Business Insights

Are You Asking the Right Questions About Health Care Deregulation?

Health care in Florida is a competitive market. Your patients have options when it comes to their insurance, doctors and medical professionals. The 2019 legislative session brought some changes to how Florida’s health care system will operate in years to come – are you prepared? Keep reading to find out what changed and how that impacts you and your patients.

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Two New Laws

Gov. Rick DeSantis signed 15 health care-related bills into law in June 2019. To view a complete legislative session recap, visit the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) Advocacy page. Two of these laws will change the way patients access health care, and they may have a big impact on the way you provide it as well.

  • House Bill 21 (HB 21): Eliminates the certificate of need (CON) requirement to open a new general hospital and tertiary services (medical rehabilitation, neonatal intensive care, etc.). Prior to HB 21, a hospital needed state approval before building new facilities or adding space for additional services. This made it difficult, and costly, to open new medical facilities. Under the new law, most health care facilities will not need to follow this regulatory step prior to opening. Portions of the law took effect on July 1, 2019. Additional measures will be implemented Nov. 1, 2019, and July 1, 2021. Hospital expansions and new medical facilities are expected as a result of this law.

 

  • House Bill 1113 (HB 1113): The Patient Savings Act creates a health insurance savings program for Floridians. Insurance providers and HMOs can offer financial incentives to patients when they choose their health care providers off a shoppable provider list. This bill becomes effective Jan. 1, 2020. With patients able to choose from an approved list, you may see a shift in visits, which will impact doctors, hospitals, medical and laboratory diagnostics, and pharmacists.  

 

Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Business

As these new laws take effect, it’s important to take stock of your practice or office and make sure you’re prepared for the changes. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:

  • Do I understand the new Florida health care laws?

It’s important to research and learn about how these new laws may impact your business. Being educated on them yourself will help you communicate them to your patients.

  • Is my information accurate and up-to-date?

There is a lot of misinformation out there. You should use trusted sources to get yourself up to speed. These include professional organizations, government branches and departments, and nonprofit advocacy groups. (We’ve put together a resource list below to help you get started.)

  • Do I need to change my business plan to adapt for any of these changes?

Consider the financial implication of these laws on your office or practice. If you need to adjust for the potential impact of these laws, it’s a good idea to get a head start. This could include allocating more money toward marketing materials and patient handouts or planning ahead for a potential dip or increase in patients.

  • How will I communicate this to my patients?

Once you have a handle on the new regulations, you can plan for how you’ll let your patients and prospective patients know about them. This could include printed materials like flyers, mailings or handouts; updating your FAQ section of your website; or sending an email explaining what will change for them. Be sure to use clear, transparent language so that you’re understood.

 

Resources for Florida Medical Professionals

This list can help you get started with your research on how health care deregulation and the Patient Savings Act may impact your office or practice.

  • Florida Board of Medicine: The board oversees all physicians and medical practitioners and offers resources on all aspects of practice and patient care.
  • Florida Hospital Association: Hospitals and practitioners working within their systems can find helpful information on regulatory changes, improving patient care and more.
  • Florida Medical Association: The FMA offers resources, continuing education seminars and more for Florida’s doctors.
  • Florida Health Medical Quality Assurance: Information for all types of health care professionals, from licensing requirements to license renewals and verification can be found on this site.
  • Florida Health: The Florida Department of Health website has legislative updates, statistics and educational materials for health care professionals in the state.
  • Florida Nurses Association: The FNA website offers resources for registered nurses, including legislation that impacts their practice.
  • Professionals Resource Network: The PRN consults with the Florida Departments of Health and Business and Professional Regulation. They offer resources for medical professionals as one of two state-approved organizations for impaired practitioners.
  • American Medical Association: Find information on national issues in medicine, as well as resources to help navigate payments and insurance companies on the AMA site.

 

At Seacoast Bank, we’re here to help. If you’d like to know more about our solutions for payroll, banking and more, call 888.669.4050 or visit seacoastbank.com.

 

Topics: Small Business

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