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Saturday, May 9, 2020

Political week in review: Will Florida reopen slowly enough?

Posted By on Sat, May 9, 2020 at 12:04 PM

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Gov. Ron DeSantis has maintained that Florida is embarking on a slow, step-by-step reopening of the economy. He has cautioned, however, that the next steps will be guided by whether signs continue to point to continued success in battling the coronavirus pandemic.

But ... what if that effort is complicated by Floridians eager to go back to the way things were?

Case in point: New data shows that Floridians were among those flocking to Georgia after that state lifted some of its restrictions and reopened hair salons and barber shops. The Washington Post reported earlier this week that University of Maryland researchers concluded that an extra 62,000 out-of-state visitors were arriving in Georgia each day. Researchers said the biggest jump – 17 percent – came from neighboring Florida.

News outlets in Florida also have pointed out that there was confusion among some business owners after DeSantis launched “phase one” of his reopening plan. For example, some barber shops re-opened, even though they weren't included in the governor's initial plan. Friday afternoon, DeSantis announced on Twitter that barber shops, hair salons and nail spas could reopen on Monday.

There’s been a constant back-and-forth over whether Florida is moving too fast or moving too slow, and whether there is enough testing to truly monitor the situation.

The governor appears to be taking the position that a major resurgence in cases can be avoided by keeping strict requirements in place for long-term care facilities, as other places begin to reopen and people begin moving around again.

Stay tuned.

RULES

The Agency for Health Care Administration issued Emergency Rule 59AER20-1, requiring hospitals to screen long-term care residents for COVID-19 prior to transfer. More here. 

The Board of Hearing Aid Specialists proposes amending Rule 64B6-2.003, to incorporate a revised licensure application. More here

The Board of Hearing Aid Specialists proposes amending Rule 64B6-3.001, to incorporate a revised licensure application. More here.

The Board of Hearing Aid Specialists proposes amending Rule  64B6-8.002, to incorporate a revised licensure application. More here. 

The Board of Hearing Aid Specialists proposes amending Rule64B6-8.003 regarding trainee programs, to incorporate the revised application into the rule. More here

CERTIFICATE OF NEED

AHCA received two additional letters of intent from entities interested in building nursing homes. River City Health Acquisitions, LLC, has shown an interest in building a 37-bed facility in Duval County and Palm Beach SNF Operations has expressed an interest in building a new 150-bed facility in Palm Beach County. More here.

ETC.

—Florida Department of Health county-specific COVID-19 surveillance data here.

—The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fewer pediatric vaccinations have been administered during the COVID-19 pandemic. More here.

—Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Center for Children and Families "Say Ahhh!" blog  here.

WEEK IN REVIEW

—That's a big number ... Florida's economic collapse due to the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to cause ballooning Medicaid enrollment that might blow a $1 billion hole in the state budget, according to projections by the agency that oversees the health-care safety net program. More here.

—Opacity, not transparency ... How are Medicaid MCOs faring in COVID-19 pandemic? It’s hard to tell. More here.

—We knew it ... Patients in Florida had symptoms as early as January. More here. 

—Now you see it ... Without explanation, Florida puts early symptom data back online. More here.

—There’s an app for that ... DOH releases smartphone app to track symptoms, issue alerts. More here

—Disagreement ... State’s COVID-19 policy an 'unmitigated disaster' for residents of elder homes. More here

—5Q with Mayhew ... The Agency for Health Care Administration, which is led by Secretary Mary Mayhew, is usually best known for its oversight of the massive Medicaid program. But its role regulating hospitals and nursing homes has made Mayhew an integral part of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ team leading the state’s response to COVID-19, which is particularly dangerous to seniors and people with underlying health conditions. More here.

—Medical examiners' COVID files ... An unredacted document on medical examiner deaths from COVID-19 in Florida reveals the trauma, suffering and sadness of lives lost in the coronavirus pandemic. More here.

—Sham ... Top medical examiner calls FDLE files a sham. More here.

—Dear CMS ... The head of a Florida hospital association on Monday sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asking that it reconsider the distribution of tens of billions of dollars in health-care funding stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. More here. 

—Coverage denial upheld ... The state employees’ health-insurance program did not err when it denied or a type of prostate-cancer treatment sought by a retiree, a state administrative judge ruled. More here

—Transfers required ... With nearly 40 percent of Florida's COVID-19 deaths involving long term care residents, state health officials are mandating that nursing homes transfer residents with COVID-19 if the homes cannot properly isolate or care for them. More here

—They’re here ... After a six-week ban on elective procedures, many Florida health-care providers are back in business. More here.

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