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The TaxWatch Research Blog is a forum where our research staff can address topics and issues in a short format. Keep an eye on this space during Legislative Session for frequent posts making sense of the activity at the Capitol. 

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It is Time to Free Professionals and Technology to Provide Better and More Affordable Health-Care for Floridians

Florida TaxWatch has been a leader in making sure residents of the Sunshine State have access to affordable health care options,‭ ‬saving millions of dollars and countless lives.

Lawmakers are considering two TaxWatch recommendations to eliminate barriers to‭ ‬21st century solutions to help Floridians enjoy longer,‭ ‬healthier lives.‭

One change would reduce the limits on‚Ä≠ “‚Ĩtelehealth‚Ä≠” ‚Ĩ-‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩthe use of technology to expand access to all Floridians.‚Ä≠ ‚ĨMore and more health-care providers are offering everything from routine visits to critical post-operative check-ups via computers,‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩtelephones,‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩand smartphone apps.‚Ä≠

Allowing Floridians to get world-class medical care can avoid costly visits to the doctor or hospital while saving time and money.‭ ‬Critical follow-up care for more severe health issues is more easily accessed via telehealth,‭ ‬promoting quicker recoveries and avoiding expensive hospital and emergency room‭ ‬visits.‭ ‬And telehealth allows Floridians in every corner of the state to have better access to all types of primary and specialty health care regardless of their proximity to doctors and hospitals.

Telehealth options promote incredible savings by providing immediate help and avoiding costly emergencies later.‚Ä≠  ‚ĨJust a simple‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩ1‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩpercent reduction in Medicaid costs would save Florida taxpayers more than‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩ$220‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩmillion.‚Ä≠ ‚ĨAnd a‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩ1‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩpercent reduction in hospitalizations would save Florida families and businesses more than‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩ$1.2‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩbillion annually.

The second TaxWatch proposal lawmakers are considering is expanding the scope of practice for the state’s‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩ15,000‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩadvanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs).‚Ä≠ ‚ĨFreed from short-sighted legal barriers,‚Ä≠ ‚ĨARNPs could provide up to‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩ80‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩpercent of the primary care needs for Florida patients.‚Ä≠ ‚ĨThese nationally certified professionals have extensive training,‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩand allowing them to provide efficient and thorough care for basic health-care needs would provide quicker,‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩmore accessible pathways to health for all Floridians.

All‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩ49‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩother states have taken steps to reduce restrictions on ARNP scope of practice.‚Ä≠  ‚ĨAllowing ARNPs in Florida the same freedom to serve would save Floridians up to‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩ$44‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩmillion per year in Medicaid costs alone and up to‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩ$339‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩmillion across the entire health care system by providing prompt care before small problems become more serious with costly visits to hospitals and specialists.

Floridians cannot afford to wait any longer for common sense improvements to the health care system.‭ ‬We applaud lawmakers for considering these simple yet critical changes to add value for the hard-working taxpayers and improving the physical,‭ ‬mental and fiscal health of our state.

Dominic M.‚Ä≠ ‚ĨCalabro is the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch,‚Ä≠ ‚Ĩthe state’s premier independent government watchdog group.

Featured in Sunshine State News.
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