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Florida Senate President Offers Proposal to Grow State’s Heath Care Workforce

Last week, Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, joined state Sen. Colleen Burton, R-Lakeland, the chair of the Senate Committee on Health Policy and state Sen. Gayle Harrell,R-Stuart, the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services, to announce the Senate’s Live Healthy proposal.

The Live Healthy package of legislation for the 2024 Legislative Session is designed to grow Florida’s healthcare workforce, increase access, and incentivize innovation.

“Access to health care is important at every phase of life. Insurance does not guarantee access, as even Floridians with great insurance face barriers to care. Live Healthy is a robust package of policy enhancements and strategic investments that will help make sure Florida’s healthcare workforce is growing at the same pace as the rest of our great state,” said Passidomo.

“Live Healthy will expand Florida’s healthcare workforce with new opportunities for education, training and retention. This includes enhancing partnerships between our hospitals and Florida colleges and universities that train healthcare workers, as well as more residency slots and creative loan repayment options that drive providers to underserved areas. We want to make sure our medical school graduates stay in Florida and also attract more out-of-state residents – not only for their residencies but to build their lives and medical practices right here in our communities,” continued Passidomo. “We are also funding provider increases that incentivize our health care workers to continue serving in needed fields like mental health, labor
and delivery, and helping Floridians with disabilities.”

“In recent years, Florida laws have been updated to ensure health care practitioners are able to serve patients to the highest extent of their training. We can never replace the critical role of a physician or specialist; however, medicine – like any other industry – evolves and innovates.

Live Healthy maintains rigorous training requirements, but removes regulatory barriers that can get in the way of quality care for patients,” said Burton. “Through Live Healthy, we are expanding sites for clinical training to include more rural, remote, or other locations difficult to access, expanding the role of medical school graduates who have passed the licensing exam and are waiting to be placed in a residency, and reducing barriers for autonomous nurse midwives, while ensuring quality care for mothers and babies.”

“Free-market principles show us that the private sector can innovate in ways the 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 healthcare workforce, improve patient outcomes, expand public access to care, and reduce costs for patients and taxpayers without impacting the quality of patient care,” said 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.”

“We know that our hospital emergency rooms are the most expensive real estate in our state. Live Healthy will help streamline emergency departments by creating 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 appropriate setting,” said Passidomo. “Live Healthy also expands access to preventative health screenings to ensure early diagnosis and better management of chronic
disease for all Floridians.”

The details on the plan can be read here.



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