Telemedicine takes big hit in federal healthcare fraud takedown in Florida
As the advertising folks like to say, telemedicine is the wave of the future. But it is also the latest hot spot in healthcare fraud in Florida and other regions of the country, federal authorities say. This week, 10 defendants appeared in Fort Lauderdale federal court on fraud charges. Their network of marketing and telemedicine companies is accused of soliciting patients, prescribing medications for purported injuries and billing millions for unnecessary services to a U.S. military health insurance program. [Source: Miami Herald]
USDA: grants to boost telemedicine in rural Florida areas
Florida received more than $1 million in rural development grants to help fund three projects, including two targeted at telemedicine, the federal government announced Wednesday. PanCare of Florida received a $431,283 grant to purchase equipment to expand access to primary care and behavioral health services for children in five Florida counties. Attempts to contact PanCare of Florida about the counties that would benefit were not immediately successful. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Florida's number of children without health coverage is soaring
Florida saw the second largest increase of uninsured children in the nation during the first three years of President Donald Trump’s administration. That’s the top line conclusion of a new study released Friday by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Center for Children and Families. Between 2016 and 2019, 55,000 Florida children lost their coverage, wrote the report’s authors, Joan Alker and Alexandra Corcoran. More from the Tampa Bay Times and Orlando Weekly.
Amid pandemic, Florida’s smokable medical marijuana industry is on fire
While many business sectors have sharply contracted over the past six months due to COVID-19, Florida’s medical marijuana industry, by several measures, appears to be thriving. Growth in the number of patients, doctors, dispensaries and in product sales have all increased – with dispensation of consumable products doubling in multiple categories since the start of 2020. [Source: The Capitolist]
A program pushed by former Gov Rick Scott to help people compare prices and shop for medical procedures has cost taxpayers millions of dollars but has garnered little attention from the public. The state has paid more than $5 million for the FloridaHealthPriceFinder website over the past three years, according to a review of state financial records. But the site has generated just 131,653 visits since its launch in November 2017, information from the state Agency for Health Care Administration shows. Despite a lack of visits, AHCA officials remain upbeat about the initiative. [Source: News Service of Florida]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› The tutu girls: group of young cancer survivors reunites [WSLS]
Lauren Glynn is the shy one with the toy husky dog. Smiley McKinley Moore has a doll with blond hair just like hers, and Avalynn Luciano is the squirmer with the pretty white bow on top of her head. Together, they are a brave posse of cancer survivors known as the tutu girls. All age 7 or nearly so, the three girls were diagnosed with leukemia in 2016 and met at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, where they became fast friends.
› Rural hospital, childcare center to get state long-term recovery aid [WFSU]
Gov. DeSantis visited the Panhandle ahead of the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Michael to announce that a rural hospital and an early learning center would get $15 million in state long-term recovery funds. At his Blountstown stop, DeSantis announced Calhoun Liberty Hospital is getting $10 million to rebuild its facility, which was severely damaged after the storm.
› Florida Blue first health plan to sign on for integrated Teladoc-Livongo platform [Fierce Healthcare]
Florida Blue is expanding its partnership with Teladoc to add Livongo's virtual diabetes solution for its members. It's the first health plan to sign on for the integrated technology platform as a result of Teladoc's proposed $18.5 billion acquisition of Livongo, a company that provides diabetes monitoring and remote monitoring.
› SMH among America's 'most wired' hospitals [SRQ Magazine]
Sarasota Memorial Hospital frequently touts groundbreaking procedures offered at the facility. Now, a national organization recognized it as one of the “most wired” hospitals in the country. The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives recognized the local institution for displaying some of the highest and most innovative uses of technology.