Rapid rise in COVID patients leads Florida hospitals to limit visitors, prepare for worst
A spike in patient admissions for COVID-19 has put Florida hospitals on high alert, with Miami-Dade’s Jackson Health System announcing that it would suspend visitations at many of its facilities beginning Wednesday. Driven by a highly contagious variant of the virus and the significant share of Floridians who remain unvaccinated, the number of new infections reported weekly by Florida’s health department has increased more than fourfold in a month, from 10,095 cases for the week ending June 17 to 45,449 on Friday. More from the Miami Herald and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Florida Medicaid enrollment tops 4.8 million, surpassing forecast growth
Florida's Medicaid enrollment increased by 1% in June with 48,468 low-income residents qualifying for subsidized health care, according to the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). As of June 30, there were 4,846,412 low-income, elderly and disabled Floridians enrolled in Medicaid, an increase of more than 730,000 since June 2020, AHCA documents in its June enrollment report. Florida’s economy lost 1.1 million jobs during the peak of the pandemic last spring, hitting a peak unemployment rate of 14.2%. [Source: The Center Square]
Florida leads the nation in new HIV cases
Florida leads the U.S. in the number of new HIV cases and has the nation’s third highest infection rate, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. The state reported almost 4,400 new HIV infections in 2019, the most recent data available for the federal agency’s HIV surveillance report. Florida’s infection rate averages out to 23.7 cases per 100,000 people, trailing only the District of Columbia and Georgia. Florida is also well above the national average rate of 13. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
‘Trauma centers’ charge huge fees to treat minor injuries and send people home
Tens of thousands of times a year, hospitals charge enormously expensive trauma alert fees for injuries so minor the patient is never admitted. In Florida alone, where the number of trauma centers has exploded, hospitals charged such fees more than 13,000 times in 2019 even though the patient went home the same day, according to a KHN analysis of state data provided by Etienne Pracht, an economist at the University of South Florida. [Source: Health News Florida]
Legal wrangling has begun over Florida's decision late last month to approve hospice programs in seven counties across the state. Thirty-four petitions have been filed in state administrative court by companies that either are challenging the Agency for Health Care Administration’s decisions to deny their applications for hospice services or to approve their competitors’ applications, according to a notice published Wednesday in the Florida Administrative Register. [Source: News Service of Florida]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› USF receives $70 million to continue research into causes of diabetes [WUSF]
The National Institutes of Health has awarded the University of South Florida a $70 million grant to support research into the causes of Type 1 diabetes. NIH will award the funds over the next four years as part of an ongoing study into the influence of environmental factors in the development of Type 1 diabetes. Researchers at USF believe a variety of external risk factors may be associated with Type 1 diabetes, which was once considered primarily a genetic condition.
› Florida still leads nation in new Obamacare enrollment [News Service of Florida]
Florida continues to lead the nation in the number of new people enrolling in Obamacare health plans during a special enrollment period that began earlier this year, according to data released Wednesday by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In all, 1.5 million people in 36 states that use a federal health insurance exchange enrolled in plans available under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, between Feb. 15 and June 30.
› Doctors urge parents to act as Central Florida childhood immunization rates plummet WOFL
Childhood immunizations are down at an alarming rate. Some experts fear that without a change, more life-threatening diseases could arise. Statewide the immunization rates for children under the age of two had been strong for years. In 2021 the percentage dropped to 79.3% – a significant change from a year earlier at 93.4% and well below the state’s annual goal of 90% immunity.
› Lauderhill pair charged in scheme to sell fake nursing diplomas [Health News Florida]
Two South Florida residents face federal charges, accused of participating in a scheme to sell fake nursing degrees to people who had not completed the required courses or clinical training. According to an indictment, Geralda Adrien, 51, and Woosvelt Predestin, 35, both of Lauderhill, face charges of conspiring to commit wire fraud and mail fraud. They face up to 20 years in federal prison on each count, federal authorities said.