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Florida Senate aims to remove barriers for health care innovation

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(The Center Square) — The Florida Senate aims to pass a package of legislation designed to reduce barriers to growing the Sunshine State’s health care workforce.

The Live Healthy proposal is designed to increase access, grow Florida’s health care workforce and incentivize innovation.

The proposal was announced by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, who said in a news release that lawmakers want to ensure that Florida’s health care workforce keeps up with growth.

“Access to health care is important at every phase of life. Insurance does not guarantee access, as even Floridians with great insurance face barriers to care,” Passidomo said in the news release. “Live Healthy is a robust package of policy enhancements and strategic investments that will help make sure Florida’s health care workforce is growing at the same pace as the rest of our great state.”

Passidomo added that Live Healthy expands new opportunities in education, training, and job retention and adds incentives for medical school graduates to stay in Florida.

“We want to make sure our medical school graduates stay in Florida and also attract more out-of-state residents — not only for their residencies but to build their lives and medical practices right here in our communities,” Passidomo said.

SPB 7016 is a proposed bill by the Senate Health Policy Committee, which would require the Florida Department of Health to provide annual reports to the Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis on specified student loan repayment programs. It would create the Training, Education and Clinicals in Health Funding Program.

Barriers will also be removed for foreign-trained physicians to practice in Florida by creating new pathways to allow these physicians to be exempted from the state’s current residency requirement if they completed their education at an accredited school similar to what is offered in the U.S.

Psychiatric nurses would be able to order emergency treatment of certain patients, and the bill would also provide requirements for the operating procedures, staffing and equipment of advanced birth centers. The bill’s appropriation would be around $796 million.

SPB 7018 would create a 15-member Health Care Innovation Council within the Department of Health, which would explore innovations in technology, health care delivery models and workforce.

The council would be responsible for developing best practice recommendations and would oversee funding applications with the creation of a revolving loan program that would focus on areas most in need based on the council’s findings.

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