Florida will extend Medicaid coverage for new mothers to a full year following childbirth
For a decade, Florida lawmakers have refused to expand eligibility for the public health insurance program, Medicaid, to all low-income adults as prescribed under the Affordable Care Act. But last week, Florida received approval from federal regulators to extend Medicaid benefits for one group of residents for whom state legislators had requested additional coverage: new mothers. More from the Miami Herald and the News Service of Florida.
Health officials urge caution and mask-wearing as Florida coronavirus cases climb
Federal health officials are recommending more Floridians wear masks indoors as the coronavirus spreads. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a number of counties across Florida are now categorized as "at a high risk" of COVID-19 as cases continue to climb across the state — and hospitalizations increase as well. Counties the CDC lists are Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Pasco, Sarasota, Alachua, Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach. [Source: Health News Florida]
Florida embraced social-emotional learning after Parkland. Not any more.
Florida faced a crisis after the 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland. A key to preventing another murderous attack, many argued, was to better identify children’s mental health needs and provide services before any problems grew out of control. The Republican-led state government poured resources into those efforts, passing laws intended to “reduce the likelihood of at-risk students developing social, emotional, or behavioral health problems, depression, anxiety disorders, suicidal tendencies, or substance use disorders.” School districts complied, submitting detailed plans to bring social-emotional learning into classrooms. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Critics fear health tech sector won’t protect online data privacy
Most people have at least a vague sense that someone somewhere is doing mischief with the data footprints created by their online activities: Maybe their use of an app is allowing that company to build a profile of their habits, or maybe they keep getting followed by creepy ads. It’s more than a feeling. Many companies in the health tech sector — which provides services that range from mental health counseling to shipping attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder pills through the mail — have shockingly leaky privacy practices. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg is now a Level 1 Children’s Surgery Center. The designation means the hospital is among the top institutions in the country for pediatric surgery. The American College of Surgeons has awarded the status to only two other hospitals in Florida and fewer than 50 around the nation. For All Children’s, it comes just a few years after regulators demanded changes at the hospital because of a spike in the mortality rate among pediatric heart surgery patients. [Source: WUSF]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Northeast Florida's health care concerns: from substance abuse to food deserts [WJCT]
Substance abuse, lack of affordable housing, transportation needs and even groceries all are pressing concerns that must be addressed to improve the health of Northeast Floridians, according to a new study from Jacksonville-area health care providers. The Community Health Needs Assessment is conducted every three years by the Jacksonville Nonprofit Hospital Partnership, utilizing focus group data, select interviews and regional surveys across the region's five counties.
› UCF lecturer, counselor brings therapy to traumatized Ukrainians [Orlando Sentinel]
In March, Dr. Gulnora Hundley, a UCF lecturer and trauma therapist, posted an offer on social media to help Ukrainian mental health professionals suffering the devastation of war. Within hours, the Soviet-educated psychiatrist had 46 requests for telehealth sessions spanning the next four weekends, and in the weeks afterwards she had another 42 requests and four more weekends of sessions — with no slow-down in sight.
› Hundreds of mask exemption forms signed by just six doctors for Sarasota students [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
A handful of medical professionals signed hundreds of mask exemption forms last fall for children attending Sarasota County Schools who objected to the district’s mask mandate. The school year comes to a close this week, riddled with a year of internal fights in Sarasota and with state officials over mask mandates that ended in September.
› Why is infant mortality higher for minority women in Florida? A UF Health study aims to find out [WJXT]
Certain communities in Florida face greater health challenges than others, according to former Florida Surgeon General and CDC Deputy Director Doctor Celeste Philip. It’s an issue that will be tackled by UF Health through a multi-million dollar grant from the Florida Blue Foundation. UF Health will be working for the next four years to figure out some of the greatest health disparities in the state through the $3.71 million grant.