• Florida House, Senate move closer on hospital licensing bill

    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.


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

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