A recurring issue in Florida presents a particular type of tragedy: babies dying during open heart surgery.

The issue extends far beyond Florida, sadly. CNN noted that in 2015, some hospitals had death rates over 12 percent. And to put that number in perspective, half of the hospitals that perform pediatric heart surgeries nationally do not disclose their death rates.

That is, as CNN called it, a “stunning lack of transparency.” And one that the Florida Legislature may attempt to resolve in the next session.

A bill filed last week by Sen. Aaron Bean will, if passed, firm up the state’s process regarding pediatric cardiac care.

Senate Bill 62 would create the “Pediatric Cardiac Care Advisory Council” within the Department of Health, compelling the department to take the lead in standardizing care.

The council would include up to 13 subject matter experts in cardiac medicine, such as pediatric cardiologists or pediatric heart surgeons who were nominated by CEOs of eight certain state hospitals with specialties in this field.

Beyond representatives of those hospitals, there would be room for two pediatric cardiologists, and a community physician with experience dealing with heart disease.

The council would establish rules and standards for pediatric heart medicine.

As well, the legislation would compel the surgeon general to designate certain facilities as “Pediatric and Congenital Cardiovascular Centers of Excellence.”

Additionally, annual reports to the governor, the legislature, and the state’s surgeon general would also be required under this legislation.

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