2018 Legislative Recap

Report provided by Amy J. Young, FSP Legislative Consultant, Managing Partner, Ballard Partners

We officially adjourned the 2018 Legislative Session “Sine Die” on Sunday, March 11th.

It was a long process that began in September 2017 with interim committee meetings each month until the Regular Session convened on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. So many unexpected issues intervened with the progress of passage of legislation…….there was a cloud of sexual and racial harassment allegations that led to the resignation of three Senators after Session began. Furthermore, many House members abruptly tenured their resignations unexpectantly due to frustration with the system.

Then came February 14th and the Parkland school tragedy that could have never been predicted. The last three weeks of Session consumed all of us with how to deal with this horrific massacre. When all was said and done, the Legislature passed only 166 bills of the 3,250 bills filed for the Session.  

Of utmost importance to FSP members was legislation that ultimately passed, SB 622, which deregulates clinical laboratories at the state level. This means that clinical laboratories in Florida will no longer be required to be regulated by the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). However, they will still have to comply with all CLIA regulations. Some of you may recall that we supported this repeal legislation last year, however, the bill failed to codify the very important anti-kickback rules that we had passed many years ago, therefore we withdrew our support and the bill failed during the 2017 Session.

This year we made sure that the bill, as filed, contained those crucial provisions, and we therefore supported the legislation and it ultimately passed and was approved by the Governor on March 19, 2018.  Therefore, the language below dealing with anti-kickback laws is now codified in statute which was our number one priority:

456.054 Kickbacks prohibited.

(3)(a) It is unlawful for any person or any entity to pay or receive, directly or indirectly, a commission, bonus, kickback, or rebate from, or to engage in any form of a split-fee arrangement with, a dialysis facility, health care practitioner, surgeon, person, or entity for referring patients to a clinical laboratory as defined in s. 483.803.  

(b) It is unlawful for any clinical laboratory to:

  1. Provide personnel to perform any functions or duties in a health care practitioner’s office or dialysis facility for any purpose, including for the collection or handling of specimens, directly or indirectly through an employee, contractor, independent staffing company, lease agreement, or otherwise, unless the laboratory and the practitioner’s office, or dialysis facility, are wholly owned and operated by the same entity.
  2. Lease space within any part of a health care practitioner’s office or dialysis facility for any purpose, including for the purpose of establishing a collection station where materials or specimens are collected or drawn from patients.

Currently, AHCA licenses 3,904 clinical laboratories and collects an average of $1,540,00 per year in recurring licensure fees. This legislation will not only streamline the regulation of clinical laboratories in Florida, but also eliminate those current licensure fees paid annually.

AHCA will be sending out a notification to all clinical laboratories in the State on or before the effective date of this law on July 1, 2018.

We look forward to seeing everyone at our FSP Summer Conference at the beautiful Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach on July 21-22, 2018.

 

Publication Date: 
Friday, March 23, 2018 - 12:30pm