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January 28, 2020
Feds announce approval of Florida importing prescription drugs from Canada

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Feds announce approval of Florida importing prescription drugs from Canada

| 12/24/2019

Feds announce approval of Florida importing prescription drugs from Canada

The announcement marked a step forward for Florida’s nascent efforts to curb rising drug prices and hands Republicans a potential policy win — if Canada agrees to cooperate. The guidelines rolled out on Wednesday include a pathway for state governments to import Canadian drugs to be used by those receiving state-funded health care, such as Medicaid recipients and inmates in Florida’s prisons. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald.

Report: Florida drops from 29th healthiest state to 33rd

A new report shows Florida's health ranking has dropped from 29th to 33rd, making it the second-largest drop nationally, especially in terms of health behaviors, the environment, public health policies and clinical care. The annual America’s Health Rankings report, sponsored by the United Health Foundation, says there has been a significant rise statewide in the rates of obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes and drug deaths. [Source: WUSF]

Proposed Florida legislation targets pharmacy benefit managers

In an attempt to lower health care costs for Floridians, a Tampa Republican and other lawmakers want to crack down on the role of pharmacy benefit managers. The proposal (HB 961) would create a new law called the “Prescription Drug Cost Reduction Act” and make clear that certain practices, such as directing patients to pharmacies owned in whole or in part by pharmacy benefit managers should be prohibited. [Source: Biz Journals]

Electronic health records creating a ‘new era’ of health care fraud

The government accused Greenway Health, a Florida-based electronic health records company, of gaming the government’s certification process. In 2019, the company settled those allegations for $57.25 million without admitting wrongdoing. The lawsuit is one of dozens filed by whistleblowers, doctors and hospitals alleging that some electronic health records (EHR) software used in hospitals and medical offices has hidden flaws that may pose a danger to patients. [Source: Kaiser Health News]

Flu activity higher than normal, and Florida has not been spared

Seasonal flu activity has been elevated the last five weeks and is continuing to rise, with CDC experts correlating the spike to an early outbreak of the Influenza B strain that typically emerges toward the end of the season. Though the CDC categorizes Florida's flu activity as low with regional outbreaks, there already have been three influenza-associated pediatric deaths and 2,046 pneumonia and influenza deaths in adults as of Dec. 7. [Source: TCPalm]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Medical malpractice arbitration cap upheld
A South Florida appeals court Wednesday upheld the constitutionality of a cap on damages in medical-malpractice cases tied to an arbitration system. A three-judge panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal ordered that a jury award be reduced from $450,000 to $350,000 in a malpractice lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade County by Deborah DeFranko against physician Taylor Poole and the practice Poole & Villani, M.D., P.A.

› Florida dental program draws concerns for people with disabilities
As Florida wrestles with the future of services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, a top state official is warning that one program isn’t working for them. Florida in 2018 placed people with disabilities into a dental program that is run by a handful of managed-care companies. But Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew said this week she’s “acutely concerned” that the program is not working as it should.

› FHA hospitals provided $4.1 billion in community benefits last year
Every three years, hospitals examine the needs of the communities they operate in. Data gathered during the process — known as “Community Health Needs Assessment” — is used to determine the types of health programs needed in individual communities. The Florida Hospital Association’s 200-plus member institutions recently completed their assessments, and FHA produced a report compiling their findings.

› Speaker Oliva says House will investigate Moffitt’s China connection
House Speaker Jose Oliva is calling for further investigation into the Moffitt Cancer Center and its ties to China after the center’s CEO, director and four researchers announced their resignations last Wednesday. Olivia asked Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, to lead the investigation into Moffitt and other state institutions.

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