Diagnosis for 11.29.23 Checking the pulse of Florida health care news and policy

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It's time again to check the pulse — of Florida's health care policy and politics.

Welcome back to Diagnosis, a vertical that focuses on the crossroads of health care policy and politics.

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— Budgetary matters —

Gov. Ron DeSantis may spend a lot of time on the campaign trail, but we also expect him to roll out his budget for 2024 in the next several days.

Senate committees have already scheduled Dec. 6 to hear presentations from DeSantis’ budget staff in several areas, including the Governor’s budget recommendations on health care spending and key agencies such as the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and the Department of Health (DOH).

DeSantis must submit his spending plan to state legislators at least 30 days before the scheduled Jan. 9 opening day of Session. The timeline laid out by the Senate suggests the Governor will release it between now and next Tuesday.

Session is approaching, time for Florida to pay its tab.

This will be the sixth set of budget recommendations outlined by DeSantis, but unlike the last several years, he has yet to give a lot of hints or spelled out many of his top priorities ahead of time. Given the state’s continued budget surplus, DeSantis has suggested he will probably ask for a fresh round of tax cuts. Still, he needs to outline many other significant spending items.

One item of interest will be the state’s Medicaid budget and how much state money will need to be set aside for the program funded jointly with the federal government. State economists have projected the caseload will continue to drop from a peak during the COVID-19 emergency as state officials continue to trim the rolls even as outside groups and even the federal government raise alarm bells at the rate.

Medicaid enrollment during the calendar year has dropped from 5.77 million at the end of April to 5.10 million at the end of October. Economists had previously projected that Medicaid enrollment would dip to about 5.02 million by the end of June 2024.

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— Grand jury update —

Nearly a year ago, at DeSantis’ urging, the Florida Supreme Court agreed to impanel a statewide grand jury to look at pharmaceutical companies and others involved in developing and distributing COVID-19 vaccines.

But so far, the grand jury has issued no reports or given any updates on its work and, at some point, the clock will tick down.

Statewide grand juries are appointed for one year. However, the court can extend the term by six months if petitioned by a majority of the statewide grand jury or by the legal adviser to the statewide grand jury. A grand jury looking at immigration issues, for example, asked for and was granted an extension until April 2024.

The clock is ticking for a grand jury to look into vaccine production.

The one-year mark, however, is not tied to the court’s order but to when the grand jury itself is seated, according to a representative for the Supreme Court. That date appears to have been later in the spring of 2023.

A key question remains whether the grand jury will produce findings that DeSantis can tout on the presidential campaign trail. The Iowa caucuses are Jan. 15, and the DeSantis campaign is counting on a solid showing for momentum in his challenge to former President Donald Trump.

DeSantis, who early on promoted the use of vaccines only to express skepticism on their effectiveness later, filed a petition in December 2022 asking the court to bless the creation of a grand jury to look into the safety and efficacy of vaccines, adding that “an investigation is warranted to determine whether the pharmaceutical industry has engaged in fraudulent practices.”

During his presidential bid, DeSantis faulted Trump for sticking by top medical adviser Anthony Fauci. So, any adverse findings from the grand jury might aid the Governor’s criticisms of Trump.

The COVID-19 vaccine grand jury is currently presided over by the chief judge of Hillsborough County, with jurors selected from five different circuits in central and southwest Florida.

Achtung, Weida —

According to social media sites, AHCA Secretary Jason Weida has been in Germany as part of the state’s trade mission, attending a health technology trade show and meeting with German health care officials and physicians.

Weida led Florida’s mission to the @MEDICATradeFair in Germany. ABHI, an acronym for the Association of British HealthTech Industries, sponsored the four-day trade show.

Achtung, baby.

Meanwhile, the state Commerce Department posted on X that dozens of Florida medical companies displayed “cutting-edge, high-quality medical products and services.”

Weida also met with the Bavarian State Ministry of Health, which oversees the health care system for Bavaria’s 13 million residents.

Weida posted on X that the meeting “focused on hospital regulation, pharmaceutical pricing, and demographic changes and challenges.”

