TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — In an issue that has been controversial among South Florida hospitals, the House on Monday approved a bill that would allow Miami Children’s Hospital to open a 10-bed labor and delivery unit.

The bill would create an exemption to normal licensing requirements to allow Miami Children’s Hospital to provide obstetrical services to women who have high-risk pregnancies.

Supporters say the bill would allow immediate treatment for babies with complex medical needs.

Currently, babies must be delivered at other hospitals and then transported by ambulance or helicopter to Miami Children’s Hospital for specialized treatment.

“The safest way that we can transport a child is inside a mother’s womb,” said Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart, a Ponte Vedra Beach Republican who is a physician.

House members voted 73-40 to approve the bill (HB 1159), which also includes a special expedited review process for proposed nursing homes at The Villages and some other large retirement communities.

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”


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