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Scott Signs Medicaid Rewrite, Other Health Bills

June 2, 2011 - 6:00pm

Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday signed a landmark Medicaid overhaul that calls for shifting hundreds of thousands of low-income and elderly Floridians into managed-care plans.

Scotts signature on a two-bill package (HB 7107 and HB 7109) was not a surprise -- he has long pushed for transforming the Medicaid system.

Now, it will be up to the state to convince the federal government to go along. The state Agency for Health Care Administration is required to submit a proposal to federal Medicaid officials by Aug. 1 and is scheduled to start a flurry of public hearings June 10.

Gulf Power to Seek Rate Increase

May 26, 2011 - 6:00pm

Gulf Power Co. this summer plans to ask for a $95 million increase in base rates, arguing that the cost of supplying electricity to the Panhandle has jumped during the past decade.

The Pensacola-based utility filed a document this month with the state Public Service Commission that outlines the proposal.

If granted, the proposal would translate to a 21.5 percent increase over Gulfs 2010 base-rate revenues of $442 million -- though it is too early to know how such a hike would affect individual customers bills.

Regulators Question Insurers About Payouts on Life Policies

May 19, 2011 - 6:00pm

Regulators from Florida and other states hammered insurance executives Thursday with questions about whether companies are trying hard enough to pay life-insurance claims.

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty is leading a multistate probe that he said could involve more than $1 billion in money owed. Executives from MetLife and Nationwide insurance companies testified under oath during a hearing Thursday -- but McCarty said the probe involves all of the nations largest life insurers.

Medicaid Overhaul: Clock Ticking on Plan to Sell It to the Feds

May 16, 2011 - 6:00pm

Needing federal approval to overhaul the Medicaid program, Florida health officials have less than three months to develop a detailed plan to sell to the Obama administration.

The state Agency for Health Care Administration faces an Aug. 1 deadline for submitting proposals to the federal government to try to transform Medicaid into a managed-care system.

Also, before the proposal is submitted, AHCA will have to hold public meetings in 11 regions of the state and allow additional time for public comments to be submitted.

Derailed Health Care Train Again Doomed De-Reg Items

In Huge Year in Health, Winners and Losers

Senate Passes Pill Mill Bill

May 6, 2011 - 6:00pm

Trying to shed Floridas reputation as a pill-mill capital, the Senate unanimously approved a wide-ranging bill Friday to stiffen penalties against bad doctors and place new limits on dispensing controlled substances.

House and Senate leaders reached agreement early Friday on HB 7095, clearing the way for approval on the final day of the legislative session. The House is expected to vote on the measure Friday afternoon or evening.

Senators said unscrupulous doctors and clinics have created an epidemic of addiction to dangerous drugs.

Workers' Comp Prescription Issue Not in Budget Deal

May 3, 2011 - 6:00pm

A budget deal reached Tuesday does not include a controversial proposal to limit how much doctors can charge for dispensing drugs to workers' compensation patients.

Sen. Alan Hays, a Umatilla Republican who spearheaded the proposal, said it did not survive budget negotiations between the House and Senate. Former Gov. Charlie Crist also vetoed such limits last year.

Senate Removes Key Provisions From Med Mal Bill

May 2, 2011 - 6:00pm

The Florida Senate on Monday blew holes in a medical-malpractice bill backed by doctors and hospitals, as the House overwhelmingly approved the proposal across the Capitol.

Senators eliminated key parts of the bill, including one that would shield hospitals from liability if contracted physicians commit malpractice. Hospitals often contract with outside groups of physicians, such as radiologists, to provide care.

Health and Human Services Budget Negotiations Begin

April 27, 2011 - 6:00pm

With hundreds of millions of dollars riding on their decisions, House and Senate negotiators remained sharply divided Wednesday about how to balance the health and human services budget.

The House and Senate exchanged proposals that included major differences on Medicaid payment rates for hospitals, nursing homes and physicians. Also, they split on issues such as the Medically Needy program, biomedical research and mental-health and substance-abuse treatment.

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