Scott shrugs off Health Dept. overhaulby John Kennedy | February 7th, 2012
Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday he has little interest in a fellow Republican’s plan that guts the state’s Department of Health, while also closing Lantana’s A.G. Holley Hospital.
Even before he was sworn-in, Scott’s transition advisers gave him a blistering review of the DOH, dismissing it as a wasteful bureaucratic agency ripe for change. Legislation by Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, would decentralize most of the department’s services, and give county commissions authority to run county health departments.
So far, though, the proposal looks like a no-sale with Scott.
“I’m trying to figure out what it does,” Scott said. “Does it improve quality? Does it reduce costs? Does it improve service? If if it doesn’t do something that makes the lives of Florida’s citizens better, why would we think about doing that?
“I haven’t seen anything — the way it’s been explained to me — in the bill that does any of those things,” Scott concluded.
Several public health advocates blasted Hudson’s proposal Monday when it cleared a House subcommittee.
The measure would largely get the state out of the business of running county health departments, turning them over to county commissions to operate. State and federal dollars would be steered in block grants to county governments, based on population, which would gain more control over how the dollars are spent.
About 12,000 state Health Department jobs would be slashed, although supporters of the move said many would convert to county positions. A.G. Holley’s closure, seen as another cost-saving move, would shutter Florida’s last remaining tuberculosis hospital, most likely by January.