Legislation advances to assess nonprofit conversion for Florida’s independent hospital districts

by | Feb 5, 2024

The Florida House Select Committee on Health Innovation has moved forward with legislation requiring the state’s 26 independent hospital districts to evaluate the feasibility of transitioning to private nonprofit entities by the end of 2024.

The Florida House Select Committee on Health Innovation advanced legislation on Monday that would require all 26 of the state’s independent hospital districts to conduct a financial evaluation by the end of the calendar year to assess the feasibility and benefits of becoming private nonprofit entities.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Randy Fine, mandates that each independent hospital district undergo a financial evaluation by December 31, 2024 to detail the district’s assets and liabilities to help guide decisions on potential conversions or sales. If enacted, the districts would be responsible for covering the costs associated with evaluations and any conversion process.

“Each independent hospital district shall cause to be conducted an evaluation of the benefits to the residents of the district of converting the independent hospital district to a nonprofit entity or transacting a sale to a for-profit entity,” reads the bill.

Under the proposed legislation, independent hospital districts in Florida could, by a majority vote plus one, explore the possibility of converting into private non-profit organizations. The process would require conducting a public hearing to gather input from district residents, contracting with an independent evaluator with at least five years of experience in hospital organization assessments, and ensuring transparency by publishing all related documents online.

The evaluation, to be completed within 180 days of authorization, must culminate in a final report, which, upon verification of accuracy by the district’s governing body and the evaluator, will guide the governing body’s decision on conversion based on the best interests of the residents.

Should the decision favor conversion, the district must negotiate an agreement with county commissioners within 120 days, detailing the transfer of assets and liabilities, the continuation of healthcare services, and the resolution of debts, to ensure long-term service provision to residents under the new non-profit model.

“The bill establishes a procedure for any of Florida’s 26 independent hospital districts to individually convert into a private non-profit entity, allowing the governing body of the district to vote, by a majority vote plus one, to evaluate the benefits of conversion for residents of the district by contracting with an independent entity meeting certain criteria to render a certified, independent evaluation,” reads a House legislative analysis.

The bill now heads to the State Affairs Committee for further review.


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