The Florida House today passed a measure designed to increase the quality of care for Floridians while ensuring that taxpayer dollars are used efficiently. House Bill (HB) 7183 addresses the reorganization of the Department of Health (DOH). If signed into law, this measure will refocus the mission of the DOH by streamlining and prioritizing public health functions.
“Ensuring that the DOH is mission-driven, outcome-based and laser-focused on achieving its core mission will provide Floridians with the highest quality of care available. This bill moves Florida’s DOH in the right direction,” said Representative Matt Hudson (R-Naples), co-sponsor of the measure.
The bill focuses the DOH on eight core health care functions – surveillance of communicable disease, implementation of interventions that prevent or limit the spread of disease, preparedness functions related to public health emergencies, regulation of environmental activities impacting the state, administration of health and related services to target populations, collection and management of vital statistics data, and regulation of health care practitioners. The legislation also requires the Department to submit a new department structure that includes a reduction in the number of divisions, bureaus and executive positions.
The DOH was created in 1996 with a total budget of $1.4 billion and approximately 2,600 employees. Fourteen years later, the Department now boasts more than 17,000 employees and was authorized to spend $2.9 billion last fiscal year, nearly a 50% increase from its original budget. The Department has grown to a sprawling organization with at least 15 major divisions, more than 45 bureaus and offices, holding responsibility for regulating 57 professions, managing 67 health departments, and an undeterminable number of programs and initiatives.
“We must demand that Florida’s state agencies be high-performance and results-driven. By focusing the DOH on their core mission, Floridians will be assured that their taxpayer dollars are being spent in the most efficient and responsible manner while increasing quality care for Floridians.”