February 23, 2024
Florida's dental deserts leave millions without access to oral care

Florida Trend Health Care

Florida's dental deserts leave millions without access to oral care

| 5/2/2023

Florida’s dental deserts leave millions without access to oral care

Annual dental checks are essential to overall health. But of the 67 counties in Florida, experts say, only one has enough dentists to treat all patients. Nine counties in Florida have fewer than three practicing dentists apiece. Lafayette County, in north Florida, doesn’t have a single one. In Florida and across the nation, vulnerable and marginalized communities — already prone to higher rates of chronic disease and limited access to health care — are left behind in these dental deserts. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Group of Florida health workers criticizes immigration bill in a letter to lawmakers

Florida’s official COVID-19 caseload count remains unclear while hospitalizations have hit a one-year low, new state data shows. Florida’s infection tally increased by 36,758 since April 14, the state Health Department’s biweekly COVID report released Friday shows. But it’s just 4,446 more than March 31 because state health officials inexplicably removed more than 32,000 cases between March 31 and April 14. The state Health Department reported a total of 7,569,449 cases March 31, 7,537,137 on April 14, and 7,573,895 on Friday. [Source: Florida Today]

‘I’m trying not to go into panic.’ Review of millions of Medicaid enrollees plagued by error and confusion

Millions are expected to be left without insurance after getting a reprieve for the past three years during the coronavirus pandemic, when the federal government barred states from removing anyone who was deemed ineligible. Advocacy groups have warned for months that confusion and errors will abound throughout the undertaking, wrongly leaving some of the country’s poorest people suddenly without health insurance and unable to pay for necessary medical care. [Source: AP]

6 things to know about the case that will decide the future of abortion in Florida

Florida’s six-week abortion ban is in limbo. Its future depends on the conservative Florida Supreme Court and how the justices rule in an ongoing challenge over the state’s current law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Florida Supreme Court decided in January to hear the challenge to the state’s abortion law. The plaintiffs say the abortion restrictions are unconstitutional. The DeSantis administration says prior rulings from the state’s highest court wrongly gave too much protection to abortion. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Tax-free diapers and incontinence products get bipartisan support in Legislature

The Florida House has passed a permanent tax exemption on baby diapers and adult incontinence products in the state. In 2022, the Florida Legislature made diapers tax-free for a year, but that sales tax exemption did not include feminine hygiene or incontinence products. Rep. Anna Eskamani said the bipartisan legislation now awaiting the governor's signature includes diapers, incontinence undergarments, incontinence pads and incontinence liners. [Source: Health News Florida]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Bill would allow medical professionals to refuse care if it violates beliefs
Florida doctors and insurers could soon opt-out of performing or paying for medical services if they believe it violates their religious, ethical or moral beliefs. The bill ensures medical professionals and insurers will be held harmless both professionally and legally if they opt-out from participating in or paying for a health care service due to their belief it violates their religious, moral or ethical conscience.

› Group of Florida health workers criticizes immigration bill in a letter to lawmakers
Dozens of health care professionals are speaking out against a bill that would require Florida hospitals to collect data on patients who are undocumented immigrants. It’s part of a larger attempt to crack down on illegal immigration, a priority of Gov. Ron DeSantis. A group of 80 health workers delivered a letter to Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner on Wednesday urging them to vote against the bill.

› Florida medical tech company launches novel AI test for prostate cancer therapy
Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men in the U.S., with an expected 288,000 cases and 34,700 deaths expected in 2023, per the American Cancer Society. As artificial intelligence-based health technologies continue to advance, a growing number of medical tech firms are looking to use AI to improve patient outcomes. One of these is ArteraAI, a firm in Jacksonville, Florida, that develops medical AI tests that help personalize therapy for cancer patients.

› Free Narcan available in Central Florida as opioid overdose deaths remain high
The Florida Department of Health has issued thousands of free Narcan kits but is still trying to make more available to the public as opioid deaths remain high. Narcan, or naloxone, is a medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose. The latest data show there were over 600 opioid overdose deaths between 2020 and 2021 in Central Florida, according to Project Opioid.

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