State looks to education to address health care worker shortages
Lawmakers are mulling ways to help bolster education and training programs for nurses and other health care professionals to address an ongoing staffing crisis in hospitals and long-term care facilities. Industry leaders warned the Senate Committee on Health Policy that worker shortages are driving up costs and leading to employee burnout. “Staffing has been and continues to be one of the biggest challenges,” Florida Hospital Association president and CEO Mary Mayhew told the Senate panel. “So as hospitals have the ability to bring in beds, to convert space, to convert cafeterias, to convert conference rooms --- you still have to have the nurses and the doctors to staff those beds, to meet the needs of those patients.” [Source: News Service of Florida]
Florida scientists bring hope to breast cancer patients through groundbreaking research
Florida scientists bring hope to breast cancer patients through groundbreaking research Danielle Ivanov The Gainesville Sun Physicians and researchers across Florida are exploring innovative ways to make a diagnosis of breast cancer less formidable and frequent, especially for underserved populations such as Black women and prison inmates. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and combined with the Oct. 4 announcement that Florida's First Lady, Casey DeSantis, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 41, many are looking for more information on the disease. [Source: Gainesville Sun]
For 105 days, COVID’s death toll in Florida counties went missing
For 105 days this summer, while COVID-19 deaths soared across the state, Floridians had no idea how many of their neighbors were dying. The Florida Department of Health knows how many people are dying in each county, but stopped telling the public on June 4. That’s when state officials stopped releasing daily pandemic data, switched to weekly reports and started withholding data once available to the public. Instead of including county deaths in its weekly reports, the state directed the public to find that information via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Medical marijuana is exploding in Florida, and regulators are asking for financial help
As Florida’s legal pot industry is poised to mushroom, health regulators are asking lawmakers for nearly $13 million to more than double the number of workers in the office that oversees medical marijuana issues. Health officials also want $4 million for a state education and prevention campaign to publicize “accurate information” about medical marijuana, money to buy vehicles to transport samples of THC-infused edible products to a testing lab in Jacksonville and additional funds to open three regional offices within the Office of Medical Marijuana Use, according to documents submitted to the Legislature. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Home care is more popular — and more difficult to find — than ever in Florida. About 90 percent of Americans want to age at home rather than in a long-term care facility, and home health leaders say the demand has only increased amid a pandemic that has been especially deadly for long-term care residents. At the same time, the global emergency has ushered in an unprecedented shortage of home health aides in the state, leaving older adults and people with disabilities with limited options to stay in their own homes when they need care. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Florida researchers studying artificial intelligence use in telehealth [mHealth Intelligence ]
University of Central Florida researchers are working on a study to determine whether artificial intelligence integrated into telehealth visits can improve provider training and patient outcomes. Telehealth has improved patient access to care, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has helped patients and providers avoid in-person visits and reduced waiting room crowds. Telehealth advocates expect that the platform will be integrated with in-person visits beyond the pandemic to form a hybrid healthcare standard of care.
› University of Central Florida probes what makes bacteria ‘flesh-destroying’ [Florida Today]
University of Central Florida researchers have found a novel genetic marker to discriminate between strains of a common bacteria in coastal waters that can cause deadly disease to humans and strains that don’t make people sick. The findings, published recently in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focus on Vibrio vulnificus, a potentially deadly bacteria that can enter the bloodstream via scratches and other open wounds. The researchers say their findings can help to predict the conditions that set the stage for future outbreaks from other pathogens.
› Two tourists got Legionnaires’ Disease after staying at a Florida Keys resort, lawyers say [Miami Herald]
When Marcia Blanar stayed at Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys during the summer, a decorative fountain surrounded by benches “was raging with active Legionella,” according to a lawsuit filed on her behalf earlier this month in Monroe County Circuit Court. Legionella, a type of bacteria, can cause Legionnaires’ Disease. The disease can cause a severe lung infection and is contracted by breathing in infected water, such as a spray of water.
› Doctor warns Jacksonville's city council about an uptick in fentanyl overdoses [Health News Florida ]
Just one pill can kill. That was the message emphasized by Dr. Raymond Pomm when he spoke Thursday at a special Jacksonville City Council committee on drug overdoses and mental health. Overdoses have been on the rise in the past few years throughout the country, despite a significant decrease in opioid prescriptions.