Florida commission urges sweeping mental health reforms | Florida Trend Healthcare – Florida Trend

Florida commission urges sweeping mental health reforms

A state commission is urging Florida to enact sweeping reforms to its patchwork mental health care system. The recommendations come from the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Commission, which was created in 2021 after a Parkland grand jury called Florida’s mental health system “a mess.” The state Department of Children and Family Affairs provided the commission’s interim findings to the Tampa Bay Times. The group must submit a final report to Governor Ron DeSantis and state legislative leaders by Sept. 1. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida patients won’t benefit from FDA change allowing pharmacies to offer abortion pills

Most abortions in the United States are medically induced through a two-pill regimen that requires a prescription but does not involve surgery. For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration will now allow retail pharmacies to fill such prescriptions. Walgreens and CVS, the two largest drug chains in the country, said they will seek FDA certification to begin filling prescriptions for abortion pills. But Laura Goodhue, with Planned Parenthood of Florida, says the change won’t impact everyone. [Source: Health News Florida]

Florida reports another surge in COVID-19 cases as deaths surpass 84,000

A new report from the state Department of Health shows that the number of COVID-19 cases is still on the rise. During the week of Dec. 30, the state had 31,633 reported cases, up from 23,939 cases reported the previous week. As another comparison, the state recorded 12,365 cases during the week that began Oct. 28, according to data from the Department of Health. Additionally, more than 84,000 Florida residents have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began in 2020, a total increase of nearly 1,000 over the past month, the report said. [Source: WUSF]

Emergency room or urgent care? Deciding where to go is complicated.

Landing in the wrong environment can lead to unexpected higher medical bills and increased frustration. Patients often don’t understand what kind of services different facilities provide or the level of care they need, and an uninformed choice is “a recipe for poor outcomes,” said Caitlin Donovan, senior director of the National Patient Advocate Foundation, a non-profit rights patient association. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Florida’s peak flu season comes in February, which means there’s still time to get vaccinated

Florida is about three months away from its official flu season, but it’s still about four months away. And pharmacist and co-founder of Healthy Men, Inc, Salvatore Giorgianni says the peak season hasn’t arrived yet. “What we are seeing is a fairly typical pattern. A rise, a drop and another bump at the start of the year. Peak flu season is really traditionally, and I think it will be like this again this year, early February,” Giorgianni says. Giorgianni says anyone who wants to get vaccinated shouldn’t wait. It takes a couple of weeks for a flu shot to become fully effective. [Source: WFSU]


› DeSantis announces plan to crack down on drug subsidy managers
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is proposing legislation to crack down on pharmaceutical benefit managers, also known as PBMs. The governor made the announcement in The Villages on Thursday. PBMs are the drug intermediaries, the companies that administer insurers’ drug plans, negotiate discounts and rebates from drug manufacturers, and work with pharmacies.

› Florida Tech opens a medical school in Brevard County
For the first time, Brevard County will have a medical school. Under an affiliation agreement between Florida Tech and Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine in New Mexico, a new four-year medical school will open in Melbourne. “Florida’s need for more doctors here is growing with population growth. The fact that we will now have a medical school in this part of the state helps ease that pressure,” said Robert King, interim president of Florida Tech.

› Miami-based AvMed health plan purchased from Sentara Healthcare of Virginia
AvMed, a nonprofit health plan with more than 200,000 customers in Florida, has been acquired by Virginia-based Sentara Healthcare, the companies announced. The deal closed on December 31st. No terms have been announced. Miami-based AvMed, which provides commercial group, individual and Medicare Advantage coverage, will continue operations as usual “with minimal impact to health plan members, providers and employees,” according to a news release.

› Jacksonville University Expands Accelerated Nursing Program with Mayo Clinic
Jacksonville University is expanding its accelerated nursing degree program with the addition of a new clinical partner: the Mayo Clinic. The accelerated program offers a path to a nursing degree in one year. JU said the program aims to meet the growing need for nurses in Florida and across the United States. The expansion will double the number of students in the program at JU’s Arlington campus.

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