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Bean looks to bolster cardiac service for kids

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In the wake of a controversy over Florida's pediatric cardiology programs, Senate Health Policy Chairman Aaron Bean began moving forward Tuesday with a bill (SB 378) that would create a council to advise the Department of Health about the "delivery of cardiac services to children."

Bean's committee unanimously approved the proposal to create the Cardiac Advisory Council for Children within the Department of Health.

"For many years, Florida had an advisory council for pediatric cardiac care," Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, said. "We have got out of that practice."

The proposal follows a rule hearing at the Department of Health last week in which pediatric cardiologists argued against the department's consideration of a plan to repeal cardiac standards for the Children's Medical Services program, which provides specialized pediatric care.

But department officials said that since a state law was abolished in 2001, the rule must be abolished as well. Bean's bill would require the council to recommend to the state surgeon general performance measures for whether facilities may be designated as a "Pediatric and Congenital Cardiovascular Center of Excellence."

The council would include representatives from the eight pediatric cardiology centers affiliated with the Children's Medical Services program, along with two at-large physicians and a community physician not affiliated with those facilities.