2022 Session: Interim Committee Recap

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Last week the Florida Legislature completed its sixth and final interim committee week before the 2022 Legislative Session. Speculation is that the 2022 Legislation Session will likely be a “do no harm” type of session, with the majority of bandwidth focused on the every-ten-years-task of redistricting as well as the budget.
Despite the expected lower volume of activity this Session, FSLA is actively engaged and advocating for our member’s priority interests this Session:
  • Extending the COVID-19 limitation of liability sunset until June 1, 2023.
  • Pursuing policy changes and available funding opportunities to address long-term care workforce issues.
  • Advocating that health care staffing rates to be subject to Florida’s price gouging statutes during declared states of emergency.
  • Advocating for policy changes to deter staffing agencies from taking undo advantage of ALFs who are struggling to find and retain staff.
  • Reviewing staff training needs for Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders.
  • Educating the legislature regarding ever increasing liability insurance premiums and the need to reduce meritless claims.
Florida’s 2022 Legislative Session will convene on January 11, 2022, with sine die expected on March 11, 2022. Stay tuned to FSLA for session updates!

As is customary during the first committee week, this week consisted of various committees receiving updates on implementation of previous years laws and updates of legislative budget requests (LBR). Key events include:
  • The House Health & Human Services Committee held a workshop on hospital care innovation, hearing from Advent Health and the Mayo Clinic.
  • The House Pandemics & Public Emergencies Committee received an update from the Florida hospital system.
  • The House Finance & Facilities Subcommittee received AHCA implementation update on Personal Care Attendants, HB 485 by Rep. Garrison (2021).
  • The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee heard a presentation on the Florida Insurance Market from David Altmaier, Commissioner of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

The Legislature’s second interim committee week consisted, in part, of:
  • The House Pandemics & Public Emergencies Committee received a presentation from Willis Towers Watson on risk management strategies for Florida.
  • The House Insurance & Banking Committee received a presentation from Citizen Property Insurance regarding the state of the property insurance marketplace in Florida.
  • The House Secondary Education & Career Development Subcommittee had a panel discussion on Florida’s registered apprenticeship and pre-apprecenticeship training programs.
  • The Senate Health Policy Committee had an update on Covid-19 status and mitigation efforts by the Department of Health and Agency for Health Care Administration.

Interim Committee Week number 3 was the first back-to-back committee week for the Legislature this year. Key highlights included:
  • The Senate Banking & Insurance Committee heard presentations on the Florida Property Insurance Market from Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, Doug Croley Insurance Services, and Florida Peninsula Insurance Company.
  • The House Health & Human Services Committee held a panel discussion on Health Care Staffing from the Florida Association of Community Health Centers, Florida Hospital Association, and Southern Health Care Management.
  • The House Finance & Facilities Subcommittee received an implementation update from the Agency for Health Care Administration on the Prescription Drug Importation Program.
  • The Department of Economic Opportunity provided a release on employment data.

After passing the midway point in interim committee weeks, the Florida Legislature kicked off the fourth interim committee week with:
  • The House Judiciary Committee held a presentation on the calculation and admissibility of damages in tort cases.
  • The Senate Health Policy Committee received an implementation update from the Agency for Health Care Administration on the prescription drug importation program, HB 19 by Rep. Leek (2019), and heard proposed legislation on health care expenses, SB 296 by Sen. Garcia, and telehealth, SB 312 by Sen. Diaz.
  • The House Finance & Facilities Subcommittee received a briefing from the Agency for Health Care Administration on Medicaid Quality Measures and Outcomes.
  • The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services received a presentation on the American Rescue Plan’s Enhanced Federal Share to Supplement Home and Community Based Services by the Agency for Health Care Administration.

In response to Governor DeSantis’ call, the Florida Legislature held a special session on employee protections from vaccine mandates. Ultimately, the Legislature passed and the Governor immediately signed the following four bills:
  • HB 1B, prohibiting private employers from imposing Covid-19 vaccination mandates unless specific exemptions are provided;
  • HB 3B, creating public records exemptions for employee complaints against an employer’s illegal Covid-19 vaccination policies;
  • HB 5B, taking the initial step of withdrawing Florida from OSHA and replacing it with a state program; and
  • HB 7B, repealing the Surgeon General’s power to mandate vaccinations.
Subsequently, the Department of Health and Department of Economic Opportunity published the following emergency rules:
  • 64DER21-17, Standards and Forms For Exemption from Private Employer Covid-19 Vaccination Requirements
  • 64ER21-18, Penalties for Public Employee Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates
  • 63D-3.049, Protocols for Controlling Covid-19 in School Settings
  • 73BER21-1, Determinations Regarding Discharges for Noncompliance with a Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate, and
  • 73BER21-2, Determinations Regarding Suitable Work Requiring Compliance with a Covid-19 vaccination Mandate.
You can find a comprehensive summary of the special session here, courtesy of our friends at Southern Group!

In the final interim committee week, the theme shifted from implementation updates to hearing proposed bills. Key activities included:
  • Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of an extension of Covid-19-related claims against health care providers, SB 7014 by Judiciary and Sen. Burgess. Jason Hand, FSLA’s Vice President of Public Policy & Legal Affairs, and Robin Khanal partner with Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., were the only two people to speak in favor of this necessary legislation. You can read more about this legislation from the Florida Phoenix and our partners at Southern Group.
  • The House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee heard a panel presentation on Florida’s hospital and nursing home health.
  • The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health & Human Services heard a presentation by the Agency for Health Care Association on Medicaid Rate Setting.
  • The House Finance & Facilities Subcommittee heard proposed legislation on patient care in health care facilities, HB 469 by Rep. Trabulsy.

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