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Sha'Ron James


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Governor Rick Scott Signs Legislation to Protect Patients from Price-Gouging at Florida Hospitals

Press Release

April 14, 2016

 

~ HB 221 provides additional treatment options for individuals with Down syndrome ~

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott signed legislation to increase transparency for Florida hospitals and empower patients to fight against hospital price gouging. HB 1175 requires hospitals to post their prices and average payments online. HB 221 protects patients from paying unexpected bills for out-of-network services. HB 221 also provides additional treatment options for individuals with Down syndrome.

Governor Scott said, “I’ve traveled across our state to speak with Floridians who have been charged unconscionable prices for simple procedures. Since last June, our Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding examined how taxpayer money supports hospitals, healthcare and insurance plans in Florida and what outcomes those entities provide for Floridians. They found more transparency is needed in hospitals.

“The way patients are charged for services at the hospital should mirror a free market system. We must ensure that prices and quality outcomes are aligned so Floridians receive the best care possible when they visit a health care facility.

“I want to thank the Florida Legislature for their efforts to increase transparency at Florida hospitals and empower patients to fight against hospital price gouging. This legislation is an important first step as we continue to address the high costs hospitals pass on to patients and their families. Additionally, I want to thank Senate President Andy Gardiner for ensuring that individuals with Down syndrome receive the services they need, as well as Senator Bradley, Senator Garcia, Representative Sprowls, and Representative Trujillo for their hard work so healthcare is more affordable and accessible in Florida.”

Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Elizabeth Dudek said, “I want to thank Governor Scott for standing up for Floridians and working to improve transparency in pricing and health outcomes at Florida’s hospitals. With the signing of House Bills 1175 and 221, Florida emerges as a national leader in these efforts. These bills, stemming from the Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding, will make it easier for those receiving care in a Florida hospital to know exactly what they are paying for while also limiting practices such as balance billing that lead to inflated medical bills.”

HB 221 not only protects Floridians from being surprised by outrageous medical bills, but also includes a requirement for health insurers to cover speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and applied behavior analysis services for individuals with Down syndrome.

Senate President Andy Gardiner said, “Speech, occupational and physical therapies and applied behavior analysis services can make a big difference in the ability of individuals with Down syndrome to further their education and career goals, while greatly improving their quality of life. Insurance coverage will make these therapies more affordable for families across Florida who have either been struggling to pay out-of-pocket, or going without these life-changing services. I am so grateful to Governor Scott for signing this bill and my colleagues in the Florida House and Senate for passing this critical legislation that will mean so much to families across our state who have a family member with Down syndrome.”

Senator Rob Bradley said, “I applaud Governor Scott for working to ensure that health care costs are more transparent in Florida. This is an important step to make sure Florida families can compare price and quality of the care they received.”

Senator ReneGarcia said, “Florida is paving the way for transparency in health care for the rest of the nation to follow. By giving Florida families the tools they need to fight price gouging, we can help guard patients from paying outrageous bills following a visit or procedure at any health care facility. I want to thank Governor Scott for signing this important legislation today.”

Representative Chris Sprowls said, “I'm thankful for Governor Scott's commitment to providing more accountability and transparency in Florida's healthcare system. Floridians should not have to be worried about surprise hospital or insurance bills arriving in their mailboxes after a procedure. This bill will protect consumers while keeping our healthcare facilities accountable.”

Representative Carlos Trujillo said, “I’m proud that Florida is setting a national standard in making sure our health care industry provides the highest quality care and the most transparent prices for families. The signing of these two bills by Governor Scott today is a major victory for Florida patients.”

To view a copy of the transmittal letter, click HERE.