September 25, 2021
In Florida and across the country, rural COVID-19 vaccinations lag

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In Florida and across the country, rural COVID-19 vaccinations lag

| 6/15/2021

In Florida and across the country, rural COVID-19 vaccinations lag

COVID-19 vaccination rates lag in vast swaths of rural Florida compared to the rest of the state --- a pattern that also has been seen in other areas of the country, a new report shows. The report, released Friday by the state Department of Health, said 55 percent of people in Florida ages 12 and older had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. But in 23 of the state’s 67 counties --- almost all rural and largely spread across North Florida --- the rates were below 40 percent. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Florida Blue partnership increases substance abuse care access

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida (Florida Blue) and New Directions Behavioral Health have partnered with the nonprofit organization Shatterproof to increase substance abuse care access for Floridians. Together, these entities will offer a platform that gives patients with substance abuse care needs more power to assess a provider’s treatment approach. [Source: Health Payer Intelligence]

Autism provider challenges state over Medicaid verification system

The state’s largest provider of autism services has filed an administrative complaint against the Medicaid program, alleging that an electronic visit-verification system being tested in eight Southeast Florida counties is a roadblock to reimbursement and an overstep by the Agency for Health Care Administration. Stuart-based Positive Behavior Support alleges that the so-called EVV system or someone with access to it is changing behavior-analysis claims after submission and making them invalid. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Florida Department of Health monitors RSV cases after CDC issues alert for spike across the South

The Florida Department of Health is monitoring increased cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV, which typically infects children under the age of five.  When the pandemic first hit, the staff at Imagination Station in St. Petersburg increased sanitizing efforts. "We have a nightly fumigation system that comes through and fumigates our building, our toys, any touchable areas, for the children the night before they arrived," daycare owner Jackie Lang said. [Source: WFTS]

Florida Board of Medicine agrees to revamp weight-loss rule

Acknowledging that the regulation is inconsistent with Florida law and is out of step with current practice standards, members of the Florida Board of Medicine agreed to revamp a rule for medication-assisted weight loss that has been in effect for more than two decades. “The whole area of practice has changed significantly since this rule has gone into effect, and the Board of Medicine really has not changed the rules at all since then,” Board of Medicine general counsel Ed Tellechea said during a meeting Friday. [Source: News Service of Florida]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› USF expanding enrollment in nursing program to meet growing need
The University of South Florida College of Nursing is expanding enrollment in response to a nationwide shortage of nurses due in part to the coronavirus pandemic. Health care professionals have played a major role in the nation’s response to the pandemic but it has taken a toll, especially on frontline workers like nurses.

› Palm Beach County businesses can request a mobile vaccine unit for staff, clients
Palm Beach County businesses and organizations can host a mobile unit for free walk-up COVID-19 vaccinations for their staff and clients. Companies and groups interested in taking advantage of Health Care District of Palm Beach County’s offer can visit hcdpbc.org, Select the Mobile Clinic Vaccination & Community Event Request tab and submit the form for review and approval.

› Duval Health Department awarded $6.5 million from CDC to address disparities
The Duval County Health Department is one of just three Florida agencies announced to receive a major funding allotment from the Centers for Disease Control to address COVID-19-related health disparities. The $6.549 million award is part of a $2.25 billion nationwide investment that seeks to advance health equity by expanding state and local health department capacity and services, marking the CDC’s largest investment to date to improve health equity in the United States.

› Sumter County tackles ambulance service, impact fee reversal
Sumter County has had complaints this year about ambulance delays, some possibly tied to pandemic-related wait times at the hospital in The Villages. And now the county is questioning whether to renew its ambulance service contract next year with AMR. Last week, Sumter County commissioners picked an ad hoc committee of five volunteers steeped in EMS and hospital management. Commission Chairman Garry Breeden says they’re looking for long-term solutions that improve patient care.

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