Last Call for 11.30.21 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Hospitals that participate in a federal drug price control program are more profitable and provide less charity care than hospitals that don’t, a new study found.

The 340B program was created under the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992 and is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration. Through the program, hospitals that serve uninsured and low-income patients can purchase drugs at lower prices than non-participants.

According to the Center for Medical Economics and Innovation at the nonpartisan Pacific Research Institute, 340B hospitals — including three in Florida — may be using the program to boost their bottom line.

The Center’s study, “Profiting from 340B,” examined the financials 340B hospitals reported to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the IRS. It found that 340B hospitals were seeing their profits increase 9.1% a year on average, compared to 2.5% growth industrywide.

“The 340B program is supposed to help vulnerable patients receive their medicines, but our study shows that 340B hospitals are more profitable than traditional hospitals while not providing more charitable care,” said Dr. Wayne Winegarden, director of PRI’s Center for Medical Economics and Innovation and the study’s author.

The study included Baptist Hospital of Miami, Orlando Health, and St. Joseph’s Hospital. The study found that Orlando Health recorded the profit increases, the highest executive pay, and the highest increases in executive pay.

“Policymakers must act to reform the 340B program and end the unwarranted subsidies for the large hospitals, while ensuring that vulnerable populations receive the help they need to afford lifesaving medications,” Winegarden concluded.


It’s Giving Tuesday, and Attorney General Ashley Moody wants to help generous Floridians avoid getting scammed.

Moody’s office has prepared an entry in its “Scams At A Glance” series that outlines the most common tactics that bogus charities use to separate donors from their cash and ways to avoid them.

“It’s Giving Tuesday, a great time to donate to help those in need, but before giving, do your research to make sure the organization seeking donations isn’t a sham charity set up to steal your money or your personal information,” she said.

The tip list includes double-checking that a charity is accredited by the Better Business Bureau. And spelling matters — scammers regularly spoof charity names to trick donors into thinking they are giving to a well-known, reputable organization.

Moody’s office also urged Floridians not to hand over their banking information and to research how charities use donor money. Donors can also avoid getting scammed by choosing to donate to a charity before being solicited.

Scams at a Glance: Charity Scams is available in English and Spanish. Other entries in the series, which cover topics ranging from IRS impersonators to price gouging, are available on the Attorney General’s website.

Moody’s tip sheet follows a list of best practices released by Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Monday.

Fried’s recommendations overlapped with Moody’s, but she also urged potential donors to research the background and financials of charities via the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services online “Check-A-Charity” tool.

Evening Reads

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ border mission cost at least $1.6M, an amount that is expected to rise” via Ana Ceballos of the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times

Legislative ball starts rolling on additional lobbying restrictions for former officials” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

As Joe Biden pushes to end the pandemic, omicron’s emergence points to a longer struggle” via Annie Linskey and Tyler Pager of The Washington Post

Senate panel agrees to introduce bill to extend COVID-19 liability protections for health care providers” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics

Scientific understanding of omicron lags behind policy response” via Gabriele Steinhauser of The Wall Street Journal

Congress is getting ready to do what it does best: Procrastinate” via Li Zhou of Vox

Abandoned cemeteries task force adds ‘teeth’ and new category to policy framework” via Daniel Figueroa IV of Florida Politics

When multilevel marketing met Gen Z” via Kaitlyn Tiffany of The Atlantic

Democratic lawmakers pitch Chief Diversity Officer position” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

‘I still carry the scars’: Dozier School survivors share powerful testimony in Senate Committee” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics

Bill requiring social media literacy lessons in public school advances” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics

Jacksonville Area Legal Aid awarded $2.4 million for Eviction Protection Grant Program” via Katherine Lewin of The Florida Times-Union

Next year’s back-to-school sales tax holiday could include Christmas twist” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

Horse troughs, hot tubs and hashtags: Baptism is getting wild” via Ruth Graham of The New York Times

Quote of the Day

“I think it shows that the pandemic is still quite a problem — which is why we are extending it another 14 months — which I think sort of flies in the face of what happened here two weeks ago.” — Sen. Tina Polsky, contrasting a proposed extension to COVID-19 liability protections with the Special Session on vaccine mandates.

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