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Florida's problems with mental health system flagged decades ago

Florida’s problems with mental health system flagged decades ago

Thousands of people struggle to access mental health services in Florida. The treatment system is disjointed and complex. These problems and more were identified in a scathing report released earlier this year by the Commission on Mental Health and Substance Abuse, a 19-person panel that Florida lawmakers created to push for reforms of the state’s patchwork of behavioral health services for uninsured people and low-income families. What’s most troubling about the group’s findings? They aren’t new. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Transgender health care ban now in effect in Florida

The transgender health care ban is now in effect in Florida. Under the new state rule, minors who have gender dysphoria can no longer make changes to their body to transition. The ban comes after a vote back in November from the Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine as Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed to have a limit of access to transgender hormone treatments and procedures for minors in the state of Florida. [Source: WPBF]

DeSantis says COVID vaccines will never be required school immunizations in Florida

Federal guidelines recommend that children receive COVID-19 vaccine, but only states can require as a part of school immunizations. Gov. Ron DeSantis says Florida won't be among them as he continues to tout his limited approach to pandemic regulations. At an appearance in Winter Haven on Thursday, DeSantis reiterated his opposition to the federal lockdowns, mask mandates and school closures that he says weren't backed by science. [Source: WMFE]

Four Florida hospitals are named among the nation’s top 50 for heart care

Four Florida health systems have been named to the PINC AI 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals, awarded for providing top-tier heart care. The list includes St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Lee Health’s HealthPark Medical Center in Fort Myers, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville and Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola. The winners delivered better outcomes while operating more efficiently and at a lower cost, based on comparisons between the study winners and a peer group of similar hospitals in the study. [Source: Health News Florida]

Florida health agency stops surgeries at the Bonati Spine Institute

A Pasco County surgical center at the well-known Bonati Spine Institute has been shut down after Florida health care regulators suspended the center’s license. Regulators alleged immediate danger to patients because a “certified surgical technologist” had performed multiple procedures even though he wasn’t licensed as a doctor. The Hudson surgical center knowingly allowed the unnamed employee to conduct such procedures on patients without being licensed as a health care professional by the Florida Department of Health — and despite other staff members raising concerns about his actions. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]


› South Florida dad’s fight against brain cancer includes high-tech treatment, a duet with Tim McGraw, and family time
Mike Hugo, a 37-year-old Wellington resident, has two young daughters, a wife, and a rare form of brain cancer. Hugo spends his days in South Florida writing milestone birthday cards to his daughters, recording a song for their weddings, and benefiting from advancements in medical technology that give him a better quality of life and potentially longer to live. Although Hugo’s cancer is aggressive, he wants to defeat the odds.

› Art Center Sarasota exhibit puts focus on mental health in local Hispanic community
In one of the four exhibits opening March 23, Art Center Sarasota is taking a look through the “Rearview Mirror” to explore issues related to mental health care in the area’s Hispanic community. The showcase features photographs by visual journalist Karen Arango focused on people living with mental health issues and/or a lack of mental healthcare due to their economic situations.

› Tampa clinic’s treatment for ADHD? Play this video game 5 days a week.
How’s this for medicine? Freah Lewis sits on the sofa at her Port Richey home, a tablet in her small hands. On the screen, her avatar rides a small hovercraft over rivers and valleys. She controls the craft’s direction by tilting the tablet left or right. Every few seconds, the 10-year-old earns points by swatting shifting targets on-screen with her thumbs. After about 25 minutes, the craft runs out of fuel, the signal for “game over.” That’s her therapy for the day.

› Orlando pastors spread news of looming Medicaid loss to their communities
The Rev. Sharon Riley is part of a growing number of church leaders who believe their duty to congregants doesn’t stop when they leave the pulpit. Within the last 10 to 15 years, church leaders, particularly in minority communities, have increasingly used parts of their budgets to share health resources and even create dedicated health ministries after observing health inequities, Riley said. Most recently, Riley and other pastors have taken on the responsibility of preparing their congregants for a looming change in Medicaid coverage.