February 24, 2021
DeSantis health budget wins praise — mostly

Florida Trend Health Care

DeSantis health budget wins praise — mostly

| 2/2/2021

DeSantis health budget wins praise — mostly

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposed $96.6 billion budget unveiled Thursday got high marks from most, but not all, health-care providers that treat poor, elderly and disabled Floridians. The governor did not recommend Medicaid rate cuts for nursing homes or hospitals in his proposed spending plan for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, drawing praise from associations that lobby for those facilities. But other groups said the proposed budget falls short in funding for the care of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. [Source: News Service of Florida]

See also:
» Florida braced for tight healthcare budget, but Medicaid’s prolonged COVID boost helps

Florida residents who want a vaccine can now pre-register online, save their spot

Seniors 65 and older and people with health conditions that make them extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 can now “save their place in line” by pre-registering for the vaccine in Florida through a new website and phone system. Healthcare workers with direct patient contact and long-term care residents and staff can also pre-register for the COVID-19 vaccine. The new website is myvaccine.fl.gov. More from the Tampa Bay Times and CNN.

Florida Healthy Kids data hacked

Floridians who were enrolled or applied for coverage from a children’s health insurance program between 2013 and 2020 are being urged to take steps to protect their finances after a cyber attack. Florida Healthy Kids says a vendor, Jelly Bean Communications Design, experienced a cybersecurity incident. The company hosted the FHKC website at the time of the incident. The security incident involved the personal data of online applicants and enrollees. FHKC has no confirmation at this time that anyone’s personal information was removed from the system. [Source: NorthEscambia.com]

Florida led nation in new ACA signups this year. Biden directs market to open again.

Florida, a state that has led in new sign-ups for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act since its creation, saw a nearly 9% increase in new sign-ups since the coronavirus began. President Joe Biden’s announcement Thursday that he’ll open a special enrollment period for uninsured Americans to obtain health coverage is likely to push numbers even higher. [Source: Miami Herald]

Moody signs onto brief in Medicaid work dispute

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has joined 16 other attorneys general in backing Arkansas and New Hampshire in a U.S. Supreme Court case about work requirements in the Medicaid program. The friend-of-the-court brief, filed Jan. 26, urges the Supreme Court to overturn decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that rejected work requirements in Arkansas and New Hampshire. [Source: News Service of Florida]


› Florida moves ahead with Canada drug imports while awaiting signal from Biden
Florida and several other states are moving ahead with efforts to import prescription drugs from Canada, a politically popular strategy greenlighted last year by former President Donald Trump. But it’s unclear whether the Biden administration will proceed with Trump’s plan for states and the federal government to help Americans obtain lower-priced medications from Canada.

› Florida’s coronavirus vaccine rollout reveals racial divide
In the less than two months since the start of Florida’s vaccine rollout, frustration has grown throughout the state over how to score coveted doses of a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines. But state data reveals a stark disparity among those who have been vaccinated. As of Thursday, white Floridians were about 2.5 times more likely to have received at least one dose as Black residents. Non-Hispanic residents were nearly twice as likely as Hispanic people to have secured doses.

› Tampa General, Kindred Healthcare begin work on new hospital
Tampa General Hospital and Kindred Healthcare LLC have broken ground on a new 59-bed, inpatient rehabilitation center, which the joint venture partners say will meet a growing need in the Tampa Bay area. Located on Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa between Oregon and Willow avenues, the duo say the new $35 million facility also will further establish downtown Tampa as a medical district, one that could attract top scientists, physicians and researchers and “transform the area into a center for healthcare innovation.”

› Lee Health’s Gulf Coast Medical Center opens new 52-bed ICU
Staff at Lee Health’s Gulf Coast Medical Center, on Wednesday, celebrated the opening of the hospital’s new 52-bed intensive care unit. The new ICU is part of the hospital’s $347 million expansion. Dr. Jonathan Velez, vice president of operations and chief physician executive at Gulf Coast Medical Center, says the expansive unit encompasses two floors.

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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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