He also met with Klinikum Rechts der Isar CEO and medical director Dr. Martin Siess.

“Among other things, we discussed cancer treatment and innovation in the field of nuclear medicine with the head of the hospital’s department, Dr. Wolfgang Weber. I look forward to continuing our discussion of cancer innovation and connecting them with thought leaders in Florida,” Weida wrote on X.

Germany has universal health coverage provided by Statutory Health Insurance (SHI) and private health insurance (PHI). SHI is mandatory unless a person earns enough to opt out and purchase the PHI. Approximately 88% of the population receives primary coverage through SHI and 11% have PHI, according to The CommonWealth Fund.

— Naloxone confusion —

A Senate health panel next week is expected to advance legislation establishing June 6 as Naloxone Awareness Day. SB 66 creates in statute “Victoria’s Law,” which encourages the DOH to hold events to “raise awareness of the dangers of opioid overdose and the availability and safe use of naloxone as an effective way to rapidly reverse the effects of opioid overdose.”

But there is a battle of sorts going on between providers and the state over which naloxone product providers and the public can access: Narcan, a nasal spray typically administered in 4-milligram (mg) doses, and Kloxxado, administered in 8 mg doses and injectable forms of naloxone.

Florida will soon recognize Naloxone Awareness Day.

Law enforcement, through the HEROS Program, has been using other naloxone products like Kloxxado to reverse overdoses for two years, shortly after it earned Food and Drug Administration approval.

Some substance abuse providers have been pushing for access to the more powerful Kloxxado, arguing that as fentanyl becomes more powerful, so too are larger doses of naloxone.

DCF sent correspondence to providers earlier this month that specifies additional requirements for orders of higher doses (5 mg and 8 mg) of naloxone.

DCF Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health’s Sumer Bonner told providers in an email that high dose formulations “will require an additional non-patient specific standing order to be signed for each product individually and there is an attestation of training for the 5 mg prefilled injectable.”

This contradicts a statewide standing order issued by Florida’s Surgeon General, allowing all forms of naloxone without these extra hurdles.

She attached two studies recommending administering a lower dose of naloxone to reduce potential adverse effects, which can be life-threatening.

“Please take the time to review this information and education prior to placing the order,” she wrote in the email.

According to Florida’s plan for SOR funding, which DCF administers, the state will prioritize widespread community saturation for any FDA-approved naloxone nasal spray. Previously, the plan only allowed for the 4 mg variant.

— RULES —

AHCA proposes amending Rule 59A-36.006 regarding admission and continued residency criteria for assisted living facilities related to communicable diseases. More here.

AHCA proposes amending Rule 59A-36.011 regarding training requirements for assisted living facility staff providing specialized Alzheimer’s services. More here.

AHCA proposes amending Rule 59A-35.060, F.S., to move all licensure application forms into one rule and to require nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home health agencies, and homemaker/companion service providers to be revised to include a direct care workforce survey. More here.

The Board of Medicine (BOM) proposes to repeal Rule 64B8-1.007 regarding approved forms of anesthesia. More here.

The BOM proposes amending Rule 64B8-1.002 regarding its operations to delete a provision that allows compensating Board members for attending continuing medical education classes. More here.

The Board of Chiropractic Medicine proposes amending Rule 64B2-13.004 to update continuing education requirements. More here.

— Bills of interest —

Here is a list of some healthcare-related bills filed in the last two weeks.

SB 402 by Sen. Clay YarbroughDeclarations of a public health emergency: Providing that the administration of vaccines is not within the meaning of the terms “treat,” “treated,” or “treatment” as they relate to public health emergencies; authorizing an individual to refuse examination, testing, or treatment under a State Health Officer’s order during a public health emergency by submitting a written refusal to the State Health Officer; deleting the State Health Officer’s authority to use any means necessary to treat an individual under certain circumstances. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

Clay Yarbrough does not want ‘vaccines’ to be included in the state’s definition of ‘treatment.’

