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Florida Senate Approves Package of 'Live Healthy' Bills

Florida - Friday March 8, 2024: The Florida Senate has passed a package of health related bills aimed at growing Florida’s health care workforce, expanding access to health care, and promoting health care innovation.

The measures made up the 2024 Live Healthy agenda championed by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) who said passage of the bills will give Floridians "more options and opportunities to live healthy here in the Sunshine State."

“Live Healthy increases workforce mobility and incentivizes Florida-trained health care workers to serve in needed fields like mental health, labor and delivery, and helping Floridians with disabilities. We are also increasing access to effective, efficient, and economical health care with an emphasis on connecting Floridians with primary care providers who play a vital role as the main point of contact in the health care system for families and seniors. And,

"We are incentivizing innovation with targeted investments that help rural and underserved communities integrate the latest technology,” said Passidomo. “Live Healthy increases workforce mobility and incentivizes Florida-trained health care workers to serve in needed fields like mental health, labor and delivery, and helping Floridians with disabilities."


  • SB 7016, Health Care, by Senator Colleen Burton (R-Lakeland) grows Florida’s health care workforce, removes regulations to increase workforce mobility, and expands access to quality, efficient health care.
  • SB 7018, Health Care Innovation, by Senator Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) incentivizes innovation in the health care industry through investments in technology.
  • SB 1758, Individuals with Disabilities, by Senator Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) expands services to Floridians with disabilities.
  • SB 330, Behavioral Health Teaching Hospitals, by Senator Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton) establishes a new category of teaching hospitals focused on behavioral health.
  • SB 1600, Interstate Mobility, by Senator Jay Collins (R-Tampa) creates a streamlined licensure pathway for out of state providers moving to Florida.
  • HB 7089, Payments for Health Care Services, by Senator Collins expands health care price transparency.

See links above or summaries below for more details and background.

SB 7016 – Growing Florida’s Health Care Workforce

“Through Live Healthy, Florida will grow the health care workforce we need to serve our communities,” said Chair Burton. “We are expanding sites for clinical training to include more rural and difficult to access locations, so sick and injured Floridians do not have to travel long distances for care. We are increasing access to preventative health screenings to ensure early diagnosis and better management of chronic disease. And, we are streamlining emergency departments through partnerships with Community Health Centers and other primary care settings so care that is urgently needed, but not life threatening, can be handled outside of the hospital emergency room in a more efficient and cost-effective setting.”

Health Care Pathway Programs at Lab Schools with University Affiliations
Creates a framework for lab schools with university medical school affiliations to develop and implement a model for pathways in health care professions that can be replicated.

Expand GME Residency Slots, Enhance Accountability
Expands medical residency slots to increase the number of physicians in Florida.

Expands Linking Industry to Nursing Education (LINE) Funding
Expands eligibility for funding to high-performing independent schools, colleges, or universities who meet performance metrics, including at least a 70% completion rate for CNA programs and at least a 75% NCLEX pass rate for LPN and RN programs.

Creates the Training, Education, and Clinicals in Health (TEACH) Funding Program
Creates the new TEACH funding program to offset lost revenue while clinical preceptors are mentoring medical, dental, nursing, and behavioral health students. The program seeks to increase the availability of clinical opportunities, improve the quality of the training sites, and promote the clinical training that prepares students for work as health care professionals.

Removes Barriers for Experienced, Foreign-Trained Physicians to Practice in Florida
Prioritizes clinical spots for at Florida hospitals for Florida students, while maximizing opportunities for experienced, foreign trained physicians to become licensed in Florida.

Expands Florida Reimbursement Assistance for Medical and Dental Education
Updates and expands Florida’s FRAME program, allowing mental health professionals to qualify, and increasing award amounts for all qualifying health care professionals. Requires 25 hours of volunteer health services per year to qualify.

Expands the Areas of Critical Need Program
Removes barriers for out-of-state APRNs and PAs to practice in an underserved area through the Areas of Critical Need Program.

Establishes Limited Licensure for Graduate Assistant Physicians (GAP)
Incorporates models from other states that have created limited licensure for medical school graduates who have passed their exams, but have not yet matched into a residency program.

Expands Telehealth Minority Maternity Care Program
Expands the existing telehealth minority maternity care pilot program statewide.

Reduces Barriers for Psychologists/Psychiatric Nurses to Work in Baker Act Facilities
Updates post-licensure clinical requirements, authorizing clinical psychologists and psychiatric nurses to practice to the fullest extent of their education.

Expands Access to Free and Charitable Clinics
Increases the eligibility threshold to allow more low-income Floridians to access care at these clinics. (200 to 300% of federal poverty level)

Creates a Health Screening and Practitioner Volunteer Portal and Grant Program
Creates an online portal health care practitioners can utilize to advertise community events and services. In turn, Floridians can search for free screenings and services in their area.

Creates Advanced Birth Center (ABC) Designation
Allows a licensed birth center to be designated as an ABC. The ABC must operate continuously; employ two medical directors (an obstetrician and an anesthesiologist); serve Medicaid recipients; and have a formal arrangement with a nearby hospital in case of an emergency.

Seeks Approval for Hospital at Home
Directs the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to seek federal approval to include hospital at home as a reimbursable service in Medicaid, so Floridians on Medicaid can receive hospital care at home, if appropriate.

