|| Amy Young-Governmental Consultant
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
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
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
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!