SB 442 by Sen. Lauren BookDamages Recoverable in Wrongful Death Actions: Citing this act as the “Keith Davis Family Protection Act,” removing a provision that prohibits adult children and parents of adult children from recovering certain damages in medical negligence suits, etc. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

SB 436 by Sen. Erin GrallPregnancy and Parenting Resources Website: Requiring the Department of Health, in consultation with the Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Health Care Administration, to maintain a website that provides information and links to particular pregnancy and parenting resources; requiring each department and the agency to provide a clear and conspicuous link to the website on their respective websites; requiring the Department of Health to contract with a third-party to develop the website by a specified date, etc. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

SB 412 by Sen. Ileana GarciaAdult day care centers: Exempting certain adult day care services from specific established or negotiated Medicaid reimbursement rates; providing for reimbursement of adult day care services based on a fee schedule established under a tiered payment system; requiring adult daycare center operators to complete a nine-hour continuing education course each year; providing that classroom hours spent teaching an approved course or lecturing at an approved seminar may be counted toward fulfilling an operator’s continuing education requirements, etc. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

SB 410 by Garcia — Protection from surgical smoke: Defining the terms “smoke evacuation system” and “surgical smoke”; requiring hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to, by a specified date, adopt and implement policies requiring the use of smoke evacuation systems during specific surgical procedures, etc. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

SB 432 by Sen. Corey SimonCardiac and medical emergencies on school grounds: Citing this act as the “HeartCharged Act”; requiring each public school to have at least one automated external defibrillator on school grounds; encouraging each charter school and private school to have at least one defibrillator on school grounds and to comply with specified requirements; providing immunity from liability for school employees and students under the Good Samaritan and the Cardiac Arrest Survival Acts; requiring the Commissioner of Education, at his or her sole discretion, to create and disseminate specified protocols and plans relating to the use of defibrillators in schools, etc. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

SB 446 by Simon — Supported decision-making authority: Requiring a circuit court to consider particular needs and abilities of a person with a developmental disability when determining whether to appoint a guardian advocate; defining the term “supported decision-making agreement”; prohibiting such agreement from acting as a durable power of attorney; requiring a petition to determine the incapacity of a person to include specified information relating to the alleged incapacitated person’s use of assistance, etc. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

SB 444 by Sen. Jay Collins Pharmacy: Authorizing registered pharmacy technicians to dispense medicinal drugs under certain circumstances; defining the terms “supervising pharmacy” and “telepharmacy”; providing requirements for remote-site pharmacies; exempting registered pharmacists serving as prescription department managers for remote-site pharmacies from certain practice limitations, etc. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

SB 488 by Sen. Tina Polsky Medicaid coverage for prescribed foods for disease treatment and prevention: Requiring the AHCA, with the DOH, to establish the Food is Medicine Pilot Program to provide Medicaid coverage for purchases and deliveries of prescribed health-promoting foods under certain circumstances; requiring the agency, with the department, to seek federal approval and waivers for the pilot program; requiring allocation of a portion of the pilot program implementation budget to a specified organization for the establishment of a defined center, etc. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

SB 476 by Grall — Civil liability: Revising the definition of the term “survivors” to include the parents of an unborn child; authorizing parents of an unborn child to recover certain damages, etc. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

SB 472: by Sen. Jason Brodeur Sovereign immunity: Increasing the statutory limits on liability for tort claims against the state and its agencies and subdivisions; prohibiting an insurance policy from conditioning payment of benefits on the enactment of a claim bill; specifying that the limitations in effect on the date a final judgment is entered apply to that claim, etc. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

SB 464 by Grall — Motor vehicle insurance: Repealing provisions that comprise the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law; revising the motor vehicle insurance coverages that an applicant must show to register certain vehicles with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles; revising minimum liability coverage requirements for motor vehicle owners or operators; revising allowed methods for meeting such requirements; revising financial responsibility requirements for owners or lessees of for-hire passenger vehicles; revising the minimum net worth requirements to qualify certain persons as self-insurers, etc. Effective date: Upon becoming law with some provisions taking effect July 1, 2025.

