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Florida Senate bill would create health care innovation council

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(The Center Square) — A new bill that could help implement health care innovations in Florida has been filed in the Florida Legislature.

Senate Bill 7018 is sponsored by the Florida Senate Health Policy Committee and would create the Health Care Innovation Council within the Department of Health. The council would be required to submit reports to Gov. Ron DeSantis and lawmakers on best practice recommendations.

In the bill’s analysis, it says there are many challenges facing the health care system in the U.S., including provider shortages, limited access to care and affordability. It further notes that compared to other wealthy nations, Americans have poorer health, a shorter life expectancy, and less access to health care.

To address these challenges, the bill would create a framework to implement health care innovation by harnessing the creativity of entrepreneurs and businesses while working in collaboration with stakeholders and Florida’s health care system to strengthen the quality of care provided in the Sunshine State.

With 15 members, the Health Care Innovation Council would have the lieutenant governor as the council chair and a nonvoting member. Other nonvoting members include the Secretary of Health Care Administration, the Secretary of Children and Families, the director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the State Surgeon General, and the Secretary of Elderly Affairs.

The chair of the Council of Florida Medical School Deans would serve as a voting member. At the same time, the rest of the council would consist of a licensed physician, a licensed nurse, a Florida resident representing the interest of patients, a representative of a long-term care facility and an employee of a health insurer or health maintenance organization.

The council would annually spotlight the most impactful concepts, projects and initiatives as having the most positive impact and the council would also be obligated to use the input received to develop and update best practice recommendations.

These recommendations must be made for health care delivery, focusing on how to implement innovations, with an emphasis on increasing efficiency, increasing public access, improving patient outcomes and reducing costs while also reducing strain on the health care workforce.

The bill would also create a revolving loan program within the Department of Health which would provide funding to certain qualified entities to implement innovative solutions and would be administered through the council.

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