Medicaid offers free transportation for COVID-19 shots
Florida’s Medicaid program will provide free transportation for people enrolled in the program who want to get COVID-19 vaccinations. The Agency for Health Care Administration announced Wednesday that members of Medicaid managed-care plans should let their health plans know they need rides when they are scheduling vaccinations. Medicaid enrollees who aren’t in managed-care plans can call a Medicaid helpline at 1-877-254-1055 to get the names and phone numbers of transportation services. Rides should be scheduled, according to an AHCA memo, at least three days in advance of the vaccination appointments.
DCF secretary resigns; other to Florida leadership posts shuffled
Harris has been serving as interim secretary at the Agency for Health Care Administration, where she has held a series of posts since 2005. Former Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Secretary Mary Mayhew resigned in October to head the Florida Hospital Association. An attorney, Marstiller once worked as the Agency for Health Care Administration’s chief appellate counsel, according to the governor’s office. Jeb Bush, who appointed her interim secretary of the state Department of Management Services in 2002 and as secretary of the Department Business and Professional Regulation in 2005. In a prepared statement Friday, Marstiller said she looks forward to her new position at the Agency for Health Care Administration.
Florida nursing homes facing financial crisis
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Senate Pandemic Committee was updated by the Agency for Health Care Administration and the Florida Health Care Association on the situation at long term care facilities on Thursday. Between 70 and 80% of residents are taking the vaccine, while just 40 percent of staff have been willing to accept it. Emmett Reed, Executive Director of the Florida Health Care Association said a critical issue facing facilities are increased costs from the pandemic compounded with a 15% decline in residents. “If we don’t start to see occupancy increase over the next six or seven months, maybe even less, you’re going to start seeing nursing homes in a very dire situation financially. Ron DeSantis early on in the pandemic like locking down long-term care facilities and requiring a negative test for residents to be returned to nursing homes, saying the actions saved thousands of lives.
COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise in Northeast Florida
CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise in Northeast Florida. At last check, Clay County had roughly 56 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents. News4Jax brought this up in the News 4 Clay County Facebook group on Tuesday and got hundreds of responses. Their resiliency and commitment shown over the past year has not wavered since the first case in Clay County. Additionally, we are working with Clay County officials to hold a community vaccination clinic for residents early next week.
Vaccine arrives at Brooks Rehabilitation in Bartram Crossing
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As of Wednesday, more than 300 long-term care facilities in Florida had received the COVID-19 vaccine. Specifically, 287 nursing homes and 33 assisted living facilities have received it, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration. Geneva Mitchell lives at Brooks Rehabilitation in Bartram Crossing, where on Wednesday the first dose was administered. As of Wednesday, 98% of assisted living facilities had enrolled in a federal program to get the vaccine. Ron DeSantis expects all 67 Florida counties will have the vaccine by the end of the week.
Florida phasing out isolation centers for COVID-19 patients
The state will no longer provide testing to the workers who staff long-term care facilities and it’s beginning to phase out so-called isolation centers, where nursing home and eldercare patients who tested positive for COVID-19 were sent to curb outbreaks at facilities statewide. RELATED: Jacksonville facility caring for COVID-19 patients from Florida’s long-term care facilitiesStarting Friday, the state stopped admitting patients to 18 of 23 isolation centers throughout the state. A News4Jax search of Florida Department of Health records shows that cases in long-term care facilities peaked in July with 5,877 residents and 7,298 employee testing positive. The state ended its contract with the vendor providing testing to long-term care facilities, even as a panel formed by Gov. Lee expressed concerns about how relaxing policies protecting long-term care facilities could impact the health and safety of their residents and the employees who take care of them.
Florida steps back from long-term care policies
The email followed a similar announcement agency Secretary Mary Mayhew made on a regularly scheduled weekly phone call with long-term care industry officials. The decision to eliminate state-supported testing comes after DeSantis said Sept. 1 he was lifting a five-month ban on visitors at long-term care facilities. Curative CEO Fred Turner told The News Service of Florida on Tuesday that testing long-term care staff in Florida facilities has been successful and that staff positivity rates have been reduced from 3 percent to 1 percent. Curative could provide tests for free to uninsured long-term care staff under a pot of money that the federal government made available. “We remain confident in terms of the numbers we are seeing that individuals who are COVID positive in our long-term care facilities can be safely, appropriately supported in those long-term care facilities or in partnership with our hospitals,” Mayhew said.
Mayhew stepping down as Florida AHCA secretary
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew, who has been one of the states key people handling the coronavirus pandemic, is stepping down to take a job with a hospital industry group. Ron DeSantis administration announced Friday that Mayhew will become president and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association, an organization whose members rely heavily on state funding overseen by the Agency for Health Care Administration. Before coming to Florida, Mayhew served as deputy administrator and director of Medicaid at the federal Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, a position she landed after an unsuccessful run for governor in Maine. Mayhew is one of several officials who have announced plans recently to depart AHCA, which administers the Medicaid program but also regulates hospitals, nursing homes, and scores of other health care facilities across the state. Assistant Deputy Secretary for Medicaid Operations Abbie Riddle announced in a July 17 resignation letter that she was leaving effective Aug. 14.
Hospital price website targets opaque' system
Ron DeSantis announced the launch of the Florida Health Price Finder website at a Walmart Supercenter in Pinellas County. The Florida Health Price Finder (https://pricing.floridahealthfinder.gov/#!) Claims data information from Molina Healthcare, Capital Health Plan and Health First Health Plans was not included in what's available for public review, according to AHCA. She said that there wasn't enough time for a contractor, the Health Care Cost Institute, to upload and process all of the companies' claims data. Florida-specific insurers and HMOs had concerns about providing claims data to the Health Care Cost Institute.
Hospitals eye new transplant programs
Largo Medical Center provides world class cardiovascular and transplant services on a daily basis to our community, the centers spokeswoman Tammy Robiconti said in a prepared statement. Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children moved to open a new pediatric heart transplant program in October 2017, but AHCA rejected the plan. The hospital submitted three CON applications in 2016 -- one for a heart transplant program, one for a lung transplant program, and another for a joint heart/lung transplant program. In 2017, Nemours notified state health-care regulators that it was going to submit a CON application for a pediatric liver transplant program. Cleveland Clinic in Weston sought a CON for a bone marrow transplant program in April 2016 but AHCA turned down the proposal.
State acts against nursing home after 8 deaths
Rick Scott described as “unfathomable.”The moratorium on admissions, issued by the state Agency for Health Care Administration, came after The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills was evacuated earlier in the day. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., also called on the federal Department of Health and Human Services to get involved in investigating the deaths. Carballo's statement and the moratorium provided more details about what happened at the Hollywood nursing home leading up to the deaths Wednesday. The statement said the nursing home contacted Florida Power & Light and followed up about when repairs would be made. The Florida Health Care Association, a nursing-home industry group, said Wednesday morning that about 150 of nearly 700 nursing facilities in the state did not have electricity fully restored.