September 21, 2023
Florida lawmakers to focus on health care next year, House speaker says

Florida Trend Health Care

Florida lawmakers to focus on health care next year, House speaker says

| 7/25/2023

Florida lawmakers to focus on health care next year, House speaker says

After a year filled with issues that divided Floridians like LGBTQ representation in schools, guns and abortion, the leader of the Florida House of Representatives said next year’s focus for lawmakers would be on healthcare. Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) said he saw taking on medical-related issues as another way to lower the cost of living for residents and visitors of the state, and suggested much of the 2024 session would be spent picking through topics that have frustrated other governments. [Source: WFTV]

Florida tries to keep up as calls to 988 suicide line increase

One year after the launch of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, many Floridians still don’t know it exists and about 25% of the calls in the state are going unanswered. When you dial 988, it will route you to one of about 200 crisis call centers throughout the country based on your area code. From a Fort Lauderdale crisis center, counselor Brenda Mann-Kelly receives calls from a 754 or 954 area code. Over the last year, Mann-Kelly and the staff at Florida’s 13 crisis centers answered more than 82,000 calls to 988. More from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Yahoo News.

Medicaid ‘unwinding’ not what state expected

The number of Floridians enrolled in the state’s health care safety net program is not dropping as much as anticipated. That’s in part because even as state officials remove people from Medicaid rolls, thousands more than expected are enrolling in the safety net program for the poor, elderly, and disabled. While it doesn’t appear it will become a long-term trend, the current situation means there could be more people in Medicaid than state legislators anticipated when they put together this year’s state budget. [Source: Florida Politics]

Florida's spike in alcohol-fueled liver-disease deaths during COVID paralleled national data

Across the country, including right here in Florida, there has been a spike in alcohol-related liver disease deaths since the start of the pandemic. "It was quite noticeable relatively early in the pandemic," said Dr. Andreas Zori, a gastroenterologist with the University of Florida Health. "Especially, we saw an increase in acute alcoholic hepatitis, which is life-threatening acute inflammation in the liver." According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol sales grew tremendously from 2020 to 2022 in the United States, and as sales increased, so too did death rates associated with liver disease. [Source: WMFE]

An effort to enshrine abortion rights in Florida's constitution is more than halfway to its goal

Abortion rights supporters have collected nearly half a million petition signatures for their campaign to place the issue before voters on the 2024 ballot. The initiative was launched in May, shortly after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a six-week abortion bill into law. Implementation of that ban is on hold pending a state Supreme Court ruling on Florida's current 15-week abortion ban. [Source: Health News Florida]


› A malaria patient in Sarasota County shares her story: 'It was just surreal'
After a rough five days in the hospital, Hannah Heath says she's working to protect her family from mosquito-borne diseases. She encourages others to follow guidance from health officials. Heath is one of eight people who have contracted malaria in recent months from within the U.S., the nation’s first locally transmitted outbreak in 20 years. Aside from one case in Texas, all of the others have occurred in the northern part of Sarasota County.

› In Miami, gene therapy eyedrops restored a boy's sight. Similar treatments could help millions
The teen was born with a rare genetic condition that causes blisters all over his body and in his eyes. But his skin improved when he joined a clinical trial to test the world’s first topical gene therapy. His doctor wondered if it could be adapted for his eyes.

› AI to help solve diagnostic puzzles in Jacksonville health care
At a time when artificial intelligence is being incorporated more and more into the mainstream, the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville has adopted the first federally authorized AI-based computer software to help physicians make faster and more accurate breast and prostate cancer diagnoses.

› As she battles cancer, Sun City Center mom fights for Medicaid for her son
The family was stunned when they received notice from the Florida Department of Children and Families on June 12 telling them that Branden does not meet the “disability requirement” for Medicaid and would lose coverage that month. Without it, the family cannot afford the roughly $25,000 monthly bill that covers home nursing costs. Medicaid also helps pay for adult diapers, disposable bed pads and medication that helps reduce seizures.

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