Florida wants to shield health officials in COVID data lawsuit
The Florida Department of Health has gone to an appeals court in a battle about whether it should provide daily COVID-19 data, as it seeks to be shielded from explaining officials’ decision-making about releasing the information. The underlying lawsuit alleges the Department of Health violated public-records laws by turning down requests for daily COVID-19 data. The data, in part, would have provided county and demographic information about COVID-19 cases. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Senate, House snub Gov. DeSantis’ push to increase cancer research to $100 million
There are plenty of differences between the proposed $47 billion-plus health care spending proposals the Senate and House rolled out this week. But the chambers are in lockstep in deciding not to include an additional $37 million to increase cancer research and treatment as advocated by Gov. Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis. The First Lady was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. [Source: Florida Politics]
COVID-19 hospitalizations continue falling in Florida
The number of Florida hospital inpatients with COVID-19 continues to drop. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services posted data Monday that showed 7,316 Florida inpatients had COVID-19, down from 9,015 a week earlier and 10,794 two weeks earlier. The data Monday also showed that 1,174 patients with COVID-19 were in intensive-care units, down from 1,346 a week earlier and 1,566 two weeks earlier. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Florida’s ACA enrollment is tops nationally, but Medicaid expansion questions remain
Florida is one of 12 states that has not expanded its Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. Because of this, signing up for health care in Florida can be a challenge. The ACA helps provide health insurance coverage for the uninsured; for those whose income falls below the federal poverty level, Medicaid is available. But Medicaid is not available for Floridians whose income exceeds the maximum eligibility level — just over $17,000 before taxes for a single person in Florida, or about $35,000 for a family of four. [Source: Health News Florida]
A bill to loosen staffing standards at Florida nursing homes was initially drafted with the help of one of the state’s most powerful long-term care lobbying interests. Under the measure, Senate Bill 804, nursing homes that fail to meet state-mandated staff requirements would no longer be barred from admitting new residents. It also would broaden which kinds of employees can be counted in these mandatory staffing minimums, which are intended to keep residents safe. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› A former supervisor wouldn't endorse Ladapo as Florida's surgeon general [Health News Florida]
State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo is scheduled Tuesday to go before the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee for a confirmation hearing after facing heavy criticism from Democrats during a similar hearing last month. The hearing comes after a report that a former supervisor of Ladapo at UCLA declined to recommend him for the post during a background check. The supervisor is not named.
› After 164 days fighting COVID, a patient finally walks out of UF Health Jax [WUSF]
Fabian Granado will celebrate his 27th birthday on Feb. 8. It's a day his close-knit family feared he wouldn't live to see. Hospitalized 164 days — often near death including two months in a coma — from COVID-19, Granado walked out of UF Health Jacksonville on Tuesday to tears of joy, cheers, handshakes and hugs from the masked medical staff who cared for him day and night.
› West Florida Hospital to lose enterprising CEO who brought new medical talent to the area [Pensacola News Journal]
If West Florida Hospital can be thought of as a ship, then it's fair to say it's now losing a captain. West Florida Hospital CEO Gay Nord has been at the helm of her medical institution throughout the pandemic, navigating the hospital's way through the storm. Last week, she announced plans to retire this spring.
› Shriners to close Tampa children’s clinic, lay off employees [Tampa Bay Times]
Shriners Hospitals for Children plans to close Shriners Children’s Florida, the nonprofit’s only pediatric treatment facility in the Tampa Bay region. Once a hospital famed for its free treatment of children with burns or club feet, the facility at the University of South Florida transitioned to an outpatient-only clinic in 2019 specializing in orthopedic treatment. The nonprofit has provided health care at the site since 1985.