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Hurricane Ian impacts health care access across Florida

Hurricane Ian impacts health care access across Florida

Hurricane Ian has impacted health care facilities across Florida, making it very difficult for medically vulnerable people to get the care they need. Hospitals have been hardening their facilities for years to withstand hurricanes, but even without considerably damage to the hospitals themselves, challenges remain. The biggest challenge that hospitals are facing is the interruption of key public services, the electrical grid, and most especially the disruption in the public water supply. More from NPR and PBS.

Florida long-term care associations sue state over minimum wage mandate

Florida long-term care associations and one provider are challenging a requirement that providers in the state serving Medicaid beneficiaries — including assisted living communities and home care agencies — pay workers a $15-per-hour minimum wage. The state’s fiscal year 2022-2023 budget provided more than $600 million to the state Agency for Health Care Administration to increase the minimum wage for employees of providers of home- and community-based services to at least $15 per hour. The requirement applies to employees and independent contractors. [Source: McKnight's Senior Living]

USF professor offers pandemic health advice for Halloween: ‘Treat it like the flu’

The past few years, University of South Florida public health professor Dr. Jay Wolfson has been called on for advice as Halloween approached and the pandemic weighed heavy on our minds. This year, Wolfson said, the pandemic is now in a state they call “endemic,” meaning the disease is still around but it’s at a level that is not causing significant disruption in our daily lives. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Breakthrough Alzheimer’s drug offers hope as South Florida becomes a magnet for research and cutting-edge trials

Florida’s diverse elderly population is playing a key role in breakthrough Alzheimer’s research, contributing in a big way to the trials that led to this week’s announcement of the first medicine to clearly blunt the progression of the disease. The state hosted 36 trial sites for the experimental drug lecanemab, which researchers say reduced the pace of cognitive decline in people with early disease by 27% over 18 months when compared with a placebo. They are calling the trial’s results “a historic moment for dementia treatment,” [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Florida Blue, BayCare reach agreement that keeps patients insured

BayCare Hospital System and Florida Blue said Wednesday they have reached an agreement that will spare tens of thousands of Tampa Bay residents from being forced to find new doctors. The agreement means the nonprofit’s hospitals and doctors will remain in-network for roughly 85,000 Florida Blue insurance policy holders who regularly use BayCare medical services. Negotiations between the provider and the health insurance company had stalled after seven months of talks when each one accused the other of prioritizing profits over patient needs. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› Street team continues door-to-door canvassing in Immokalee to bridge healthcare gap
It’s close to 95 degrees in Immokalee today. A heavy layer of humidity hangs in the air as a storm just passed through, dowsing the area with hot rain. Since it’s Tuesday, and regardless of the heat and thick humidity, the Healthcare Network Community Outreach Team is walking door-to-door offering residents any health resources they may need. The team of seven hops out of two vans to start canvassing in South Immokalee’s Camp Rojo. From each of their forearms hangs eight to 10 black, Healthcare Network-branded reusable tote bags they refer to as “goodie bags.”

› 211 Northwest Florida to serve region as 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline call center
211 Northwest Florida is set to become the state's 13th certified Lifeline Center. This means for the first-time ever, area residents who call the new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline), soon will be able to access a trained crisis counselor who also lives in this region and is familiar with local resources. 988 launched nationwide in July and has been ramping up Florida.

› SMH implants world's first 'smart' knee replacement
Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is among the first hospitals in the nation offering patients a “smart” knee replacement. SMH is the first in Florida to offer the procedure robotically. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Edward Stolarski successfully performed the robotic knee replacement Sept. 7, implanting Zimmer Biomet’s Persona IQ. The world’s first smart knee implant, the Persona IQ contains sensors that measure performance, including range of motion, stride length, walking speed and step count.

› Tom Brady's TB12 Method is in Pinellas County schools. Experts have doubts.
In some Pinellas County schools, students use foam rollers and vibrating spheres to massage their muscles as they work toward goals for strength and flexibility. It’s all part of a new physical education curriculum from quarterback Tom Brady, whose vision for healthy living is fueling a fitness empire. The arrangement with schools in Pinellas marks a foray into education for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' superstar and his methods — including some that have been criticized as pseudoscience.