Requires ER Diversion Partnerships and Care Coordination
Creates partnerships between hospitals and primary care settings to improve coordination and encourage patients to establish a medical home to prevent future emergency department visits for non-urgent care.

Expands Mobile Response Teams
Enhances and expands mobile response teams to ensure coverage in every county.

SB 7018 - Incentivizing Innovation Through Technology

“Free-market principles show us the private sector can innovate in ways government could never imagine. What government can do is facilitate the exploration and implementation of innovative technologies and delivery models that increase efficiency, reduce strain on the health care workforce, improve patient outcomes, expand public access to care, and reduce costs for patients and taxpayers without impacting the quality of patient care,” said Senator Harrell. “Our Health Care Innovation Council will convene experts on the delivery of health care to examine solutions to improve the delivery and quality of health care in our state and develop a loan program to support implementation of innovative solutions.”

SB 7018 harnesses the innovation and creativity of entrepreneurs and businesses together with the state's health care system in order to explore advances and innovations to address real-time challenges and transform the delivery and strengthen the quality of health care in Florida.

The bill creates a Health Care Innovation Council to convene health care experts to explore innovations in technology, workforce, and health care delivery models to, among other responsibilities, develop best practice recommendations, to keep Florida a nationwide leader in innovation, technology, and service. The bill also creates a revolving loan program for implementation of innovative solutions. The Council will review applications and recommend prioritized lists of applications for funding. Applicants may be certain licensed providers, with priority for rural hospitals or nonprofits that accept Medicaid patients in rural or medically underserved areas.

SB 1758 – Expanding Services for Floridians with Disabilities

“Everyone deserves a chance to live healthy, and for our fellow Floridians with disabilities that means living independently, at home in our communities, for as long as they possibly can. Caregivers, particularly family members of those with disabilities, are truly amazing people who sacrifice so much. As a caregiver ages, it can be more difficult for our neighbors with disabilities to receive care at home, accelerating the need for additional services,” said Senator Brodeur. “The last thing we want is for loving families to be separated. This bill prioritizes home-based care options and associated funding for those with an aging caregiver, so both the caregiver and the person with a disability can live a happy, safe, and healthy life in their own home.”

SB 1758 modifies the application process for Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) services, adding an online application process and streamlining the time frame to determine eligibility. The bill reduces the age requirement for a person’s caregiver in pre-enrollment category 4 from 70 years of age to 60 years of age, or older. This will allow more individuals to be included in category 4 of the pre-enrollment prioritization list.

The bill appropriates $38 million in funding to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities for the 2024-2025 fiscal year, including funds to expand the number of Floridians with Disabilities who receive home and community-based care waiver services.

SB 330 – Creating Behavioral Health Teaching Hospitals 

“By utilizing existing partnerships between medical schools and teaching hospitals, and working to create new collaborations, we will identify and designate behavioral health teaching hospitals that provide research, education, and health care services across our state,” said Senator Boyd. “The innovative strategy outlined in our legislation will not only enhance our behavioral health workforce, but advance our goal of making Florida’s system of care the national standard.”

SB 330 creates the designation of behavioral health teaching hospitals to advance Florida’s behavioral health systems of care by creating a new integrated care and education model that will focus on state-of-the-art behavioral health research and provide leading-edge education and training for Florida’s behavioral health workforce. The hospitals will collaborate with other university colleges and schools of medicine, nursing, psychology, social work, pharmacy, public health, or other relevant disciplines to promote and enhance a modernized behavioral health system of care. Further, the hospitals will provide inpatient and outpatient behavioral health care, address system-wide behavioral health needs, and provide treatment and care for those who need long-term voluntary or involuntary civil commitment.

SB 1600 – Pathway To Licensure For Health Care Providers Moving To Florida

“Here in the free state of Florida, we respect the dignity of work, and we have so many great job opportunities available in thriving communities across our state. While important and necessary for ensuring safety, sometimes when people move to a new state, the process to apply for a professional license can create unneeded hurdles that delay an excellent employee’s entry into our state workforce,” said Senator Collins. “As Florida continues to grow, the need for seasoned and experienced health care providers, and workers in many other growing industries, is abundantly clear. This legislation maintains critical qualification and background check requirements, while streamlining the process to begin the dream of living and working in the Sunshine State.”

SB 1600 creates the MOBILE Act, which requires the Department of Health (DOH) to issue a license or certificate by endorsement within 7 days of receiving all required documents for out-of-state-health care providers moving to Florida. To qualify, the provider must meet specific criteria, including various occupational testing, training, and experience qualifications for their profession.

HB 7089 – Payments for Health Care Services

“We know that over 100 million Americans, or about 40% of U.S. adults have some form of health care debt. When Floridians are facing a challenging health care diagnosis, the last thing we want for any family is to struggle even more because of exorbitant medical debt, or unclear, unexpected medical bills,” said Senator Collins. “This legislation will go a long way to increase transparency so patients have a better understanding of costs, and protection from onerous debt collection practices.”

HB 7089 increases patient access to health care cost information, and offers a measure of protection from unreasonable and burdensome medical debt. The bill creates consumer protections relating to the collection of medical debt and creates price transparency requirements for hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers and insurers relating to non-emergency services. The bills provides delayed implementation of certain provisions until related federal rules are finalized.