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Florida Amends Health Care Gift Ban
Vol. 903
March 20, 2012

In a reversal that’s a victory for the ad specialty industry, legislators in Florida have amended a law that prohibited “remuneration of any kind” – including promotional products – to any doctor, nurse or referral source in the health care sector. A new bill, which passed in the final minutes of Florida’s 2012 legislative session, provides an exemption for ad specialties that have an individual value of $15 or less.

“We’re pretty much on top of the world with this result,” says Wayne Greenberg, legislative chairman for the Promotional Products Association of Florida (PPAF). “Our main message was that promotional products are not 'gifts.' Promotional products are the most cost-effective advertising vehicle there is for small businesses.”

Specifically, the amended law provides an exemption for “a plaque, a certificate, a trophy, or a novelty item that is intended solely for presentation or is customarily given away solely for promotional, recognition, or advertising purposes.” The new legislation does not change a major purpose of the original bill – to eliminate kickbacks and large gifts (vacations, country club memberships, etc.) to health care professionals.

PPAF and the Gold Coast Promotional Products Association worked closely together for three years to win the legislative amendment, meeting with state officials, hiring a lobbyist and holding two separate promotional products days in the state capitol to raise awareness. Largely through the support of Senator Jack Latvala and State Representative Jim Frishe, the amended bill passed earlier this month. “I think this sets a precedent and I really hope this bill serves as a model for other states around the country,” says Greenberg.

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