February 6, 2023
Florida commission urges sweeping mental health reforms

Florida Trend Health Care

Florida commission urges sweeping mental health reforms

| 1/17/2023

Florida commission urges sweeping mental health reforms

A state commission is urging Florida to enact sweeping reforms to its patchwork system of mental health care. The recommendations come from the Commission on Mental Health and Substance Abuse, which was created in 2021 after the Parkland grand jury called Florida’s mental health system “a mess.” The state’s Department of Children and Families provided the commission’s interim findings to the Tampa Bay Times. The group must submit a final report to Gov. Ron DeSantis and state legislative leaders by Sept. 1. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida patients won't benefit from FDA change allowing pharmacies to offer abortion pills

A majority of abortions in the United States are medically induced through a two-pill regimen that requires a prescription but does not involve surgery. For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration will now allow retail pharmacies to fill those prescriptions. Walgreens and CVS, the two largest pharmacy chains in the country, have said they will seek certification from the FDA to begin filling prescriptions for abortion pills. But Laura Goodhue, with Planned Parenthood of Florida, says the change will not impact everyone. [Source: Health News Florida]

Florida reports another uptick in COVID-19 cases as deaths pass 84,000

A new report from the state Department of Health shows the number of COVID-19 cases are still increasing. During the week of Dec. 30, the state had a reported 31,633 cases, compared to 23,939 reported cases the previous week. As another comparison, the state had a reported 12,365 cases during the week that started Oct. 28, according to Department of Health data. Also, more than 84,000 Florida residents have died with COVID-19 since the pandemic started in 2020, with the total increasing by nearly 1,000 in the past month, the report said. [Source: WUSF]

Hospital ER or urgent care? Deciding where to go is complicated.

Landing in the wrong setting can lead to higher and unexpected medical bills and increased frustration. Patients often don’t understand what kind of services different settings provide or the level of care they need, and an uninformed choice is “a recipe for poor outcomes,” said Caitlin Donovan, senior director at the National Patient Advocate Foundation, a patients’ rights nonprofit. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida's flu season peak comes in February, which means there's still time to get vaccinated

Florida is about three months into its official flu season, but there are still about four months left. And Pharmacist and co-founder of Healthy Men, Inc, Salvatore Giorgianni says the season’s peak hasn’t come yet. “What we’re seeing is a fairly typical pattern. A rise, a decline and another bump early in the year. The peak of flu season really is traditionally, and I think it’s going to be that way this year too, in early February," Giorgianni says. Giorgianni says anyone who wants to get vaccinated shouldn’t wait. It takes a couple of weeks for a flu vaccine to become fully effective. [Source: WFSU]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› DeSantis announces plan to crack down on pharmacy benefit managers
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing legislation to crack down on pharmacy benefit managers, also known as PBM's. The governor made the announcement in The Villages Thursday. PBMs are the pharmaceutical middlemen, the companies that administer insurers' drug plans, negotiate discounts and rebates from drug makers, and work with pharmacies.

› Florida Tech to open medical school in Brevard County
For the first time, Brevard County will have a medical school. Under an affiliate agreement between Florida Tech and Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine in New Mexico, a new four-year medical school will open in Melbourne. Advertisement “The need that Florida has for more physicians here is growing as the population is growing. The fact that we will now have a medical school in this part of the state helps alleviate that pressure,” said Florida Tech’s Interim President Robert King.

› Miami-based AvMed health plan purchased by Virginia's Sentara Healthcare
AvMed, a nonprofit health plan with more than 200,000 customers in Florida, has been acquired by Virginia-based Sentara Healthcare, the companies announced. The deal closed Dec. 31. No terms were announced. Miami-based AvMed, which provides commercial group, individual and Medicare Advantage coverage, will continue operations as usual “with minimal impact to health plan members, providers, and employees,” according to a news release.

› Jacksonville University expands accelerated nursing program with Mayo Clinic
Jacksonville University is expanding its accelerated bachelor’s degree program in nursing with the addition of a new clinical partner: Mayo Clinic. The accelerated program offers a path to a bachelor's degree in nursing in one year. JU said the program strives to meet the growing need for nurses in Florida and across the U.S. The expansion will double the number of students in the program at JU's Arlington campus.

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