How is Florida being impacted by COVID now? Here's what to know.
How is Florida being impacted by COVID now? Here’s what to know.
Florida’s COVID-19 uptick this winter may have peaked without a crushing wave of hospitalizations. Statewide, the number of new hospital admissions is dropping after an early January high and is far below what Florida recorded at this time last year when the omicron variant first hit. “We definitely have (virus) activity, but of course nothing like some of the surges we’ve had in the past,” said Mary Jo Trepka, an epidemiologist at Florida International University in Miami. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida, other states face steep challenges as Medicaid coverage cliff approaches
States are preparing to remove millions of people from Medicaid as protections put in place early in the covid-19 pandemic expire. The upheaval, which begins in April, will put millions of low-income Americans at risk of losing health coverage, threatening their access to care and potentially exposing them to large medical bills. It will also put pressure on the finances of hospitals, doctors, and others relying on payments from Medicaid, a state-federal program that covers lower-income people and people with disabilities. [Source: Health News Florida]
Major Florida hospital hit by possible ransomware attack
A major hospital system in northern Florida said Friday it is diverting some emergency room patients and canceling surgeries after a security problem with information technology. Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare said the issue began affecting its systems late Thursday night and has forced the hospital to shut down its IT network. It had the hallmarks of a ransomware attack, but the hospital has not yet characterized it as such, instead calling it an “IT security issue.” More from the AP and Health News Florida.
Florida moves forward on accepting applications for medical marijuana licenses
Florida health officials will accept applications for 22 medical marijuana licenses in late April, in a long-awaited move announced Friday by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration. An emergency rule about the licenses generated an immediate buzz in the cannabis industry, as the number of licenses in the state will double. The rule came more than six years after Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment broadly authorizing medical marijuana and after lawmakers in 2017 approved a framework for the industry. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Gov. DeSantis’ proposed budget boosts pediatric care, cancer research
Gov. Ron DeSantis rolled out a health care budget proposal that would pump hundreds of millions of dollars to increase payments for treatment of complex maternal and pediatric care, as well as supply innovative cancer care and research. DeSantis’ suggested spending plan for the fiscal year 2023-2024 directs $47.5 billion to the state’s six health and human services (HHS) related agencies. Also, it includes increases for community mental health providers, Alzheimer’s research, and providers working with young children with developmental or intellectual disabilities. [Source: Florida Politics]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› UCF health students experience BLISS, a virtual simulation for medical training [Health News Florida]
The University of Central Florida is launching a mixed-reality room to enhance student learning and patient care with immersive environments. In one moment, a small room on UCF’s Rehabilitation Innovation Center can transform into an entire hospital floor, and in the next moment, it'll render a 3-D model of the human body with graduate students zooming in on different parts of the brain, all thanks to UCF’s new Blended Learning Interactive Simulation Suite, or BLISS.
› Tampa VA helps train Ukrainian doctors to treat combat wounds [WUSF]
Doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs are helping Ukrainian medical specialists improve how they care for people wounded in war as the Russian invasion of their country continues. A delegation from Ukraine visited the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa last week for training, and plans are in the works to bring another group to VA facilities in San Antonio, Texas, this spring.
› Health Care Bonuses and more help AdventHealth, Orlando Health fill in-demand nursing positions [Orlando Business Journal]
Orlando's hospitals are positioning themselves on the best way to attract new nurses in a competitive hiring environment amid a statewide nursing shortage. Nonprofits AdventHealth, Orlando Health and the for-profit Nashville, Tennessee-based HCA Healthcare Inc. (NYSE: HCA) are among those acute care systems with dozens of online job listings tied to nursing roles. That hiring comes as the region and state is expected to have a major shortfall of trained nurses in the long term.
› Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville announces plans to expand campus [Jacksonville Daily Record]
Mayo Clinic in Florida, which opened 37 years ago in South Jacksonville, is adding a 210-acre North Campus to its San Pablo Road property. That expands its 392-acre medical center property to 602 acres. A master development plan dated Oct. 27, 2022, shows that Mayo still has land available for development at its Main Campus at 4500 San Pablo Road S., north of Butler Boulevard.