DeSantis signs bills designed to improve health care in Florida

(The Center Square) — Gov. Ron DeSantis signed several bills on Tuesday intended to bolster health care in the Sunshine State.

DeSantis said between the state budget and new legislation, Floridians will be getting the help they need regarding their health care and more funding for cancer research.

Senate Bill 1582 makes several changes regarding the Florida Department of Health, including establishing new recognized professions and programs within the department. The bill further creates a grant program to provide funding for advanced research and cures for rare pediatric diseases.

SB 7072 will provide more funding for cancer research initiatives and treatment and promote high-quality innovative health care for people undergoing cancer treatment in Florida. It also provides new requirements to increase the accountability of cancer institutes.

House Bill 885 mandates changes to the Division of State Group Insurance Program. It allows Florida Medicaid to provide coverage for biomarker testing for the diagnosis, treatment, management and ongoing monitoring of diseases or conditions. Biomarker testing looks for genes to determine how a patient could be treated.

“The budget that I signed into law, as well as the legislation that I will sign here today, is going to make a positive impact on the health of Floridians, particularly with respect to the health of our children,” DeSantis said. “This budget now has a lot of investments across the board.”

In the past two years, more than $138 million has been spent expanding pediatric services for children in need. Additionally, almost $85 million has been provided to specialty children’s hospitals that provide acute care services.

“As part of the ‘Live Healthy’ initiatives, spearheaded by our Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, we’ve got an additional $456 million to support the health of pregnant women, new moms, and children, and we’ve never done anything at that level in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis noted that the Legislature has also made historic investments in cancer research. The budget will allocate more than $232 million for cancer initiatives, with $60 million going to the Florida Cancer Innovation Fund — an increase from $20 million annually.

“I’m also proud to announce that Florida has invested another $3 million to support research and grants specifically for pediatric cancer…so this is something that’s really significant, I’m proud that the legislature has funded these priorities,” DeSantis said.