April 25, 2014

Trauma Centers

House Bill 7113 was amended with compromise language that would grandfather in two of the existing trauma centers that have been in litigation, Blake and Bayonet Point, and would require Ocala Regional Medical Center to be verified by the Florida Department of Health on or before Dec. 31, 2014 to be eligible for the grandfather provision. The compromise also places a one-year cap on trauma activation fees at $15,000 and requires each trauma center to post activation fees on their website and within the trauma center.  The bill as amended on the House floor also revises the composition of the current trauma service areas and removes a requirement of the Department to consider the Regional Domestic Security Taskforce boundaries. The bill also narrows a provision in current statute relating to a hospitals ability to protest decisions made by the Department. The new provision restricts protests to DOH trauma decisions to trauma centers or hospital applicants within the same Trauma Service Area (TSA) as another applicant. Lastly, the bill amendment would place a moratorium on new trauma center designation until July 1, 2015 or the enactment of a valid apportionment rule, whichever is earlier.

The bill will now be sent to the Senate for consideration. Similar legislation in the Senate - Senate Bill 1276 by Senator Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring) - is on the calendar to be considered in the Senate Chamber next Monday.  The bill requires the Florida Department of Health to convene the Florida Trauma System Plan Advisory Council (Council) to review the February 2013 Trauma System Consultation Report issued by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and submit recommendations, including the need for legislation, to the Legislature by Feb. 1, 2015. The Senate bill also caps trauma activation fees at $15,000 and specifies the membership for the Council, revises the grandfather language and places a one-year moratorium on any new trauma centers.