January 26, 2021
Medicaid surge means major workload for Florida

Florida Trend Health Care

Medicaid surge means major workload for Florida

| 12/1/2020

Medicaid surge means major workload for Florida

Florida has seen a spike in Medicaid enrollment since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the agency responsible for enrolling and disenrolling people in the health care program is swamped. Mark Mahoney, a 16-year veteran at the Department of Children and Families and director of revenue management, told state economists last week that processing Medicaid applications during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as applications for other social service programs, has been an enormous undertaking. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Florida has the most expensive hospitals in the country, study finds

The Sunshine State has some of the most expensive hospitals in the country, according to a new study by a national nurses union. Documenting the 100 most expensive hospitals in the country by their charge-to-cost ratios, the National Nurses United study found 40 hospitals in Florida among the most expensive— the largest number of any state. In a distant second was Texas, with only 14 hospitals on the list. [Source: WFLA]

Doctors call on DeSantis to allow tougher local restrictions as COVID-19 cases rise

A coalition of doctors are calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to grant a request by some mayors to implement local coronavirus restrictions, including business capacity limitations and enforcement of mask mandates. Under an executive order signed by the governor, municipalities are barred from enacting restrictions that are more stringent than those at the state level. In September, DeSantis lifted virtually all virus-related restrictions statewide. [Source: Spectrum News 13]

Plan to import drugs into U.S. and Florida faces legal challenge

An influential pharmaceutical lobbying group is suing to end the Trump administration’s plan to allow prescription drugs to be imported from Canada into the United States. That could have major implications for Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Donald Trump have highlighted state and federal efforts to lower the cost of prescriptions. DeSantis announced last week that Florida’s importation plan had been submitted to the federal government. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

See also:
» Canada blocks export of medications in short supply

Florida dentists continue to provide care amid pandemic

The last nine months have been filled with snacking and stress, and that’s never more obvious than when dentists look inside the mouths of their patients. “A part of the pandemic that we’ve seen a lot is that we’ve had cracked teeth and broken teeth, and this can come with clinching and grinding when people are under a lot of stress,” Dr. Brittney Craig said. Craig owns a family dental practice in Tallahassee. In May, Gov. Ron DeSantis gave the OK for dental offices like Craig’s to reopen for the regular treatment of patients. Since reopening, Craig, along with thousands of dentists across the state, have worked to treat patients under the conditions imposed by the pandemic. [Source: WUFT]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› New Jacksonville hospital robot can help detect lung cancer earlier
Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville is the first in Northeast Florida to offer a robot-assisted procedure for patients with lung nodules. The high-tech bronchoscopy is a step forward in lung cancer treatment. Memorial Hospital pulmonologist Dr. Irram Hamdani just returned from training on the robot that replaces current catheter-based procedures to look for lung abnormalities.

› The need for more certified nursing assistants leads to a new training facility in Bradenton
There’s an ongoing shortage of certified nursing assistants in the health care field. “Over the course of the next two to three years, I believe the Bureau of Labor Statistics have shown that there’s going to be over 130,000 openings across the United States. So, there is quite a need,” said Chris Palevich. Palevich is the president of Premier Nursing Academy, an institution offering free, state-approved training to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA). He’s trying to address the shortage by opening a brand-new training facility in Bradenton, becoming Premier’s second Florida location.

› Bill filed in Florida to strip state of power to require residents to get vaccinated
With a COVID-19 vaccine potentially weeks away from national distribution, a Florida lawmaker Monday filed a bill that would eliminate the state's power to require mandatory vaccines during a pandemic. Known for several unsuccessful lawsuits challenging local government mask mandates, GOP state Rep. Anthony Sabatini of Howey-in-the-Hills filed the legislation (HB 6003) on the first day of bill filing for the 2021 legislative session that begins March 2.

› Hospital completes $126 million expansion amid pandemic
Like most health care systems of its size and scope, BayCare, headquartered in Clearwater, has an ongoing master-planning process for its many hospitals in the Tampa Bay region. That means expansion and renovation strategy is made years in advance and — surprise, surprise — simply can’t always easily account for disruptions like a global pandemic.

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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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