas, and improve Medicaid reimbursement rates, including $29 million for Private Duty Nursing (PDN) services. The package achieves the following:

  • Allocates $5 million to expand the Linking Industry to Nursing Education (LINE) fund for grants to nursing education programs collaborating with health care providers to address workforce needs, including training certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs).
  • Creates an expedited, standardized process for licensure by endorsement for all health care professions.
  • Requires Florida to join the audiology and speech-language pathology and the physical therapy interstate licensure compacts.
  • Mandates the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to seek federal approval to implement an acute hospital care-at-home program in the Medicaid program to allow hospitals to provide inpatient care to patients in their homes.

The House companion bill (HB 1549), with a similar but lower funding allocation of $548.6 million, is still progressing through the committee process. The second part of the Live Healthy initiative (SB 7018), focusing on health innovation, underwent floor amendments, reducing funding for the low-interest revolving loan program from $75 million to $50 million before Senate approval. The House companion bill (HB 1501) does not specify an allocation but conditions the implementation of the loan program on legislative appropriation. This bill is also in the committee process.

Following the Senate's passage of the initiative, President Passidomo expressed confidence in its ability to grow Florida's health care workforce, improve access, and incentivize innovation, providing more options for Floridians to lead healthy lives in the Sunshine State.

HCAF supports the Live Healthy initiative and will advocate for its passage at the annual Home Care Day at the Capitol on Thursday, January 25.

For the continually updated listing of state legislation actively monitored by the HCAF policy team, please click here for the members-only legislation tracker. We encourage you to bookmark this page to stay informed about upcoming policy developments.

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