SB 504 by Sen. Linda StewartSale of a deceased human body’s biometric data: Providing disciplinary grounds for the sale of a dead human body’s biometric data under certain circumstances; providing disciplinary grounds for a funeral establishment that cannot provide a legally authorized person with specified disclosures regarding the sale of a deceased human body’s biometric data or cannot provide a legally authorized person with the option to opt out of such a sale, etc. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

SB 516 by Garcia — Emergency refills of insulin and insulin-related supplies or equipment: Authorizing pharmacists to dispense an emergency refill of a standard unit of dispensing or a 30-day supply of insulin and insulin-related supplies or equipment a specified number of times per year, etc. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

SB 584 by Sen. Gayle HarrellHealth care services: Prohibiting a health plan from declining to take part in a particular process; requiring a health plan to pay a claimant the amount provided in the Agency for Health Care Administration’s final order within a specified timeframe; providing a financial penalty for failure to comply; requiring the agency to notify the appropriate licensure or certification entity under certain circumstances, etc. Effective date: Jan. 1, 2025.

SB 568 by Sen. Ed HooperCoverage for out-of-network ground ambulance emergency services: Requiring health insurers and health maintenance organizations, respectively, to reimburse out-of-network ambulance service providers at specified rates for providing emergency services; prohibiting cost-sharing responsibilities paid for out-of-network ambulance service provider from exceeding those of an in-network ambulance service provider for covered services; requiring health insurers and health maintenance organizations, respectively, to remit payment for covered services if such transportation was requested by a first responder or a health care professional, etc. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

House bills

HB 415 by Rep. Berny Jacques — Pregnancy and Parenting Resources Website: Requires DOH, in consultation with DCF & AHCA, to maintain a website that provides pregnancy & parenting resources & provide clear & conspicuous links to such website on the official website of respective departments & agency; requires DOH to contract with third-party to develop such a website by a specified date. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

Berny Jacques seeks clarity in pregnancy & parenting resources.

HB 409 by Rep. Lavon Bracy Davis Temporary cash assistance eligibility: Removes the prohibition of awarding benefits to the person with a felony drug conviction for trafficking; removes specified requirements for a person convicted of drug felony to receive benefits. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

HB 441 by Rep. Taylor Michael YarkoskyCardiac and medical emergencies on school grounds: Citing this act as the “HeartCharged Act”; requiring each public school to have at least one automated external defibrillator on school grounds; encouraging each charter school and private school to have at least one defibrillator on school grounds and to comply with specified requirements; providing immunity from liability for school employees and students under the Good Samaritan Act and the Cardiac Arrest Survival Act; requiring the Commissioner of Education, at his or her sole discretion, to create and disseminate specified protocols and plans relating to the use of defibrillators in schools, etc. Effective Date: July 1, 2024

HB 459 by Rep. Joel Rudman Declarations of a public health emergency: Provides that administration of vaccines is not included within meaning of terms “treat,” “treated,” or “treatment” as they relate to public health emergencies; revises provisions related to expiration & renewal of declarations of public health emergency; authorizes individual to refuse examination, testing, or treatment under State Health Officer’s order during public health emergency by submitting written refusal to State Health Officer; requires due process on a case-by-case basis to allow actions that affect entire groups or communities. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

HB 493 by Rep. Spencer Roach Pharmacy: Authorizes registered pharmacy technicians to dispense medicinal drugs under certain circumstances; defines terms “supervising pharmacy” and “telepharmacy”; provides requirements for remote-site pharmacies; exempts registered pharmacists serving as prescription department managers for remote-site pharmacies from certain practice limitations. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

HB 491 by Rep. Gonzalez PittmanAccess to appropriate medications for severe mental illness: Requires AHCA to approve drug products for Medicaid recipients for treatment of serious mental illness without step-therapy prior authorization; directs agency to include the rate impact of this act in specific program rates that become effective on specified date. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

