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Senate may put brakes on trauma center 'train' bill


House members found enough to like in a massive health care bill that -- including provisions to end a lengthy trauma center battle -- that the measure was approved 74-42 Friday. But House Bill 7113 may have a hard time gaining approval in the Senate in its current form.

Senators are talking about peeling off unpopular portions of the legislative "train" or ignoring the nearly 100-page bill all together. In addition to the trauma center fix, HB 7113 combined about a dozen different health care topics into one omnibus bill, such as regulations for virtual doctor visits and independence for highly trained nurses.

Senators will determine which parts of the bill are worth keeping, Senate President Don Gaetz said.

"If a majority of the Senate feels that there is an issue that is A) germane and b) is well enough understood by the Senate so that we can cast an informed vote, then they may agree to include another germane issue," Gaetz, R-Niceville, said. "... It's going to depend on each individual issue as to how the Senate feels about it."

There was no clear party-line division when the House approved HB 7113 Friday as members of both parties landed on each side. Those who voted "no" said they disapproved of certain parts of the bill, though they couldn't build a large enough coalition to kill the legislation.

"This is the train of ultimate trains," Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Port St. Lucie, said. "There is the good, the bad, and, oh boy, the ugly."

The Senate is schedule to debate its version of the "trauma drama" legislation, SB 1276, on Monday. Unlike the House bill, the Senate proposal deals with trauma centers and trauma centers only. It would allow three disputed HCA-owned centers to remain in operation, creates a one-year $15,000 cap on trauma activation fees and a one-year moratorium on new centers.