FSP Legislative Report - May 3, 2021
Submitted by Amy Young, FSP Lobbyist
HAPPY SINE DIE!
The Florida Legislature adjourned Sine Die last Friday April 30. One of the biggest issues we were involved in deals with collection of DNA. Apparently, many pathologists who were ordering routine testing and received those test results may have been unknowingly in violation of current Florida law since the initial patient consent may not have disclosed this testing in advance. These violations have been misdemeanors in Florida for many years, long before the evolution of modern advances in DNA testing. HB 833 and Senate Bill 1140 were filed, and ultimately passed, to prohibit DNA analysis and disclosure of those results without the patients express consent and would have changed the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony.
On behalf of the FSP, we amended the legislation to exempt pathologists and clinical laboratories from those criminal felony charges. The responsibility for informed consent is now the responsibility of the treating physician who took the specimen for purposes of a DNA test before they send that specimen to the pathologist or the clinical lab.
We were also monitoring a great number of bills dealing with organ transplantation and general reimbursement schedules that may tie our reimbursement to a Medicare standard which would eliminate reimbursement of the professional component of pathology services. None of the bills ultimately impacted the practice of pathology.
We have also been quite active with the changing AHCA Practitioner Lab fee schedules that were quite problematic, and in each case, your FSP Executive Committee jumped in with conference calls with AHCA to remedy the situation, ultimately saving what could amount to millions of dollars in cuts for the professional component of pathology services.
On the Horizon
Over the last several years we continue to hear about law firms that are suing several pathology groups in small claims court for billing workers comp patients. The issue arises when the billing data is sent over from the hospital as either self-pay or with no insurance coverage. What is interesting in all of these cases is that no one contacts the pathology group or the billing office until after the patient has received one to three statements.
This is an issue we are exploring with the FMA. We would like to hear from you if you have experienced any of these lawsuits and will keep you posted as we explore any statutory remedy to the current situation.
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