Hospital leaders concerned as Florida lawmakers plan to cut Medicaid funding
Florida lawmakers are considering slashing hundreds of millions in funding from hospitals that take Medicaid despite opposition from hospital leaders, nurses and doctors who say the cuts are unnecessary. “What is the problem that they’re trying to fix? The state has over $6 billion in unbudgeted excess revenue,” said Mary Mayhew, president and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association. Medicaid is health insurance for poor or disabled Floridians. Hospitals provide care for Medicaid patients then get reimbursed by the state and federal government. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]
COVID cases in Florida plummet as omicron wave continues its sharp decline
Coronavirus cases in Florida dropped sharply again along with the positivity rate, as the omicron wave continued its steep decline, according to the state's weekly report issued Friday. Meantime, hospitalizations related to COVID-19 dropped about 28% during the past week, The decreases took much of Florida out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's high-risk category for COVID-19. [Source: Health News Florida]
Florida Blue joins coalition to bring down insulin costs starting in 2024
A coalition of health care companies working to bring down the cost of drugs is now targeting insulin for diabetics, and insurance company Florida Blue will join them. Civica RX was created as a nonprofit by hospitals to create low-cost generic drugs to handle in-patient shortages. Civica announced Thursday that it would manufacture and sell generic versions of insulin. Those sales would begin once it completes a new pharmaceutical plant and when licensing from the Food and Drug Administration, according to a report in The Washington Post. Civica is targeting 2024 for sales to begin. [Source: WKMG]
Florida says healthy kids shouldn’t get COVID vaccine, contradicting CDC
The Florida Department of Health is poised to officially recommend against giving coronavirus vaccines to healthy children. Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo made the pronouncement at a Monday roundtable discussion on coronavirus mitigations policies convened by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Ladapo, who leads Florida’s Department of Health, said his department’s recommendation would be the first of its kind in the country. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
A bill aiming to change how Florida handles the care of mental illness and substance use disorders has been sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign into law. The bill would make changes to who can help someone in recovery, and adds mental health disorders to what can be treated by state-certified counselors. Senate Bill 282, which focuses on mental health and substance use disorder treatment, passed both chambers of the Florida Legislature unanimously. [Source: WFLA]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› HCA adds its name to hospitals in Orange Park, Jacksonville and Gainesville [Health News Florida]
HCA Healthcare has changed the name of three Florida hospitals it owns to reflect they are part of the company's statewide network of health care providers. HCA Healthcare, based in Nashville, says it has 11,000 doctors across 450 facilities in Florida, including hospitals, physician practices, freestanding emergency rooms and urgent-care centers.
› Amid nursing home staffing crisis, Legislature approves industry-backed bill changing care requirements [Florida Politics]
The Legislature on Monday passed a compromise between the long-term care industry and trial lawyers that reduces the amount of mandated nursing hours that nursing homes must provide, but at the same time could allow for more lawsuits against providers. The Senate approved HB 1239 by a 28-9 vote, following up on earlier approval from the House.
› USF doctor's national study of asthma treatments for Black and Latino patients is a first of its kind [WUSF]
In Florida, Black people are three times more likely to die from asthma than whites. And national data shows that Latinos also suffer disproportionately from the chronic disease that causes shortness of breath, coughing and tightness in the lungs. They get more severe cases of asthma than whites and are more often hospitalized for the disease. In the first study to look at asthma treatments for Black and Latino patients, researchers at the University of South Florida and around the nation spent more than three years developing solutions to the historic racial gaps.
› Hospital group gives back to Central Florida’s largest food bank [Click Orlando]
It was all cheers in Orlando Friday at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida as a caravan with more than 6,600 pounds of food will soon be getting results in the region’s fight against hunger. “There are tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of families in our community who are at risk of going to bed hungry at night,” said Dan Samuels, director of philanthropy for the nonprofit.