Pandemic gives Florida ‘golden opportunity’ to reimagine senior care
Some older Floridians are reconsidering where they should spend their later years after watching residents of long-term care facilities go through a wrenching year of isolation and coronavirus outbreaks. As of March 12, 10,727 residents of nursing homes and assisted-living centers had died from the coronavirus, making up about a third of the state’s 33,120 deaths, according to the Florida Department of Health data. The pandemic has forced a conversation about the state’s aging population and the best way to care for seniors. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Doctors push back on marijuana potency arguments
Florida doctors late last week pushed back against allegations that the state’s medical marijuana program is being used by people seeking to get high for fun. The physicians spoke out after a committee approved a controversial proposal being pushed by Republican lawmakers in the state House. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Spencer Roach, R-North Fort Myers, would impose THC potency limits for smokable medical marijuana and other cannabis products. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Advocates on why time is right for Florida to move on Medicaid expansion
Florida is one of a dozen states that has not accepted federal funding in order to expand who qualifies for Medicaid, the program that provides health insurance for low-income Americans. The $1.9 trillion relief package signed recently by President Joe Biden offers holdout states like Florida more money for Medicaid expansion. Now it’s up to lawmakers in Tallahassee to bring a bill to the floor for discussion and vote on it. [Source: Health News Florida]
Rapid COVID vaccine rollout backfired in states like Florida, analysis finds
Despite the clamor to speed up the U.S. vaccination drive against COVID-19 and get the country back to normal, the first three months of the rollout suggest faster is not necessarily better. A surprising new analysis found that states such as South Carolina, Florida and Missouri that raced ahead of others to offer the vaccine to ever-larger groups of people have vaccinated smaller shares of their population than those that moved more slowly and methodically, such as Hawaii and Connecticut. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Legislative leaders announced they have an agreement on COVID-19 liability protections for businesses, nursing homes and other health care providers and that a bill should be headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk late this week. Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, and House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, said the House would accept a proposal (SB 72) that the Senate amended and passed Thursday in a 24-15 vote along almost straight party lines. Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, was the only Democrat who voted for the measure. [Source: News Service of Florida]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› How Sarasota-Manatee health care providers helped patients with telehealth access [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
In March of last year, every industry had to adjust to the arrival of COVID-19 in Florida. Health care visits were of the utmost importance, especially during the height of the pandemic, but adjustments had to be made in the name of safety. Using digital tools to check on a patient’s health became commonplace. However, not everyone was ready or able to make the change to digital doctor visits.
› Holy Cross Health announces strategic collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital [South Florida Hospital News]
Holy Cross Health has forged a strategic collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts to combine the best of academic medicine with the best of community care. Holy Cross Health will have access to the breadth and depth of clinical and research expertise at Massachusetts General Hospital to support the delivery of high-quality care in South Florida.
› This female physician has played a key role in Orlando hospitals’ COVID-19 responses [Cliick Orlando]
It has taken a village to lead some of Central Florida’s hospitals through the coronavirus pandemic and one woman has been at the forefront of those efforts since the outbreak began. Dr. Patricia Couto is one of the infectious diseases physicians for Orlando Health. In that role, she’s responsible for promoting the goals of fighting infectious disease, including reducing the rates of infection and improving outcomes for patients with various infections, through quality treatment and care.
› USF chosen for virus research headquarters [Health News Florida]
The Global Virus Network has named the University of South Florida in Tampa as its new Southeast U.S. regional headquarters. Baltimore-based GVN is a system of researchers in 34 countries who study how viruses work and how they make people sick. Dr. Christian Bréchot, GVN president and professor of internal medicine at USF Health, said that the partnership between the organizations will help develop ways to combat viruses.