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PRESS RELEASE - Florida Hospital Association Thanks Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees for Investments in Rural Hospital Capital Improvement, Behavioral Health and Labor & Delivery Reimbursement


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 25, 2024 CONTACT:  [email protected]

Tallahassee, Fla. – The House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees released initial budget proposals yesterday, demonstrating the Florida Legislature’s steadfast commitment to the health and well-being of all Floridians. The Florida Hospital Association expressed appreciation for strategic investments in the state budget for rural hospitals, workforce education, behavioral health and labor and delivery reimbursement.

“As Florida faces escalating health care demands with a growing population, it is imperative to fortify the state’s health care infrastructure and innovate how we deliver services. Strengthening hospitals and promoting new models of care will help us fulfill our mission,” said Mary Mayhew, president and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association (FHA). “Thank you, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, House Speaker Paul Renner, and Health Care Appropriations Chairs Gayle Harrell and Sam Garrison, for making quality and accessible health care a priority in the Sunshine State. Key investments in the proposed budget will strengthen the resilience of rural hospitals, incentivize integrated care that treats physical and mental health needs, and narrow the divide in costs to payments to care for Florida’s most vulnerable patients.”  

Key Takeaways from the House and Senate budget releases:

  • Both chambers have championed the Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Grant Program ($10 million recurring Senate / $ 7 million non-recurring House) 
    • This program had not been funded in over a decade before key rural champions in the legislature, with FHA’s backing, restored $10 million last year. FHA now sets its sights on securing yearly recurring dollars to continue facility and technology upgrades in rural hospitals across the state.
  • No Cuts to Hospital Medicaid Reimbursement in either chamber.
    • FHA is proud to see both chambers fund hospital Medicaid reimbursement at status quo levels but continue to educate lawmakers on the value of covering the cost of care provided to Florida’s most vulnerable. Additionally, through the Live Healthy Act, lawmakers are increasing provider reimbursement for hospital labor and delivery, Graduate Medical Education (GME), and more.
  • Both chambers have championed behavioral health collaborative care models ($8.2 million Senate / $8.5 million House)
    • Many hospitals are capitalizing on programs that integrate physical and behavioral health care, and FHA has been working with lawmakers to message the importance of securing Medicaid reimbursements for these services. This will help improve patient outcomes and incentivize more providers to enter this space.

Florida’s 27 rural hospitals, which encompass more than 1,100 beds and employ more than 5,000 Floridians, need critical resources to upgrade and harden quality technology, equipment and facilities to provide the highest level of care to their communities. Investments in Rural Hospital Capital Improvement Fund enable Florida’s rural hospitals to modernize and harden their facilities in a systematic and equitable way that will strengthen Florida’s entire health care network.
By 2035, the state of Florida is projected to have a shortage of 36,000 physicians. Investments in Graduate Medical Education (GME) funding expand residency and fellowship training, equipping the next generation of health care providers and helping Florida hospitals better meet the needs of the communities they serve.

Nationally, one in five adults experience a mental illness each year. The Collaborative Care Model (CoCM) is a clinically proven health care delivery model that bridges the gap in care by providing a primary care team to work in collaboration with a psychiatrist to deliver timely treatment to vulnerable patients. CoCM improves patient outcomes and reduces Emergency Department admissions, wait times for care and health care costs.

Medicaid covers 46% of all births in Florida and plays an extensive role in supporting hospitals that provide obstetric services. Increasing the Medicaid reimbursement rate for hospital labor and delivery services will help ensure that proper maternity care options are available for all Floridians, including our rural communities. FHA thanks House and Senate leaders for addressing this as part of the groundbreaking Live Healthy package.

FHA is encouraged by the proposals that prioritize growing Florida’s health care workforce, preserving access to critical health care services for Florida’s most vulnerable, creating more access to quality behavioral health services, and hardening our rural hospitals. We will continue working with the House and Senate to reconcile the budget differences and ensure important strategic investments are maintained for Florida’s hospitals.


Founded in 1927, the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) is the leading voice for health care in the State of Florida. Through representation and advocacy, education, and informational services, the Florida Hospital Association supports the mission of over 200 hospitals and health care systems to provide the highest quality of care to the patients we serve. Led by President and CEO Mary Mayhew, the Florida Hospital Association is located in Tallahassee and is governed by a Board of Trustees and officers elected by the member institutions.


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