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Tampa Bay-Lakeland
Business Observer Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012 10 years ago

Hospitals fight legislation

The Florida Hospital Association says data point to no need for more rules.

TALLAHASSEE — A bill under consideration in the Legislature would require specified hospitals to contract with Medicaid managed-care plans, a regulation the Florida Hospital Association says is unnecessary.

A law passed last year expanded the number of managed-care plan contracts required in each region of the state. Proponents of new legislation, Senate Bill 1884, say that without mandating hospitals partner with every eligible plan in the region, citizens won't have the number of plans needed to receive adequate care.

The FHA, however, says data show every region in the state is already served by more than double the amount required under the current law, which alleviates the need for further legislation.

According to the FHA's report, regions on the Gulf Coast currently exceeds its number of required plans. As of Feb. 1, Region 5, which serves Pasco and Pinellas counties, has 13 managed care plans with contracts, while only requiring two to four. Region 6, which includes Hillsborough and Manatee counties, has 14 plans with contracts while only requiring half as many. Lastly, Region 8, which includes Charlotte, Collier, Lee and Sarasota counties, has 14 managed health care plans with contracts, while only required to have two to four.

"The research clearly demonstrates the huge level of commitment by hospitals to ensure our most vulnerable citizens have access to vital health care services,” Bruce Rueben, FHA president, says in a news release.

The FHA is comprised of 205 hospitals and health systems, with 1,300 professional members across the state.

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