Majority of Florida’s long-term care staffers refused coronavirus vaccine
The low vaccination rate among staffers at long-term care facilities is common across the state. As of March 28, only 36 percent of Florida’s nursing home staff members and 40 percent of assisted-living staff members had received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration. Meanwhile, the vaccination rate among long-term care residents is much higher — 68 percent of nursing home residents and 93 percent of assisted-living residents have received at least one dose, according to the agency. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Telehealth reform will expand health care access after COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many aspects of daily life but has also accelerated emerging trends and innovations — particularly in the health care sector. For example, social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders led to a rapid increase in the use of telehealth in 2020. Of course, many illnesses or injuries require an in-person visit, but every visit that can effectively be done via telehealth frees up time, space and other resources for those needing in-person visits. [Source: Your Observer]
Column: Pharmacy managers help keep prescription costs down
In the past year, millions of Americans have put their lives at risk to help care for patients with COVID-19 and other conditions, keep grocery stores and pharmacies stocked, educate students and provide many other necessary services. Their dedication has sustained us in these troubled times. One of COVID-19′s many lessons is that the world does not stop — even in a pandemic. Prescription-drug affordability remains an urgent need for many Floridians. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
Lawmakers seek to eliminate Chiles Fund, transfer $1 billion to reserves
Florida lawmakers might wipe out a special account used to pay for health care and biomedical research and set up with money from a landmark 1997 settlement with tobacco companies The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday voted to scrap a fund named after former Gov. Lawton Chiles, the last Democrat elected as governor. Chiles helped engineer a behind-the-scenes effort to get the Legislature to allow the lawsuit that led to the massive settlement. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Florida health officials have started pushing back against new concerns the state’s COVID death count is incorrect. A recent study from University of Utah researchers proposes that numbers could be off by thousands. Their estimate came from calculating and comparing Florida's average deaths, absent a pandemic, to actual March through September numbers. When taking COVID into account, scientists said there were near 5,000 more deaths than expected. They suggested health officials could have misidentified them as many COVID patients suffer from comorbidity. [Source: WPTV]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Florida students could soon be required to take CPR training before graduation [WFSU]
More than 350,000 people experience sudden cardiac arrest each year. Immediate CPR from a bystander can be the difference between life and death. Florida is one of only about a dozen states that doesn’t require its students to learn CPR before graduating. But, this week lawmakers heard testimony in committee from members of the public whose family members and loved ones needed help from someone trained in CPR. They're urging the state to put a CPR training requirement in place.
› 1000th robot-guided orthopedic surgery performed at Bayfront Health Port Charlotte [Florida Trend]
Bayfront Health Port Charlotte recently celebrated the completion of the 1,000th minimally invasive orthopedic surgery. Now, more than 1,000 surgeries have been performed by a robotics team led by orthopedic surgeons Nicholas Connors, M.D., and Ronald Constine, M.D., both independent surgeons on medical staff at Bayfront Health Port Charlotte, using the hospital’s robotic-arm assisted technology as a surgical option.
› Telehealth firm prepares for a breakout year [Business Observer]
Tampa telemedicine company OnMed was about to take off in 2020. Then a global pandemic caused a change of plans. But it wasn’t all bad. “What happened with COVID-19 was the double-edged sword,” says Austin White, 64, the president and CEO of OnMed. “All the things we were doing — they just came to a screeching halt. It was a big cash flow crunch.” The company had contracts for four to six OnMed stations — hybrids of virtual and touch-and-feel medicine — poised to start in summer 2020. But those contracts were with health care systems and colleges, and once COVID-19 hit, nonemergency health care was not exactly top priority.
› Walmart plans clinic in Northwest Jacksonville [Jacksonville Daily Record]
A sixth Walmart Health clinic is in review for Northeast Florida. Plans show the city is reviewing a permit application for construction of a 6,510-square-foot clinic within the 203,658-square-foot Walmart Supercenter at 12100 Lem Turner Road at a cost of $350,000.