November 30, 2020
Fad or future? Telehealth expansion eyed beyond coronavirus pandemic

Florida Trend Health Care

Fad or future? Telehealth expansion eyed beyond coronavirus pandemic

| 9/1/2020

Fad or future? Telehealth expansion eyed beyond coronavirus pandemic

Telehealth is a bit of American ingenuity that seems to have paid off in the coronavirus pandemic. Permanently expanding access will involve striking a balance between costs and quality, dealing with privacy concerns and potential fraud, and figuring out how telehealth can reach marginalized patients, including people with mental health problems. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

See also:
» Nemours sees 2,200% rise in telehealth visits during COVID-19 pandemic
» As telemedicine replaces the physical exam, what are doctors missing?
» Lawmakers cleared the way for telemedicine, but seniors need access, training

Five takeaways on nursing home visitations

A ban on visitation at Florida’s 4,000 long-term care facilities expires in early September, and Gov. Ron DeSantis is poised to reopen doors to residents’ family members and friends who have been unable to visit because of the coronavirus pandemic. DeSantis will consider recommendations finalized Wednesday by the Task Force on the Safe and Limited Re-Opening of Long Term Care Facilities. [Source: Health News Florida]

See also:
» To touch or not to touch: debating how to reopen Florida's nursing homes to visitors

Florida quietly publishes medical marijuana edibles rules

Four years after Florida voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana and one year after the Legislature allowed patients to smoke it, edible marijuana products were allowed to enter the market. The Florida Department of Health, which oversees the Office of Medical Marijuana Use, quietly published emergency rules for edible medical marijuana late Wednesday night. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Thousands of Florida worker comp COVID claims have been rejected. Most came from people on the front lines.

Thousands of Florida workers, including people on the front lines battling the coronavirus pandemic, say they have gotten infected with COVID-19. But state numbers show that insurers have refused to pay nearly half of the workers’ compensation insurance claims filed by first responders, health care professionals and other workers. Data collected by Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis’ office show nearly 12,000 workers’ compensation claims had been filed as of July 31, but more than 43% of “indemnity” claims were denied by insurers. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Syringe exchange programs could save Florida hospitals millions of dollars, study suggests

When people reuse syringes to inject intravenous drugs like fentanyl, they are at higher risk of infectious diseases like HIV or hepatitis C. In 2016, Miami-Dade County established Florida's first legal needle exchange program in an effort to reduce problems that can come from sharing needles. These programs are slowly expanding across the state. In February, Hillsborough County approved its own. And Palm Beach County commissioners will vote Sept. 1 to potentially approve a program in the county. [Source: ]


› Florida medical examiners no longer required to certify, investigate COVID-19 deaths
The number of fatalities attributed to the novel coronavirus in Florida will no longer be verified by the forensic pathologists who investigate causes of death. A new ruling approved by Florida’s nine-member Medical Examiners Commission on Aug. 14 states that Florida’s medical examiners are no longer required to sign off on death certificates listing COVID-19 as the cause or a contributing cause of death.

› FAU study finds health care professionals will accept money to violate privacy law
The next crop of health care professionals has a price when it comes to illegally releasing confidential medical information, according to researchers at Florida Atlantic University, Baylor University and the State University of New York at Buffalo. While many of the graduating students interviewed believed there would be a high probability of getting caught, they said they still would be willing to violate regulations of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, the research showed.

› FSU to host ‘Fresh Check Week' mental health program
Florida State University will host Fresh Check Week — an uplifting event designed to bring the campus community together, increase awareness of mental health resources available to students and shine a light on suicide prevention. Fresh Check Week aims to create an approachable atmosphere where students are encouraged to engage in dialogue about mental health and helps to build a bridge between students and the mental health resources available.

› Calls from Florida coronavirus contact tracers showing up as potential spam
The calls from a company hired by the state of Florida to provide contact tracing showed up as potential spam. Marytza Sanz says she had COVID-19 and no one from the state ever reached out to inquire about her close contacts. “I have never been contacted. Nobody ever called me. I didn’t even know that existed,” Sanz said. She also says she doesn’t answer calls that show up on her phone as potential spam. “I don’t want to even bother,” she said. However, those calls could have been coming from state contact tracers.

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Struggling doctors turn to telemedicine to keep practices afloat
Struggling doctors turn to telemedicine to keep practices afloat

Virtual physician visits have been just what the doctor ordered for struggling family practices in the age of COVID-19. Dr. Jay Wolfson, an associate vice president at University of South Florida Health, said the medical community was reluctant to regularly use telemedicine, but that changed in 2020.

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