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State Ponders Workers' Comp Rate Cut

October 10, 2019 - 8:00am
David Altmaier and Bill Herrle

Florida’s insurance commissioner is considering whether to sign off on an average 5.4 percent reduction in workers’ compensation insurance rates despite an ongoing debate about the effects of a state Supreme Court ruling that allowed higher attorney fees in workers’ compensation legal battles.

A 2016 ruling, in a case known as Castellanos v. Next Door Company, tossed out a restrictive cap on what attorneys for injured workers could be paid.

Many Health Facilities Choose to Evacuate Patients as Dorian Closes in

September 3, 2019 - 7:00am
Baptist Medical Center Beaches moved patients away from the water

Florida officials said Monday that 72 nursing homes and assisted living facilities and seven hospitals on the state’s East Coast had been evacuated in preparation for Hurricane Dorian.

Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew told reporters that only four of the long-term care facilities were evacuated because they didn’t have emergency generators and access to backup power as required by law.

Hepatitis A Continues to Worsen in Florida

August 21, 2019 - 6:00am

The number of hepatitis A cases in Florida continues to climb, according to a Florida Department of Health report that showed the state has had 2,266 reported cases this year.

The News Service of Florida has analyzed the Department of Health data posted over the last four weeks. The analysis found that the six counties with the highest number of reported hepatitis A cases between July 23 and August 17 are:

  • Volusia: 34

  • Brevard : 23

  • Manatee: 21

  • Pinellas: 21

  • Pasco: 19

  • Lee: 16

Florida Economy Slowing: 2020-21 Estimated Revenue Reduced by $416.1 Million

August 15, 2019 - 6:00am
Amy Baker, Florida's chief economist

Heading into a critical election year, Florida legislators may have to tighten spending because of a combination of a slowing economy and reverberations of financial decisions.

State economists on Wednesday drew up new estimates that predict the state will take in about $867 million less in revenue over two years than earlier anticipated. The new forecast was drawn up on the same day that the stock market tanked amid worries that a recession could be looming.

New Opioid Law Causes Confusion for Doctors

August 6, 2019 - 7:15am

Florida lawmakers passed far-reaching health care legislation this year, from trying to import drugs from other countries to regulating plastic-surgery centers.

But it’s another seemingly simple bill meant to prevent opioid abuse that is causing widespread confusion among physicians trying to figure out how to follow the law.

Staff members of the Florida Board of Medicine and physician organizations have been fielding questions from doctors about the broadly written bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis in June.

Trump Administration Advances Drug Importation Plan

August 1, 2019 - 9:00am

In a move that could help Gov. Ron DeSantis carry out an ambitious effort to cut drug prices, President Donald Trump’s administration announced Wednesday a plan intended to make it easier for states like Florida to bring in prescription drugs from Canada and other countries.

Although the proposal has some restrictions, it could still be a victory for the Republican governor, a strong ally of the president.

Economists Grapple with Medicaid Expansion

July 31, 2019 - 8:15am

State economists are struggling to come up with estimates of how much it would cost the state and how it would affect Florida’s economy if voters approve a far-reaching constitutional amendment that calls for expanding Medicaid.

Organizers, frustrated by the refusal of the Republican-controlled Legislature to back Medicaid expansion, have been gathering petition signatures to try to force a public vote on the issue.

Florida Blue to Provide Claims Information

June 20, 2019 - 7:30am
Florida Blue, Jacksonville

In a major turnaround, one of Florida’s largest health insurers is poised to provide 60 million insurance claims to a statewide database designed to help people shop for health care.

Jacksonville-based Florida Blue agreed to submit three years of claims data that will show what the company paid hospitals and health care providers, said company spokeswoman Toni Woods.

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.

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