More Floridians than ever enrolled in marketplace health plans
More than 1.9 million Floridians signed up for health coverage through the federal marketplace during the enrollment period that ended Dec. 17. That's up more than 125,000 from last year and the highest number of enrollees in Florida since the marketplace began in 2014. Florida also had more enrollees than any of the 38 other states in the federal markeplace. More from WUSF and WJCT.
Opinion: Let's talk about the severe shortage of addiction-treatment doctors
Florida is a national leader when it comes to beautiful beaches, citrus production and ... drug overdose deaths. The Sunshine State, like the United States as a whole, is in the midst of a crisis. In 2018 alone, provisional data indicate there were 4,936 overdose deaths in Florida from drugs including heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine. [Source: TCPalm]
Beyond the ACA: Healthcare legal fights to watch in 2020
All eyes were on the legal drama over the Affordable Care Act as 2019 drew to a close — and while that case remains a focus for this year — a lot more is also at stake. Antitrust concerns are also front and center, as payers clash over exclusive broker policies in Florida. [Source: Healthcare Dive]
Nearly 3,400 Hepatitis A cases reported in Florida in 2019
Florida health officials say there were nearly 3,400 hepatitis A cases in 2019. According to statistics through Saturday, there were 3,395 cases — included 63 new cases reported the prior week. To underscore the outbreak, the state totaled 1,175 reported cases of hepatitis A in the five previous years combined — with 548 of those cases in 2018, according to state Department of Health data. [Source: AP]
A federal appeals court Friday cleared the way for a lawsuit that alleges the Florida House and Senate have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing closed captioning on online videos of legislative meetings. The ruling by a panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was a victory for the National Association of the Deaf and South Florida resident Eddie Sierra in the lawsuit filed in 2018. [Source: WUSF]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Bill would allow vending machines for prescription drugs [Health News Florida]
Patients would get expanded access to prescription drugs under a bill in the Legislature that allows pharmacies to operate medication-dispensing kiosks. The automated pharmacy systems would operate like vending machines for prescription drugs. The machines wouldn't have to be located at a pharmacy so they could be placed in areas where access to medications is limited.
› Flu season expected to be worst in decades, on the rise in Florida [Fox 35 Orlando]
The flu season is now in full swing and the Florida Department of Health says that they are seeing more cases than normal this season. Several Florida counties, including Orange County as recent as last week, have reported a flu outbreak over the past couple of weeks.
› JU becomes first in Florida to launch degree program to prevent deadly medical errors [Action News Jax]
Jacksonville University is leading the state with a new online medical degree program. For the first time in Florida, the school is offering new curriculum to help health care professionals prevent deadly medical errors. “This is innovative,” Dr. Teri Chenot said. “It’s an emerging field due to the call for issues on medical errors.”
› Charlie Lynch plans to bring health care industry expertise to Legislature [Florida Politics]
Lawyers have been trying to improve health care access with little success. Now Charlie Lynch says a professional in the field needs to get involved. “I don’t want business as usual when it comes to reforming or changing health care,” Lynch said. That means the Florida Legislature needs some new faces.