- Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, ahead of the coming Legislative Session, is focusing on enhancing the state’s healthcare system in response to Florida’s growing population and increasing demand for care.
- The state is projected to see a shortfall in healthcare professionals by 2035, including a deficit of nearly 18,000 physicians and shortages in the nursing sector.
- Passidomo’s strategy includes expanding the healthcare workforce, improving access to healthcare services, and encouraging innovation in healthcare delivery.
As lawmakers in Florida prepare for the next Legislative Session, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo is honing in on potential improvements to the state’s healthcare ecosystem, citing a growing population and subsequent ballooning demand.
In a memorandum issued to lawmakers on Thursday, Passidomo highlighted a shortfall in healthcare professionals, with an anticipated deficit of nearly 18,000 physicians by 2035. Per the memo, Florida’s projected healthcare workforce would meet just 77 percent of the state’s needs. The nursing sector faces a similar crisis, she wrote, with forecasts indicating a shortage of 37,400 registered nurses and 21,700 licensed practical nurses by the same year.
“[O]ur estimates suggest that over the next five years, our population will grow by almost 300,000 new residents per year,” Passidomo said. “While this growth will impact so many areas of public policy, my focus for the upcoming session will be on our health care system. Specifically, growing Florida’s health care workforce, increasing access, and incentivizing innovation, so Floridians can have more options and opportunities to live healthy.”
Passidomo’s call for legislation is comprised of a threefold strategy: expanding the healthcare workforce, increasing access to healthcare services, and fostering innovation in healthcare delivery.
Passidomo further directed attention to what she referred to as the inadequacy of insurance coverage alone in guaranteeing access to healthcare and identified technology as a potential tool to refine healthcare workforce productivity and delivery.
The Senator is also looking towards telehealth measures as a means of increased access, particularly for mental health services. Telehealth in Florida has grown in popularity and usage, especially during the pandemic. Upon COVID-19’s mass outbreak, state leaders allowed Floridians to access telehealth appointments through audio-only conversations, though its permissibility was revoked in June 2021.
“Technology offers the opportunity to increase access to robust provider networks at lower costs,” continued Passidomo. “While in-person visits are essential for many conditions, others are quite conducive to remote appointments, convenient to patients and practitioners alike. Telehealth provides many opportunities.”
Concluding the memo, Passidomo informed her fellow senators of a workshop event on Nov. 14 to gather additional input from stakeholders, constituents, and industry entities.
No other meetings are scheduled during this block, so every Senator has the opportunity to watch or attend the workshop,” she said. “I look forward to working together on this important initiative, and to seeing you all next week.”