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Contraceptives Pilot Program Gets Senate OK

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A Senate health-care panel on Tuesday approved a bill that would lead to establishing a pilot program that would allow women in three Florida counties to access long-acting reversible contraceptives such as intrauterine devices. 

Before approving the bill (SB 410), the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee removed $100,000 that would have gone to the state Department of Health for the program. It made the program subject to a legislative appropriation.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, would require the health department to contract with family planning providers in Duval, Hillsborough and Palm Beach counties to make long-acting contraceptives available to women seeking family planning services.

The Department of Health would be required to submit a report to the governor and legislative leaders on the effectiveness of the program in reducing pregnancies and subsequent births, especially among teenagers.

The report would also include information on the number of clients served by participating in family planning providers and the average cost per client, among other things. A House version of the bill (HB 579) has been filed but has not been heard in committees. The legislative session is scheduled to end May 3.

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