A pilot project to turn over Medicaid long-term care to HMOs in Pinellas, Hillsborough and three other Florida counties was expected to be changed late Friday to a study to see which part of the state would be a good site for the experiment.
Lawmakers were surprised Tuesday to find the project written into the state budget, which the Legislature approved Friday night. After complaining to legislative leaders, the project was to be changed to a study in a separate bill.
When the study is done and the pilot project counties chosen, all Medicaid services for seniors, including nursing homes, assisted living homes, adult day care and home-delivered meals, would be coordinated by managed care organizations.
The bill also says the state may look at strategies for taking the experiment statewide.
- ALISA ULFERTS
Baker Act reform passes
Judges would be able to order mentally ill people to get outpatient treatment instead of committing them under a measure the House passed 100-15 Friday and sent to Gov. Jeb Bush.
Bush has said he supports the bill (CS SB 700), a top priority of the state's sheriffs this year. It passed the Senate earlier.
Currently, the mentally ill can be involuntarily committed to inpatient programs under the Baker Act when they pose a threat, but judges can't order them into other community-based treatment.
Sheriffs say families thus are often prevented from getting help for untreated mentally ill people until they become dangerous.
Prescription drug database fails
A proposal to create a database of everyone statewide who gets a prescription of certain controlled substances died Friday night, because of concerns over invasion of privacy.
The measure, aimed at saving lives and fighting fraud, was backed by Gov. Jeb Bush. Supporters of the bill (CS HB 397) said the abuse of prescription drugs is becoming a deadly epidemic.
But skeptics worried about the bill's potential for invading the privacy of innocent people who are simply prescribed certain controlled substances, including some common painkillers.
Rep. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, called the measure the "most dramatic and sweeping threat to civil liberties I've seen."
Suicide as entertainment banned
Suicide as a form of entertainment would be outlawed under a measure (HB 221) passed unanimously by the House and sent to Gov. Jeb Bush.
The bill was a response to the hardcore rock band Hell on Earth, which wanted to feature a live suicide during a St. Petersburg concert last year.
The bill makes it a third-degree felony to promote such an event. It contains an exception for simulated suicide, if the audience is forewarned.