Image of male nurse pushing senior woman in a wheelchair in nursing facility

Florida House legislators have approved a measure to end certificate-of-needs requirements over powerful objections from the nursing home industry.

The measure will now move to the state Senate, which has historically opposed such a law change. Those in favor of the switch have argued that CON restrictions artificially limit the number of nursing homes, hospitals and hospices, and make it difficult for new players to enter the market, the News Service of Florida reported Thursday.

Florida Health Care Association Executive Director J. Emmett Reed vowed to continue the fight.

“Repeal of certificate of need requirements in other states has done real harm to eldercare there,” he said in a statement. “Indiana saw new centers being built but beds going unfilled, which put a significant financial strain on the state’s Medicaid budget. The state had to force nursing centers to close as a result and ultimately had to reverse its CON repeal initiative. CON also contributed to Texas facilities experiencing empty beds and poor levels of care.”

The House approved the bill 77-33, largely along party lines.

Almost 40 other states also have a CON process on the books, according to the Tampa Bay Times. A federal report last year urged the killing of such provisions to fuel more choice and competition in healthcare.