'National emergency' in children's mental health now a crisis, doctors say
As we near the two-year mark of the pandemic, doctors say a national emergency declaration in children's mental health made just six months into the pandemic is now a crisis in full effect. While Florida’s pandemic shutdown for establishments and businesses was much shorter than most other parts of the country, many normal activities for kids and teens changed drastically. [Source: WFTS]
Florida COVID-19 hospitalizations, cases continue to drop
With COVID-19 cases continuing to plummet, the number of Florida hospital inpatients with the virus has dropped below 3,000. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released data Monday that showed 2,922 inpatients had COVID-19, down from 4,123 a week earlier. Also, the data showed that 480 COVID-19 patients were intensive-care units, down from 686 a week earlier. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Florida health equity experts reflect on progress, setbacks two years into COVID
Experts like Kelli Tice have been working to close the gaps between the health care haves and have-nots for years. But gaining the traction necessary to result in a substantial change in health outcomes has been difficult, Tice said. What’s different about the pandemic, she said, is that it exposed and exploited disparities in health, health care access and resources on a global scale. People were forced to start paying attention. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa to start seeking doctor help
If there is no doctor in the house, Amazon’s Alexa will soon be able to summon one. Amazon and telemedicine provider Teladoc Health are starting a voice-activated virtual care program that lets customers get medical help without picking up their phones. The service, for health issues that aren’t emergencies, will be available around the clock on Amazon’s Echo devices. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
The Florida House on Friday unanimously passed a measure that would lead to increased oversight of pharmacy benefit managers, which act as sort of middlemen between health insurers and pharmacies. The bill (HB 357), sponsored by Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, would give the state Office of Insurance Regulation more authority over pharmacy benefit managers. As an example, pharmacy benefit managers are required to register with the state, but the Office of Insurance Regulation does not have power to enforce the registration requirement. [Source: News Service of Florida]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Hillsborough gets an influx of $4 million to expand mental health services [WUSF]
Hillsborough County residents will have more access to mental health services thanks to $1.99 million in funding recently approved by commissioners. The County will contract with Tampa Bay Thrives and the investment will be matched from BayCare Health System for a total of nearly $4 million.
› UF Health Jax seeks COVID patients for a clinical trial on ivermectin and two other drugs [WJCT]
UF Health Jacksonville is part of a nationwide COVID-19 clinical trial studying whether three drugs approved to treat other conditions — including the controversial ivermectin — may help prevent hospitalizations and deaths in people with mild to moderate coronavirus symptoms. About 200 people are expected to be enrolled in the UF Health component of the trial, with about 15,000 participating nationwide.
› Orange County is preparing for the 988 suicide prevention hotline that starts in July [Health News Florida]
Florida counties are working with health care providers to prepare for the rollout of the 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number. Beginning in mid-July, when people photo, text or chat 988, they will be connected to trained counselors who are part of the network. These counselors will listen, provide support and connect callers to resources, if necessary.
› Florida Department of Health in Escambia County offers free HIV testing [Florida Health Escambia]
The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County (FDOH-Escambia) offers free HIV rapid testing at the After-Hours Clinic, held on the first Thursday of each month. The next After-Hours Clinic is this Thursday, March 3, 2022 at FDOH-Escambia’s Fairfield location. Open to the public, no appointment needed.