Bean backs medical tourism, direct primary care


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Senate Health Policy Chairman Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, is looking to pitch Florida as a place for people to come for medical care.

Bean on Tuesday filed a proposal (SB 178) that includes creating a program to market Florida as a "health care destination" -- a concept known as medical tourism.

The bill, which will be considered during the 2016 legislative session, would create the program under Enterprise Florida, a public-private agency that seeks to boost economic development.

Bean's legislation also would address other health-care issues, including a proposal aimed at helping clear the way for what are known as "direct primary care" agreements between doctors and patients.

Such agreements involve patients paying monthly fees to doctors and then being able to get routine primary care without additional costs. The arrangements cut out the role of insurers in such care.

Bean's bill, in part, would make clear that direct primary-care agreements are not health insurance or governed by insurance laws.

Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring, and Rep. Fred Costello, R-Ormond Beach, also have filed direct primary-care bills (SB 132 and HB 37) for the 2016 session.