Florida's COVID positivity rate and death toll are trending downward
While the number of new COVID-19 cases statewide are about half of what they were two weeks ago, the number of deaths remains high. The Florida Department of Health's weekly coronavirus report released on Friday showed 103,022 people in the state tested positive for the virus. Statewide, 1,293 people died from complications of the virus for the week ending Thursday. That's down slightly from the 1,324 recorded the week before — and the first weekly decline since Dec. 17-23. [Source: Health News Florida]
Florida Trend Exclusive
A Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare doctor talks about AI, medicine and cardiology
Dr. Pablo Rengifo is an interventional cardiologist at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. He spoke recently with FLORIDA TREND about the expanding role artificial intelligence plays in diagnosing and treating cardiovascular diseases. Predicting Treatment: “Artificial intelligence is a real hot topic right now in medicine and cardiology. In the fields of orthopedic surgery and radiology, we know they are working on different types of A.I. software that can analyze X-rays and predict who is going to need treatment in five years.” [Source: Florida Trend]
Florida Legislature passes bill to help shield health care providers from COVID-19 lawsuits
With the state still grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, the Florida House on Thursday gave final approval to a bill that would extend COVID-19 legal protections for hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers. The House voted 87-31 to pass the measure (SB 7014), which was approved last month by the Senate. It is now ready to go to Gov. Ron DeSantis. [Source: WTVT]
Why Medicare penalizes some Florida hospitals that it also gives high ratings
Many of South Florida’s largest hospitals are among the more than 750 medical centers nationwide penalized this year by the federal government for having the highest number of patient infections and potentially avoidable complications. The penalties — a 1% reduction in Medicare payments over 12 months — are based on the experiences of patients discharged from the hospital between July 2018 and the end of 2019, according to data analyzed by Kaiser Health News. [Source: Miami Herald]
Sometimes getting a doctor's appointment is not easy, with some family doctors saying it can take as long as six weeks. In fact, Boynton Beach doctor Eric Weiner has his concerns about its future. "It's a Titanic! And the truth is, it's not even trying to avoid the iceberg, we are aiming for the iceberg," said Dr. Weiner, an internist at Medical Specialists of the Palm Beaches. Weiner said Florida already does not have enough doctors. [Source: WPBF]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Florida doctors denounce ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, warn of harm to youth [Orlando Sentinel]
Over 115 physicians from across Florida are urging the Republican-led Legislature to drop HB 1557, the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill that would prohibit classroom discussions about gender identity and sexual orientation. The doctors signed a letter Wednesday saying the bill could “endanger the safety of LGBTQ children.”
› Florida failed for nearly 3 months to pay tens of thousands of health claims for children [Tampa Bay Times]
Florida failed for nearly three months to pay tens of thousands of health care claims for the state’s sickest and neediest children due to software glitches blamed on the corporate merger of its two largest payment vendors, officials and executives said. Families with critically ill children who relied on Medicaid-paid health providers were stranded in some cases.
› ‘We’re in an inspiring time:’ Florida doctor discusses importance of Black voices in medicine [WKMG]
Many people spend their whole lives looking for their life’s purpose, for Dr. Cassann Blake, it was a no-brainer. “I initially became interested in health care at a very early age, I think I really just wanted to be able to impact the lives of people that I encountered,” Blake said, “While in residency, I met a lot of women with breast cancer, and honestly, a lot of those patients looked like me.” Even as a resident, she felt like she made a difference in the lives of the Black patients she met.
› UCF to start emergency medical services fellowship, only one of four in Florida [NSM Today]
UCF announced the start of the university’s first accredited emergency medical services fellowship on Monday. This will be only the fourth program of its kind in the state of Florida, according to the National Association of EMS Physicians. In collaboration with HCA Healthcare and the Osceola Regional Medical Center, the university seeks two fellows to accept each year. Training will begin in July.