November 29, 2022
How the pandemic became a bonanza for Florida's medical marijuana industry

Florida Trend Health Care

How the pandemic became a bonanza for Florida's medical marijuana industry

| 5/3/2022

How the pandemic became a bonanza for Florida’s medical marijuana industry

The pandemic has triggered a medical marijuana boon in Florida. Over the past two years, the number of people with medical marijuana cards has more than doubled, hundreds more doctors have become licensed to qualify patients, new dispensaries have opened almost weekly and a wide variety of new products have become available. With anxiety levels rising and chronic health conditions deepening during the numerous COVID waves, more Floridians are seeking cannabis as a medical treatment and the industry has found a way to get it to them. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Amid COVID uptick, UCF epidemiologist says stay calm and mask up if at risk

COVID cases are rising in Orange County and across Florida, but one University of Central Florida epidemiologist says this shouldn’t be cause for concern. The 14-day rolling positivity rate in Orange County continued to hover around 8.4 percent over the past week, corresponding with an increase in local cases and hospitalizations. But UCF epidemiologist Elena Cyrus echoes other experts in saying these numbers are no where near previous surges and the dominant variant is less severe than previous ones. [Source: Health News Florida]

Facing labor shortages and cost hikes, many long-term care facilities are shuttering

In Florida, long-term care facilities' use of employment agencies is up by nearly 300%, according to the Florida Health Care Association. Facilities have seen an increase of $275 million annually in staffing costs resulting from paying overtime, contract labor, and other costs associated with hiring additional in-house staff, Kristen Knapp, spokesperson for FHCA, told ABC News. [Source: ABC News]

Survey on teen health and mental health dropped at the 'worst time,' pediatric expert says

Florida teenagers will no longer be asked if they've gotten into a fight, use drugs or feel hopeless in a biennial survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Earlier this month, the state opted to end its participating in the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The questionnaire had been distributed to thousands of teens in Florida since 1991. "This is the worst time one could pick to do this," said Dr. Mobeen Rathore, Associate Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, at UF-Jacksonville, and past president, Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. [Source: WLRN]

South Florida organization working to break stigma of mental health care

May marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Month as organizations nationwide continue working to break stigmas surrounding mental health and seeking care. Meantime, a new non-profit group in South Florida is making strides towards making mental health care more accessible by offering free therapy to young people in the community. [Source: NBC Miami]


› HCA is donating $1.5 million to boost Florida International's nurse educator program
There's another staffing shortage impacting the nursing profession: nurse educators to teach the next generation. U.S. nursing schools turned away more than 80,000 qualified baccalaureate and graduate nursing applicants because of an insufficient number of faculty to teach them, according to a 2019 study by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Florida International University in Miami is trying to tackle this issue with help from a partnership with HCA Healthcare.

› Surging health care industry shows no signs of letting up in Jacksonville
Permits have been approved to toss the ceremonial gold shovels and bring on the heavy equipment and machinery to begin construction on a new 124-bed addition to a UF Health hospital facility. UF Health North already broke ground on the new hospital tower at the end of March at 15255 Max Leggett Parkway. With construction underway, the new facility is expected to open in 2024 directly behind the existing tower.

› Health insurance members lose in-network access to Memorial Healthcare as contract disputes increase
Tense contract negotiations between insurers and providers are nothing new. In recent years, similar fights spilled into the public arena involving Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida and Memorial Healthcare, UnitedHealthcare and Boca Regional Hospital, and Humana and Tenet Healthcare. All were resolved within weeks of contract expirations, with insurance plan members’ in-network coverage reinstated retroactively. Similar resolutions could still take place if the latest standoffs are resolved in coming days or weeks.

› Tampa clinic where lead workers received flawed care to close
A Tampa health clinic whose medical director failed to warn workers at a local lead factory that the amount of metal in their bodies put them in danger will close next week, the clinic announced. Comprehensive Occupational Medicine for Business & Industry, known as COMBI, has contracted with Gopher Resource since 2013 to provide workers with exams and blood tests mandated by federal rules and to handle workers compensation cases.

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