Proposal aimed at helping opioid-addicted infants


In hopes of reducing the costs of caring for opioid-addicted infants and increasing their comfort, a Senate health care panel on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that would lead to licensing niche social-service providers and allowing them to participate in the Medicaid program.

The bill (SB 434), filed by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, would create a two-year pilot project to help provide care to infants with “neonatal abstinence syndrome.”

The bill wouldn't limit the number of licenses the state Agency for Health Care Administration could award during the pilot project, but it would require that licenses go to non-profits and that the providers have on-call medical directors.

Passidomo said licensing the new social-service providers could reduce the costs of caring for the infants by as much as 80 percent and increase the children's comfort levels.

The bill, approved Thursday by the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, next will go to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

A House version (HB 407), filed by Rep. Bob Rommel, R-Naples, has not been heard in committees.

The bills are filed for the 2018 legislative session, which starts Jan. 9.