The News-Press is reporting that the Florida state House Bill 21 would end the state's Certificate of Need (CON) review of general hospitals and end oversight of 'tertiary hospital services,' including new neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and organ transplant centers, effective July 1, 2019. CON reviews for new specialty hospitals would end in 2021. Proponents argue that the bill will encourage more competition and help drive down costs. Opponents argue that leaving hospital construction up to the free market may lead to health centers specializing in lucrative medical specialties luring away higher-paying patients from safety-net providers like Lee Health. Other healthcare deregulation measures awaiting the governor's signature include programs to allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada and other foreign countries, subject to approval by the federal government, a bill that establishes the legal framework for medical professionals to treat patients using telehealth, and a proposal to allow patients to stay up to 24 hours at ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs).
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