BILLS THAT PASSED THE 2016 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
To date, Governor Rick Scott has signed 103 bills. To see a list of these bills go here. We have outlined a few items of interest that passed this year.
PRESCRIBING POWERS FOR NURSES Passage of legislation to expand the drug prescribing practices for advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants was a historic occasion in the last hours of the session. Florida is the 50th state in the nation to allow ARNP’s and PA’s to prescribe, dispense, order and administer controlled substances. Advocates have been working to pass this legislation for twenty-two years.
MENTAL HEALTH This wide-ranging legislation reforms much of Florida’s mental health and substance abuse treatment arenas. Considered a “no wrong door” policy, those experiencing a personal crisis or having committed a criminal offense will now be able to access the care they need through central receiving facilities. The bill also aligns the Baker Act and Marchman Act relating to involuntary commitment.
AIRPORT GOVERNANCE A major rewrite of the Airport Zoning Law of 1945 was the subject of a transportation bill. The bill, which passed unanimously in both chambers, updates the statute to current federal standards, streamlines zoning processes, and modifies definitions.
DENTAL CARVE-OUT The dental industry’s efforts to carve out their services from the Medicaid Managed Care program were successful after three years of effort. The legislation authorizes a study by OPPAGA to examine utilization of dental services by managed care plans. The Governor signed this bill on March 24th.
TELEHEALTH Healthcare professionals can now use electronic technologies to deliver care to patients. The final version of this bill establishes a fifteen-member advisory council chaired by the AHCA Secretary and State Surgeon General.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG MONITORING PROGRAM Rehabilitative hospitals, assisted living facilities and nursing homes that dispense certain controlled substances are now exempt from reporting that information to the prescription drug monitoring program. The program was created about six years ago to combat prescription drug overdoses.
HEALTHCARE TRANSPARENCY Consumers will be able to access price information about healthcare treatments and procedures more easily. Curbing healthcare costs has been a top priority of Governor Scott.
KIDCARE Children of immigrants will now be eligible for healthcare via the state Medicaid program (known as Kidcare).
MEDICAL MARIJUANA The bill expands the use of the Right to Try Act, allowing medical marijuana use for patients with terminal conditions, revises physician dispensing requirements of low-THC cannabis, and authorizes the Department of Health to approve dispensing organizations.
PASTOR PROTECTION This bill shields churches and the clergy from lawsuits for refusing to officiate same-sex marriages. Governor Scott signed this into law on March 10th.
ALIMONY After several attempts in the last few years, an alimony reform bill has been approved by the Legislature. The measure creates a new formula for the determination and amount of alimony. It ends lifetime payments. The bill also sets the premise that children of divorced parents should spend time with each parent equally.