HB 499 by Rep. Lauren Melo Congenital cytomegalovirus screening: Requires certain hospitals to administer congenital cytomegalovirus screenings on newborns admitted to hospital under specified circumstances; provides coverage under Medicaid program for screenings and any medically necessary follow-up reevaluations; requires newborns diagnosed with congenital cytomegalovirus be referred to primary care physician for medical management, treatment, & follow-up services. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

HB 571 by Bruce Hadley AntoneFlorida medical school scholarship and grant program: Establishes Florida Medical School Scholarship & Grant Program within Florida Education Fund; provides requirements for program and fund. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

HB 547 by Rep. Thad Altman Dentistry: Deletes role of the Board of Dentistry in the administration of licensure examination for dentists and requirement for the Board to establish an examination fee; revises requirements for licensure as dentist; deletes time limitation on validity of licensure examination results; deletes requirement applicants for licensure engage in full-time practice of dentistry inside geographic boundaries of this state for one year after licensure; revises continuing education requirements for dentists. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

HB 561 by Rep. Daryl Campbel End-of-life options: Establishes procedure to allow an adult who has mental capacity and who has a terminal condition and who makes a fully informed decision that they no longer want to live to get medication to end their life; provides requirements for health care providers, health care facilities and DOH. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

HB 567 by Rep. Dotie JosephMedicaid expansion through a Medicaid buy-in program: Requires AHCA to establish and implement Medicaid buy-in program for specified individuals with disabilities; provides requirements for the program; requires the agency to seek by specified date federal waiver approval or submit any state plan amendments necessary to implement the program. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

HB 569 by Rep. Fiona McFarlandSuits Against the Government: Abolishes common-law doctrine of home venue privilege regarding action against state; increases statutory limits on liability for tort claims against the state and its agencies and subdivisions; authorizes subdivision of state to settle claims over statutory limit without further action by Legislature regardless of insurance coverage limits; prohibits insurance policy from conditioning payment of benefits on enactment of claim bill; specifies limitations in effect on date final judgment is entered apply to that claim; requires DFS to adjust limitations on tort liability every year after the specified date; revises a period within which specific claims must be present to certain entities; revises exceptions relating to instituting actions on tort claims against the state or one of its agencies or subdivisions; revises the period after which failure of certain entities to make the final disposition of claim shall be deemed a final denial of claim; revises limit on certain attorney fees; revises statute of limitations for tort claims against state or one of its agencies or subdivisions & exceptions thereto. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

HB 653 by Rep. Daniel Antonio Alvarez Motor vehicle insurance: Repeals provisions relating to the application of Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law; revises the requirement for proof of security on a motor vehicle; revises motor vehicle insurance coverages that the applicant must show to register vehicles with DHSMV; revises garage liability insurance requirements for motor vehicle dealer license applicants; revises minimum liability coverage requirements for motor vehicle owners or operators; revises legal liability of uninsured motorist coverage insurer; revises required coverages for motor vehicle insurance policy; requires that motor vehicle insurance policies provide death benefits provides appropriation. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

HB 657 by Rep. Johanna Lopez Documentation status for health care services: Provides licensed not-for-profit corporations and organizations are not required to request citizenship, residency, alien, or immigration status of any patient. Effective date: July 1, 2024.

HB 659 by Rep. Shane AbbottHealth plans: Prohibits health plans from declining to take part in filed claims; provides defaults against health plans for failure to respond; requires health plans to pay providers amounts provided in claim dispute orders under certain circumstances; requires prescription drug benefits-ID cards and health insurance and HMO ID cards to include specified information. Effective date: Jan. 1, 2025.

— LOBBYISTS —

David Childs, Kyle Langan, Andrew Liebert, Chad Revis, Eileen Stuart, The Vogel Group: CareSource Mission

Mike Moore, The Southern Group: Advent Health

Timothy Stapleton, Gunster Yoakley & Stewart: Concierge Home Care

— ETC —

— Hospitals’ total labor costs for patient care increased significantly in 2020 and 2021 — the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the national level, labor costs per adjusted hospital discharge grew by 18% during this period, ranging from zero to 31% across states, according to a new study published by Mathematica. More here.

