Legislative News

 AmyYoung   Amy Young-Governmental Consultant

Legislative Update

The 2015 Legislative Session began Tuesday, March 3, however, we have been engaged in Tallahassee for committee hearings since January. On February 4, ACOG District XII sponsored the first Junior Fellows Legislative Day. ACOG District XII Junior Fellows and members of the State Legislation and Professional Liability Committee met with legislators to discuss a variety of issues of importance to ACOG District XII; including concerns over loose regulations for licensed (non-nurse) midwives in our state.

While in Tallahassee for the Junior Fellows Legislative Day, the District XII State Legislation and Professional Liability Chair and Lobbyist also had the chance to meet with Senator Denise Grimsley. Senator Grimsley received the District XII Distinguished Service award for her dedication, commitment, and service on behalf of women’s healthcare in Florida and the District.

Prior to the meeting, Robert Yelverton, MD, and Sujatha (Suzie) Prabhakaran, MD, joined me and Senator Denise Grimsley, Representative Cary Pigman, the Florida
State Surgeon General John H. Armstrong, MD, and his staff to discuss the status of licensure under the Florida Department of Health. We spent more than an hour
analyzing the current situation in Florida with more than 144 licensed midwives attending home births (as well as in birthing centers) throughout the state. There have indeed been some egregious situations in Florida resulting from these births, which we discussed during our meeting. As a result, Dr. Armstrong asked his staff to take a look at tightening the oversight of the licensees and to explore requirements for adverse incident reporting and greater supervision.

We will be reconvening with all parties in the next few weeks to follow up on administrative or statutory changes to achieve better outcomes for these deliveries. We encourage any ACOG District XII members to share any experiences they have had, so we can add them to this important discussion.

There are also a number of bills already filed of interest to our ACOG District XII members, including telemedicine. Unlike last year’s legislation, we are making progress to ensure that only Florida licensed physicians can provide these services, as well as provisions to require Medicaid reimbursement for telemedicine services rendered.

We have already seen numerous antiabortion measures filed this year including HB 0247, which would require abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at their local hospital — a 24-hour waiting period for abortions as well as an outright ban on abortion with no exceptions.

Also, back on deck this session, is legislation expanding the scope of practice for all advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) including independent practice and full prescriptive authority.

Prohibition on balance billing for emergency services is also, once again, a top priority for the legislature to address. We are hoping to amend this legislation and study the bill over the summer months to determine the facts surrounding this issue.

It is still early in the process and I suspect we will be seeing many more bills, perhaps attempting to destroy the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Act (NICA), as well as other anti-abortion measures, before the session convenes.

I also want to give a special thanks to our hard working ACOG District XII State Legislation and Professional Liability Committee, who are tasked with analyzing these bills on short notice, that surface daily throughout the legislative session and the intervening months!


Colleen Filbert
Project Manager

ACOG District XII:

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998