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Health Care 'Shared Savings' off to a Slow Start

June 18, 2019 - 7:00am

If people are willing to shop for cars and homes to save money, they’d be willing to shop around for their health care, right?

If early results of “shared savings” programs in Florida’s state-employee health insurance program are any indication, the answer actually could be no.

The early results show that despite efforts to publicize the programs, they have had little impact on the $2.6 billion health-care program for current and former state employees.

Board of Medicine Signs off on Medical Marijuana Changes

June 11, 2019 - 7:00am

While some members expressed concern about patients smoking medical marijuana, the Florida Board of Medicine has approved forms for doctors to use in ordering smokable pot.

The board Friday agreed to change its medical-marijuana rules so that physicians can certify that the benefits of smoking marijuana for medical use outweigh the risks. It also agreed to change mandatory informed-consent forms that physicians and patients must fill out together.

DeSantis Wants Rivkees Despite Outside Contract, Sexual Harassment Complaints

June 5, 2019 - 1:00pm
Scott Rivkees

When physician Scott Rivkees takes over as secretary of the state Department of Health, he will continue to have an outside contract with the University of Florida.

Though there still is no official start date, Gov. Ron DeSantis remains committed to bringing on Rivkees to run the Department of Health, despite controversy that has included disclosures about a past sexual-harassment investigation.

Where Have All the Doctors Gone?

May 25, 2019 - 7:15am

Like a rapidly expanding virus, the dearth of physicians at the Department of Health appears to be spreading.

There is no doctor running the health department. There's a shortfall of doctors at the state’s licensing boards. And it’s becoming a problem.

Secretary's Chair Still Empty at Department of Health

May 16, 2019 - 7:00am

Florida is grappling with an outbreak of hepatitis A but does not have a top health officer at the agency charged with ensuring the public’s health.

More than four months after Gov. Ron DeSantis took office, the Florida Department of Health does not have a secretary. DeSantis’ nominee --- Scott Rivkees --- continues to serve as chairman of the University of Florida College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and as physician in chief of UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, according to UF Health spokeswoman Melanie Ross.

Drug Importation Fight Moves to Washington

May 8, 2019 - 9:00am

The battle over whether to allow state programs and Floridians to have access to prescription drugs imported from Canada has already been waged in the Legislature, but it is now shifting from the halls of Tallahassee to Washington, D.C.

Major Health Bills Headed to DeSantis

April 30, 2019 - 9:30am
Jose Oliva

After more than two decades of debate about the issue, the Florida Legislature on Monday approved eliminating the “certificate of need” regulatory program for hospitals and passed a high-profile measure aimed at importing prescription drugs from Canada.

A priority for House Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, the House voted 81-34 to pass a bill (HB 21) to eliminate the certificate-of-need program. The vote came hours after the Senate passed the bill in a 23-17 vote, as Oliva took major steps toward his priority of revamping the health-care system.

Certificates of Need about to Become History

April 27, 2019 - 7:30am
Gayle Harrell

A session-long drama over a top priority of House Speaker Jose Oliva is coming to an end after the Senate on Friday prepared to pass a far-reaching bill that would eliminate a controversial hospital regulatory program.

With little discussion, the Senate took up a House certificate-of-need bill (HB 21) and modified it to include what Senate sponsor Gayle Harrell said was an agreement between the chambers.

Hurricane Season Blowing in Fast, but Generators Still Lacking

April 18, 2019 - 9:00am
After Irma: The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills

Just weeks before another hurricane season, large numbers of Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the storm-battered state continue to struggle to meet requirements that they have backup power generator to keep facilities cool.

State records show that 89 long-term care facilities have told Florida officials in the last month that they won’t have generators by June 1 --- which is when the six-month hurricane season kicks off. Some forecasters have predicted it could be a normal hurricane season resulting in as many as two to four major hurricanes.

Senate Won't Act this Year on Surgeon General

April 4, 2019 - 9:00am
Scott Rivkees

Citing a past sexual harassment investigation at the University of Florida, Senate President Bill Galvano said Wednesday the Senate will not vote during this year’s legislative session on confirming the state’s new surgeon general.

The move could put physician Scott Rivkees, named surgeon general Monday by Gov. Ron DeSantis, in limbo for months.

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