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Gov. Rick Scott Creates Commission To Investigate Hospitals

A budget standoff in Florida over federal funding for low-income patients could be ending.
A budget standoff in Florida over federal funding for low-income patients could be ending.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed an executive order today creating a commission to investigate hospitals.

There’s no immediate word on when it will meet or who will lead it, but it will likely coincide with a legislative special session to deal with Florida’s budget.

“It looks like he’s targeting hospitals,” said Adam Levine, a health law professor at Stetson University. “And not just targeting private hospitals or public hospitals, he’s targeting all hospitals. And coming from someone that ran one of the biggest hospital corporations in the country, that’s kind of surprising.”

The commission will use Agency for Health Care Administration staff to answer a series of tough questions:

  • Do Medicaid patients get better or worse care?
  • How much do hospitals spend on executive pay and lobbying?
  • Does government oversight of hospital programs make health care more expensive?
  • How much charity care do hospitals provide, and how much public money do they receive?

In the executive order creating the commission, the governor pointed to rising profit margins at hospitals.

“Those numbers were a little bit of a surprise to me because the hospitals have been crying that they have no money,” Levine said. “For years we’ve heard that there’s insufficient funding for health care and hospitals have no money, and the governor is now putting information that says no, the profitability has gone up.”

The governor has the authority to both appoint and remove commission members. Check here to download the executive order, and check here for a draft of their initial topics.

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