January 26, 2021
What Florida's COVID-19 vaccine rollout may look like

Florida Trend Health Care

What Florida's COVID-19 vaccine rollout may look like

| 12/8/2020

What Florida’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout may look like

Florida may be less than two weeks away from distributing a vaccine for COVID-19. Next week, an advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration will consider whether to approve the first COVID-19 vaccine in the United States for widespread use. Once the vaccine arrives in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis says employees and residents of long-term care facilities will be the first to be administered the vaccine. Next, in order of priority, are health care workers in high-risk situations, then seniors over 65 years old. More from Health News Florida and the Tampa Bay Times.

More than 2 million Floridians will enroll in Obamacare insurance policies for 2021

Although open enrollment continues through Dec. 15, it is apparent more than 2 million Floridians will enroll in 2021 health care plans offered through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) insurance exchange. According to the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Week 4 snapshot of the six-week 2021 open enrollment period, 871,361 Floridians secured policies offered through the exchange from Nov. 1 to Nov. 28. That’s a 7% increase over the first four weeks of last year’s open enrollment period, when more than 1 million Floridians purchased 2020 polices, the CMS reported. More from The Center Square and the News Service of Florida.

Florida has lowest flu vaccination rate in U.S., with modest uptick this year

Florida has the lowest flu immunization rate among states and recent progress isn’t keeping pace with a national uptick in the vaccination rate, according to an independent analysis of federal data. Health officials say the COVID-19 pandemic is convincing more people to get the flu shot and they are driving home that message but the state is still lagging. Florida’s flu vaccination rate averaged 40.3% during the three most recent flu seasons from 2017-18 through 2019-20, the lowest among all states. [Source: Naples Daily News]

State of Florida faces lawsuit over Medicaid records

Two advocacy groups on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in Leon County circuit court asking that a judge require the state to make available records that show how final decisions are made in Florida’s multibillion-dollar Medicaid program. Filed by the Florida Health Justice Project and the National Health Law Program on behalf of plaintiff Nancy Wright, a Gainesville attorney, the lawsuit also asks the court to declare that the Agency for Health Care Administration is precluded from charging special fees associated with redacting information from final orders issued by the agency’s Office of Fair Hearings. [Source: WUFT]

Florida Hospital Association launches campaign: Your Health Matters

To combat widespread reductions in health care use amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Florida Hospital Association has launched a public awareness campaign. Your Health Matters encourages Floridians not to delay elective surgeries, checkups, emergency room visits and health screenings due to fears concerning the coronavirus. The multimedia campaign includes TV, radio, print and digital ads. [Source: Health News Florida]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Florida's battered economy is worsening health care access in Central Florida
The Covid-19 virus isn’t the only health threat Central Florida residents currently face. That’s because more than 40% of Floridians get their health insurance through their employer, according to nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. As Orlando workers lost their jobs during the pandemic, many also lost access to health care coverage. It has resulted in declining health and higher costs for treatment, experts said.

› UHealth to give free pediatric vaccinations and flu shots to children at Miami park
Need to get your child the required pediatric vaccines that schools require? What about a flu shot? UHealth’s pediatric mobile unit will offer free vaccines and flu shots for children ages 12 months to 18 years to help keep uninsured or underprivileged children up to date in their vaccines.

› Tampa General Hospital’s new COVID-19 research facility funded by Largo family
A new facility to treat and research COVID-19 and other infectious diseases is being established at Tampa General Hospital. The opening of the new Taneja Family Global Emerging Diseases Institute was announced by the hospital on Saturday. Tampa General Hospital will work in collaboration with the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida to create a team of physicians who will provide clinical care and conduct education and research initiatives, officials announced.

› Florida Health Care Plans to move HQ from Holly Hill to Daytona Beach
Florida Health Care Plans is moving its headquarters from its longtime home in Holly Hill to Daytona Beach's fast-growing LPGA area. The health maintenance organization announced that it has agreed to lease the entire newly constructed 70,000-square-foot building at 2450 Mason Ave. in Daytona Beach from developer Mike Cotton of Cotton Enterprises. The move is expected to take place in late 2021.

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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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