January 26, 2021
Florida might not force you to get a COVID vaccine — but it can. Here's why

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Florida might not force you to get a COVID vaccine — but it can. Here's why

| 11/24/2020

Florida might not force you to get a COVID vaccine — but it can. Here's why

Speaking to Floridians in a YouTube video, Gov. Ron DeSantis recently said the state won't force anyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine if they don't want one. “That is going to be the choice of each and every Floridian,” he said. But the state could — if officials choose to. In his very first executive order of the pandemic, DeSantis authorized state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees to declare a public health emergency. Under that order, and under state law cited in the order, Rivkees can order anyone who is deemed to be a "public health risk" to be vaccinated. [Source: Tallahassee Democrat]

HIV/AIDS patients to be among first to benefit from Florida’s import drug program

A plan that policymakers hope will lower the prices for prescription drugs in Florida is now one step closer to reality; people with chronic illness, including HIV/AIDS, will be among the first to benefit. On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ office announced that the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) officially submitted its Section 804 Importation Proposal (SIP) to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for Florida’s Canadian Prescription Drug Importation Program. [Source: Florida Politics]

Florida nursing home residents allowed to leave for holidays, feds recommend against it

Nursing home residents in Florida will be allowed to leave, celebrate Thanksgiving and return to their long term care facilities, according to guidance from the state obtained by News Service Florida. While residents will likely be screened prior to returning to their facility, testing will not be required, according to the report. [Source: WEAR]

Federal appeals court strikes down conversion therapy bans

A divided federal appeals court Friday struck down measures passed in Palm Beach County and the city of Boca Raton that blocked the controversial practice known as “conversion therapy,” saying the prohibitions violated the First Amendment. A panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, sided with marriage and family therapists Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton, who challenged the constitutionality of the county and city ordinances. [Source: News Service of Florida]

What it’s like to participate in a coronavirus vaccine clinical trial

Coronavirus vaccines could arrive in Florida within weeks. Two journalists with ties to the state talk about what it’s like to participate in the clinical trials to develop the vaccines. Jackie Hajdenberg is an investigative reporting fellow with Columbia Journalism Investigations. Ty Russell, a Miami native, works for the CBS affiliate in South Florida. [Source: Health News Florida]


› Safe to gather? Tampa Bay doctors share their pandemic holiday plans
To gather or not to gather? That is the question this holiday season as the coronavirus pandemic rages across Florida, including in the Tampa Bay region. Health experts and physicians in the area, coming from multiple hospitals and various disciplines at the University of South Florida, say they are either canceling or significantly tweaking holiday plans to protect their loved ones from COVID-19.

› Top Florida health insurer pushes back on antitrust claims
An attorney for Florida Blue, the state’s largest health insurer, asked an 11th Circuit panel Friday to uphold a ruling finding the company did not violate antitrust laws by preventing insurance brokers from selling policies for a competitor. Oscar Insurance Company of Florida brought the case to the Atlanta-based appeals court after a federal judge ruled last year that Florida Blue, also known as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, had not illegally blocked Oscar’s entrance into the Orlando health insurance policy market by coercing brokers not to sell Oscar’s policies.

› Gainesville opportunity center uses ‘clubhouse’ model to combat mental illness
Sitting at the front desk of the Gainesville Opportunity Center, answering calls and smiling beneath her mask, Valerie Sanders is no ordinary receptionist. The 34-year-old Louisiana native is one of 75 people who have come to the center to rebuild their lives. “I feel like I have a purpose now,” Sanders said. The Gainesville Opportunity Center focuses on helping adults with severe mental illness. They are known there as members – and are preparing to more readily re-enter the workforce.

› Medical group creates new C-level post for official
Florida Cancer Specialists has named Joyce Nelson Chief Administrative Officer, a newly created role. Nelson has been FCS’ Chief Human Resources Officer since 2019, according to a statement, and she joined the organization in 2018, as vice president of human resources.

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