• Florida House, Senate move closer on hospital licensing bill

    Updated:
    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida Senate is moving closer to a House proposal that would eliminate a requirement that hospitals and other health care facilities show there is a demand for their services before getting licensed to build or expand.

    The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill Thursday that would eliminate the certificates of need for the facilities in two years. The House has passed a bill to eliminate the certificates in July.

    Republican Sen. Gayle Harrell made major changes in her bill before the vote to get closer to the House position, which is a priority for Republican Speaker Jose Oliva.

    Her bill originally would have only eliminated the certificates for new, large general hospitals that have 24-hour emergency rooms and accept Medicaid and Medicare patients. Specialty hospitals would've still required the certificate.

    Critics of the compromise say it will hurt small hospitals that treat poor patients.

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    This story has been corrected to show that Gayle Harrell is a state senator, not a state representative.

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