Florida’s state legislative session ended in early May. The issues most impacting Jacksonville’s UF Health entities dealt with funding and the repeal of the Certificate of Need law.
Initial proposals from the House and Senate cut our hospital’s Medicaid base rates by $3 million to $13 million. However, our final cut was only about $300,000. This is thanks to efforts by our legislative team in Tallahassee, financial reports from hospital Chief Financial Officer Dean Cocchi and lobbying efforts by myself and others. We are also grateful for support from Sens. Rob Bradley, Audrey Gibson and Aaron Bean, as well as State Rep. W. Travis Cummings, who supported us in the final hours.
The hospital saw a $12 million increase in Low Income Pool, or LIP, funding. The practice plan also saw a small net increase of about $3 million in LIP funding. We will have final numbers once the finance teams for the hospital and practice plan have had a chance to review.
Meanwhile, the state voted to repeal the Certificate of Need regulation, now allowing any health system or organization to essentially build a hospital in any location, at any time, without approval from the state or rebuttal from another hospital.
Hospitals can now be built directly across the street from any UF Health facility. On the flip side, though, we can now build close to any of our competitors. It’s too early to assess the impact, but we will need to keep an eye on this over the next several years.