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Power, policy and public health: The push and pull in Florida

Power, policy and public health: The push and pull in Florida

The pandemic brought a spotlight to the push and pull in Florida over power, policy and public health, but it didn't start with COVID-19. In Florida, the decisions about infectious diseases and all kinds of issues related to public health come from the state capital. Tallahassee calls the shots on things like masking, vaccines and quarantine. For decades, though, individual counties actually had a lot of say over public health. [Source: Health News Florida]

Florida nursing homes struggle with staffing shortages

Florida nursing homes are desperate for workers and the majority of nursing home providers have offered an increase in wages and bonuses in response. One of our most vulnerable populations is being hit hard, as many nursing home facilities face the risk of closure because of staffing shortages and higher operating costs In a recent survey, the American Health Association said six out of 10 nursing homes in the U.S. are limiting patients due to staffing shortages. [Source: WINK]

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University of West Florida psychology professor James Arruda develops early Alzheimer's disease detection device

University of West Florida psychology professor James Arruda is playing a key role in the development of a device that could become an important breakthrough in the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. Arruda recently signed a consulting and licensing agreement with California-based Biopac Systems, to collaborate on the development of an electroencephalographic testing device, or EEG. [Source: Florida Trend]

Baby formula shortage is causing families to scramble in Florida

Despite the help from countries around the world, the U.S. last week hit a rate of 73% of stores being out-of-stock on baby formula. On April 24, baby formula was completely sold out in six states following a recall that caused contamination problems. Abbott Nutrition announced the recall in February; the company makes three of the top selling formulas. This has led to families searching for formula to give to their babies. If the right formula cannot be found, then families are using alternative options. [Source: WUSF]

Hospitals unable to meet undocumented patient data demand from Gov. DeSantis

Some Florida hospitals are struggling to meet a demand from the governor's office for information on undocumented patients they treat. In September 2021, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order requiring the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to begin collecting data from hospitals on the amount of money spent on caring for undocumented immigrants. The problem? Most health care facilities don’t question patients about their immigration status before treating those in need. [Source: Gainesville Sun]


› Plans remain for a Moffitt Cancer Center campus in Pasco despite DeSantis' veto
Plans to build a new biotech campus for Moffitt Cancer Center in Pasco County are on hold - at least temporarily - after Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed funding for it in the upcoming state budget. About $600 million in recurring money over the next 30 years would have gone to Moffitt project.

› Florida health system sues bill-sharing ministry for non-payment
Orlando Health, a 16-hospital system operating in central Florida, has filed a lawsuit against Liberty HealthShare, accusing the faith-based cost-sharing organization of failing to pay for medical services provided to its members. The suit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Orlando, alleges that Liberty notified the hospital system in August 2021 that it owed about $1.1 million for a “large block of claims” but then failed to provide information that would allow Orlando Health to verify the outstanding account balances.

› Texas-based Nutex Healthcare includes Jacksonville in Florida expansion plans
Texas-based Nutex Healthcare plans to build and open a micro-hospital facility in 2024 at northwest Beach and Kernan boulevards. It operates 221 facilities in eight states and plans to expand into Florida with facilities in Lakeland, Hallandale, Gainesville, Clermont, Fort Myers. Bradenton and Jacksonville. The company was formed in 2010.

› Brooksville nurses protest staff shortages at an HCA hospital
Nurses at an HCA hospital in Hernando County are sounding the alarm about staff shortages they say are endangering the safety of patients and workers. A couple of dozen people rallied outside Oak Hill Hospital in Brooksville on Tuesday morning. Staff shortages were a problem before the COVID-19 pandemic but have gotten worse as nurses left the field or took travel jobs elsewhere for more money, according to Judy Preuss, a nurse on the hospital's intensive care unit.