The 2017 Session of the Florida Legislature is finally over! As I was speaking recently to FSP President, Dr. Tony Martinez, the practice of pathology got a lucky break this Session. After so many years fighting reimbursement issues, balanced billing prohibitions, transparency issues, and so many other bills that would have significantly impacted your daily practice, this year proved to be relatively quiet.
There were approximately 85 bills that we were watching closely for amendments including clinical laboratory deregulation bills, SB 1760 and HB 1195. This legislation would have repealed current Florida laws which mandate that Clinical laboratories obtain and maintain state licensure. Clinical laboratories would have continued to be required to be certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA).
By deregulating clinical laboratories, the State estimated a loss in revenue of $1,383,400.00 per year to the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). Despite the loss of revenue AHCA supported the bill which ultimately failed to pass.
We watched this legislation closely to be certain our current administrative rules dealing with anti-kickback and anti-markup provisions would remain enforced. As a reminder, we worked hard to promulgate this current rule that FSP strongly supported and remains in tact:
59A-7.037 Rebates Prohibited – Penalties.
(1) No owner, director, administrator, physician, surgeon, consultant, employee, organization, agency, representative, or person either directly or indirectly, shall pay or receive any commission, bonus, kickback, rebate or gratuity or engage in any split fee arrangement in any form whatsoever for the referral of a patient. Any violation of Rule 59A-7.037, F.A.C., by a clinical laboratory or administrator, physician, surgeon, consultant, employee, organization, agency, representative, or person acting on behalf of the clinical laboratory will result in action by the agency under Section 483.221, F.S., up to and including revocation of the license of the clinical laboratory. In the case of any party or individual not licensed by the agency acting in violation of this rule, a fine not exceeding $1,000 shall be levied and, as applicable, the agency shall recommend that disciplinary action be taken by the entity responsible for licensure of such party or individual.
(2) No licensed practitioner of the healing arts or licensed facility is permitted to add to the price charged by any laboratory except for a service or handling charge representing a cost actually incurred as an item of expense. However, the licensed practitioner or licensed facility is entitled to fair compensation for all professional services rendered. The amount of the service or handling charge, if any, shall be set forth clearly in the bill to the patient.
(3) Each licensed laboratory shall develop a fee schedule for laboratory services which shall be available to the patient, the authorized person requesting the test or agency upon request and shall be subject to subsection 59A-7.037(2), F.A.C.
Another issue we watched closely was the Florida Medical Association's top priority to repeal the current Maintenance of Certification that mandates continuous physician education. Many specialties, including pathology, were split on this particular issue. Although the legislation (SB 1354 and HB 723) ultimately failed passage, the FMA will wage a grassroots campaign this Summer to revive the measure during the 2018 Session. Your FSP Board will be meeting at our Summer Conference at the Breaker's hotel on June 16 to discuss these issues and others we anticipate to re-emerge when the Legislature starts meeting this September, 2017.
We look forward to seeing all of you at the Breaker's Hotel in Palm Beach!!
-Amy Young, Ballard Partners, FSP Lobbyist
FSP Member Login