Good health is getting more expensive.

— AdventHealth Orlando is asking AHCA to waive the requirements of hospital licensure rules regarding registered nurses seeking to deliver care through a new technology platform consistent with the acute care at home model. The petition was assigned case number 2023016983. More here.

— Can a nursing home have on its premises a collection bin maintained by a retail pharmacy where controlled substances can be dropped off for destruction? Classic Residence Management Limited Partnership d/b/a Vi has filed a petition with the Florida Board of Pharmacy seeking an advisory opinion whether the arrangement violates a rule that requires those medications to be securely stored by the nursing home until destroyed. The rule bans unused controlled substances from being returned to the nursing home’s pharmacy.

— ROSTER —

Allison Baker has been named vice president of development for Nicklaus Children’s Health System and president of the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation. In this role, Baker leads a team of development professionals who work with donors and supporters to raise funds that support Nicklaus Children’s mission of delivering world-class pediatric care to children in South Florida, throughout the region and across the globe.

Allison Baker is getting a major promotion at the Nicklaus Children’s Health System.

HCA Florida Healthcare JFK and JFK North Hospital are pleased to introduce new Board members Dr. Tunjarnika L. Coleman-Ferrell, Dr. Fabiana DesRosiers and Veronica Vidal. Coleman-Ferrell, EdD., is the vice president of academic affairs at Palm Beach State College. DesRosiers recently served as the Chief Executive Officer of The Center for Family Services of Palm Beach County and is now the Chief Executive Officer of the Hispanic Human Resources Council in West Palm Beach. Vidal is the Founder and CEO of Custom Cleaning and Management Services (CCMS), a cleaning contractor headquartered in Palm Beach County.

— ICYMI —

In case you missed them, here is a recap of other critical health care policy stories covered in Florida Politics this past week.

Claims against the state: The oft-criticized claims bill process could be upended under legislation proposed by a pair of Republican legislators. Sen. Jason Brodeur and Rep. Fiona McFarland have filed bills that would likely eliminate the need for many claims bills by allowing local governments and state agencies to pay off legal settlements exceeding the state’s sovereign immunity limits without getting legislative approval.

Fiona McFarland is working to make changes in how the state handles claim bills.

Drown proof: Two Florida legislators, pointing to statistics that show that drowning is the leading cause of death among young children in the Sunshine State, want to create a new voucher program that will offer swimming lessons to low-income families.

We want to know: The AHCA on Monday published a proposed amendment to its licensure rule that would require licensure application forms for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, home health agencies, and homemaker/companion service providers to include data on pay, benefit, vacancy and turnover rates for registered nurses and direct care workers, a term that includes certified nursing assistants (CNAs), home health aides, and personal care assistants.

More pharmacy changes? Republican Sen. Tom Wright and Democratic Rep. Lindsay Cross have filed legislation requiring copay help payments to count toward patients’ health insurance deductibles.

— FOR YOUR RADAR —

Aside from coverage by Florida Politics, these stories are worth your time.

What would a DeSantis presidency look like for health care?” via Romy Ellenbogen and Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times — His record as Florida’s Governor suggests a presidency that would prioritize individual freedom over public health, but his push for such freedoms ends for abortion and treatment for gender dysphoria. In Florida, he has pushed restrictions on those medical services. Critics contend those were the wrong priorities in a state where 7.4% of children had no medical insurance as of 2022. Since then, over 250,000 Florida children have lost their health insurance through Medicaid. DeSantis as President would likely downplay the importance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is an advisory body, and instead might require states to invest more in public health infrastructure, said Jay Wolfson, a public health professor at the University of South Florida.

Will Ron DeSantis’ health care stance play out nationwide?

Joe Biden campaign attacks Donald Trump’s Obamacare threat with help from Nancy Pelosi” via Skylar Woodhouse and Gregory Korte of Bloomberg — Biden’s campaign seized on Trump’s call to overturn Obamacare, using it to cast the Republican as a threat to Americans’ health benefits ahead of a likely rematch with the President. “The former President reminded us he is hellbent on destroying the Affordable Care Act,” former House Speaker Pelosi said on a call organized by Biden’s campaign. “When he says he’s going after our health care, believe him because he’s done it before.” Another campaign surrogate, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, joined Pelosi, as the two criticized Trump for his latest threat to repeal Obamacare if he wins a second term.

