‘Live Healthy’ bills signed into law

by | Mar 21, 2024

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the ‘Live Healthy’ legislative package into law on Thursday, allocating $717 million to enhance Florida’s healthcare workforce and services, including hospital Medicaid reimbursements, workforce development, and medical residency expansions.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday signed a series of bills as part of the ‘Live Healthy’ legislative package aimed at advancing healthcare reform within the state.

Spearheaded by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, the assemblage of bills seeks to address workforce shortages in the healthcare sector and improve overall healthcare services for Floridians.

The centerpiece, SB 7016, allocates $717 million towards enhancing the healthcare workforce. This includes $134.6 million to bolster hospital Medicaid reimbursement rates, $5 million for workforce development programs, and $50 million to expand medical residency slots. The measure also permits the authorization for Medicaid reimbursement for “Hospital at Home” services, extending care beyond traditional hospital settings.

SB 7018 complements the primary bill with a $50 million annual investment in health care innovation grants. This is aimed at fostering healthcare solutions and technologies, particularly in underserved areas.

The framework further enhances Medicaid reimbursement rates for dental care, nursing services, and various forms of therapy. It also broadens the eligibility for the LINE program and establishes pathways for foreign-trained physicians to practice in Florida, thereby addressing a gap in the state’s medical workforce development.

Healthcare access for low-income Floridians additionally serves as a major component by raising the eligibility threshold for free and charitable clinics. The package also establishes a Health Screening and Practitioner Volunteer Portal to support non-profit health service providers, while establishing increased Medicaid reimbursements for maternal care during labor and delivery.

“We are taking action to bolster our health care workforce to keep pace with our state’s unprecedented growth,” said DeSantis. “I applaud Senate President Passidomo for her dedication to this cause, which contributes to positioning Florida as the freest and healthiest state in the nation.”

The package also includes SB 1758, which introduces amendments to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to enhance service delivery through care navigation, simplify the application process, lower caregiver age requirements for pre-enrollment, and promote informed choice for clients.

SB 330 creates a new category of teaching hospitals dedicated to advancing behavioral health care through research, collaborating with state colleges and universities, and partnering with the state of Florida to address acute behavioral health care needs. SB 322, the fifth and final bill signed today, creates public record and meeting exemptions for personal identifying information for practitioners participating in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact, and the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact.

“Live Healthy increases workforce mobility and incentivizes Florida-trained health care workers to serve in needed fields like mental health, labor and delivery, and helping Floridians with disabilities,” Passidomo said in a prepared release. “We are also increasing access to effective, efficient, and economical health care with an emphasis on connecting Floridians with primary care providers who play a vital role as the main point of contact in the health care system for families and seniors. And, we are incentivizing innovation with targeted investments that help rural and underserved communities integrate the latest technology.”


%d bloggers like this: