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Florida Sen. Aaron Bean pushing to grow state's medical tourism industry


Medical tourism -- traveling for specialized or lower-cost health care procedures -- is a $100 billion a year industry globally. And state Sen. Aaron Bean wants Florida to have a bigger piece of it.

So Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, is proposing a new program to more aggressively market Florida as a destination for health care.

Under a bill (S.B. 178) that Tuesday passed the Health Policy committee Bean chairs, the state's tourism and economic development arms would be tasked with bringing in more medical tourists to the state.

Enterprise Florida -- the public-private group that lures businesses to the state and focuses on economic devleopment -- and VISIT Florida would be responsible for showcasing bundled health care and support packages and upping marketing in medical tourism.

"It's low-hanging fruit that can be picked to diversify and super charge Florida's economy," Bean said.

Bean's proposal, which does not currently have a sponsor in the Florida House, would build on work done by the Florida Chamber of Commerce to build Discover Florida Health, a marketing plan.