Health care in proposed budget not pretty for Florida hospitals
The House and Senate released early iterations of health care spending plans this week and the outlook wasn’t pretty for Florida hospitals. The Senate proposed about $328 million in reductions to hospitals and the House proposed $514 million, including the near elimination of what is known as the “critical care fund.” The fund is used to provide enhanced Medicaid payments for health care providers that treat the largest numbers of Medicaid patients. The House’s spending plan hit some facilities particularly hard, according to Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida CEO Justin Senior. More from the News Service of Florida and the Center Square.
Plan to fix Florida’s Baker Act would make it more powerful, raising alarms
The Baker Act is one of Florida’s most powerful laws — and, critics say, one of its most dysfunctional. The 50-year-old law allows someone to be held for mental health evaluation and potentially committed to a treatment facility, whether they agree to it or not. But the number of those held involuntarily keeps accelerating, and the fastest-growing age group forced to undergo exams are children. Now a bipartisan group of legislators and reformers say they’ve found a way to fix it. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
South Florida: New COVID cases on the rise, but vaccines appear to be working
As Spring Breakers have poured into South Florida, new COVID-19 cases have been on the rise. South Florida is in the top 10% of metropolitan areas in the country for the number of new infections per 100,000 people, ranking 28th out of 392, according to a new White House report. After what appeared to be a decline in new cases in early March, the state’s three populous counties reported a significant jump in just a week -- an increase of 5.7% in new cases compared with the seven-day period a week earlier. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
How overhauling patient records can curb physician burnout
Judges don’t do court stenography. CEOs don’t take minutes at meetings. So why do we expect doctors and other health care providers to spend hours recording notes — something experts know contributes to burnout? “Having them do so much clerical work doesn’t make sense,” said Lisa Merlo, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry and director of wellness programs at the University of Florida College of Medicine. "In order to improve the health care experience for everyone, we need to help them focus more on the actual practice of medicine." [Source: UF News]
As Florida moves to open vaccine access to all adults on April 5, counties on the front lines of the mass-vaccination effort say they’re ready for an expected stampede of appointment-seekers as hundreds of thousands more Floridians become eligible for the sought-after shot. Officials in Central Florida say they’ve worked out kinks in their platforms to book appointments — some of which crashed under initial crushes of users in December — and have deep freezers at the ready capable of storing an influx of doses if more become available. Some also have plans to expand their offerings, including new and expanded mobile units and ramped-up capacity at existing sites. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› UF Med School's Class of 2021 holds first virtual Match Day ceremony [Health News Florida]
The University of Florida held its first virtual Match Day ceremony for the College of Medicine’s class of 2021 on Friday. Match Day is known to be one of the most important days for medical students around the country. During the ceremony, 142 UF College of Medicine students discovered where they will complete their residency training.
› Florida city fires employee over legal medical marijuana use [AP]
A Florida city has fired a top information technology manager for smoking marijuana — even though he been authorized by his doctor to use it legally for medical reasons. West Palm Beach fired Jason McCarty, its deputy chief of information technology, after a urine test found marijuana in his system — something he told them before the test that they would find. McCarty, a 50-year-old father of two, has a medical marijuana card that allows him to legally purchase pot from a dispensary.
› Venice couple who wrangled millions in surplus medical supplies for charity need help [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Venice retirees Bill and Judy Kraut have spent the past 18 years driving all over Florida, rounding up surplus medical supplies for charity. The retired neurosurgeon and nurse have procured and helped pack up 154 tractor-trailer loads for Project C.U.R.E., the world’s largest distributor of donated medical supplies. If placed end-to-end, those trucks would stretch over 2 miles.
› Tampa paramedics deliver doses of relief to homebound residents [Tampa Bay Times]
Florida rolled out a pilot program to vaccinate homebound residents in February — starting with 1,500 doses. Strike teams of state workers, local fire-rescue workers and paramedics are administering the vaccines in peoples’ homes. Emergency Management has worked with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and the Area Agencies on Aging to identify seniors for the program and has added door-to-door canvassing to locate others.