Florida leaves $800 million on the table for disability services, advocates say” via Jeffrey Schweers of the Orlando Sentinel — Florida officials responsible for providing services to people with lifelong disabilities have allowed nearly $800 million in state and federal matching funds to fall through the cracks in the past two years. The advocates say that’s enough to give the 23,000 people on a waiting list maintained by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities the critical services they need to live with their disorders, which include autism and cerebral palsy. The money could be used for medical treatment, therapy, housing, and to help people maintain independence and stay out of institutions. The 34,000 people who receive those services — a number that has changed little in two decades — face cuts each year to the services that help them live fuller lives.

All Children’s seeks retrial in Maya case, claims juror misconduct” via Christopher O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times — Nearly two weeks after a jury awarded $261 million in damages against Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, its attorneys on Wednesday filed for a retrial in a motion that accused the jury foreman of violating strict conduct rules during the trial. In a motion filed in Sarasota County, hospital attorneys claimed that during the trial, juror Paul Lengyel shared information about the case with his wife, who then shared it on social media platforms. Yolanda Lengyel attended at least one day of the trial in Venice, meaning she could have heard attorney discussions with the judge outside of the jury’s presence, the motion states.

Local Jacksonville hospital safety grades: 7 area hospitals get A’s, four others get C’s” via Anne Maxwell of News4Jax — The grades, published twice a year by nonprofit health care watchdog The Leapfrog Group, are based on data about infections, surgery and safety problems, staff and how hospitals work to prevent errors. Out of the 14 hospitals in the local area, seven received A’s, including major Jacksonville hospitals UF Health, Mayo Clinic, and Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville. Baptist Health received A’s for all four of their local hospitals. “It’s quite an honor,” said Baptist Health President and CEO Michael Mayo. “What I think about is that every patient, their family, and their loved ones entrust their lives to us every day when their lives are interrupted by illness and injury. And we don’t take that lightly.”

— PENCIL IT IN —

Thursday

Happy birthday to Reps. Bob Rommel and Yvonne Hayes Hinson.

9 a.m. — The Department of Children and Families, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program Office meets. Virtual meeting link here.

2:45 p.m. — State leaders discuss the top health care issues impacting the state of Florida. Michael Nachef of Lee Health leads the discussion with panelists, including state Sen. Brodeur, Florida Hospital Association President and CEO Mary Mayhew, Dr. Eduardo Alfonso, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, and Dr. Robert Keiser, Keiser University. The event is at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, 200 Ponte Vedra Blvd, Ponte Vedra.

Saturday

Happy birthday to Sen. Debbie Mayfield.

Debbie Mayfield celebrates another trip around the sun.

Sunday

Happy birthday to Sen. Keith Perry.

Monday

3:30 p.m. — The House Select Committee on Health Innovation meets. Room 17, House Office Building.

Tuesday

11:30 a.m. — House Speaker Paul Renner is the featured speaker at the Capital Tiger Bay Club. Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, 505 W. Pensacola St., Tallahassee. Register here.

2 p.m. — The Senate Health Policy Committee meets and will consider a pair of bills by Sen. Brodeur (SB 66 and SB 185) and will hear a presentation on Florida’s Community Partnership Schools program. Room 412, Knott Building.

4 p.m. — The House Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee meets and will consider HB 0073 regarding supported decision-making authority and HB 185 regarding dependent children. Room 102, House Office Building.

Wednesday

2 p.m. — The Senate Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services meets and will hear presentations on the Governor’s proposed fiscal year 2024-2025 budget recommendations for social services and Medicaid. Room 412, Knott Building.

___

Diagnosis is written by Christine Jordan Sexton and edited by Drew Wilson and Phil Ammann.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.



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