House Passes Student Degrees, Dry Needling Measures

By FCA Government Affairs Director Jack Hebert and General Counsel Kim Driggers

Tallahassee – Earlier today the full House gave its approval on final passage to one of the FCA’s top initiatives this year, House Bill 1063 (Rep.Christine Hunschofsky, D-Parkland), by a vote of 114 to 1. The bill seeks to correct difficulties some DC students have experienced in getting licensed by having earned their undergraduate degree from colleges outside the U.S. The legislation also provides statutory clarification that dry needling procedures are within the scope of chiropractic for DCs practicing in Florida.

An amendment was adopted on the floor before the final vote conforming to the Senate version of the bill (SB 1474 by Senator Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City) which is awaiting final consideration in the upper chamber. The amendment added guidelines for education, training, and certification that DCs would be required to complete before performing the procedure. Assuming the Senate gives its final approval as well, the measure will then head to the Governor’s desk for his consideration. The effective date of the bill is upon becoming law. Thus, the bill would go into effect upon the Governor’s signature. You can see the requirements HERE in the bill for those already dry needling.

Elsewhere in the capitol, standing committees have completed their work for this session as lawmakers focus their attention on the floor of both chambers debating and voting on bills that successfully navigated their committee assignments. Special joint Senate-House conference committees appointed last week are now in their final throes of hammering out the differences between the two chambers’ budgets readying a single compromise for a final vote. All indications are that lawmakers should be able to cross the finish line for an on-time adjournment on next Friday, March 8th.

Updates follow on other issues of interest to the profession that saw action during this eighth week of the Legislature’s nine-week session.

Licensure By Endorsement – This bill made it out of its final committee and is on the special order calendar on Friday, March 1st, that would allow licensure for any healthcare professional under Chapter 456 (including MDs, DCs, DOs), if the applicant for licensure has an active and valid license in another state with a similar “scope of practice” (defined as the full spectrum of functions, procedures, actions, and services that a health care practitioner is deemed competent and authorized to perform), has actively practiced for three of the last four years, and has passed “a national licensure examination”. The department would be required to issue a license within 7 days if the above requirements are met. (SB 1600, Interstate Mobility by J. Collins, R-Tampa).

Healthcare Workforce & Innovation Measure Ready for Governor – Two bills, with the stated goal of bolstering Florida’s healthcare workforce along with incentivizing healthcare innovation are now ready to send to the Governor’s desk. Previously approved by the full Senate and House, the bills constitute the Live Healthy package, a top priority of Senate President Passidomo. (SB 7016 & SB 7018 by Health Policy)

Physician Titles and Specialty Designations – A bill seeking to more closely regulate the titles physicians may hold out to the public in advertising and in any specialty designations they have earned saw no further movement this week. The House bill awaits final consideration on the House floor, and the similar, though not identical, Senate bill awaits in House messages. Both bills continue to address FCA concerns in protecting the titles and designations DCs would be allowed to use both in advertising and direct patient encounters. However since the two are not identical, and with several other healthcare professions still not in agreement with the proposed restrictions, it remains to be seen if one of the versions can finally prevail. (SB 1112 by Harrell, HB 1295 by Massullo)

No-fault/PIP Auto Insurance Repeal, MBI Replacement — No further action this week on the latest attempt to repeal Florida’s long-standing No-fault/PIP auto insurance system and replace it with a mandatory bodily injury coverage requirement instead. With both bills never seeing a single committee hearing, and with committees no longer meeting in both chambers, the issue is likely dead for yet another session. (SB 464 by Grall, HB 653 by Alvarez)