Special health insurance enrollment period could help Floridians at risk of losing Medicaid
Floridians who may not be able to afford health insurance can now access free coverage under a special enrollment period for Affordable Care Act plans. The expanded enrollment comes as the federal health emergency that helped millions gain Medicaid coverage during the pandemic could end in the coming months. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched the Special Enrollment Period in March to help Americans up to 150% of the federal poverty level get free health insurance coverage. [Source: Health News Florida]
State reaches opioid settlements exceeding $870 million
As jury selection was set to begin in the state’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors and retailers, Attorney General Ashley Moody reached settlements totaling more than $870 million with nearly all of the defendants in the case. case. Moody’s announced Wednesday that the state has signed settlement agreements with CVS Health Corp., CVS Pharmacy Inc., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Allergan PLC. The settlements left Walgreens Co. as the sole defendant in a lawsuit that targeted companies involved in all aspects of the opioid industry. Pasco County Circuit Judge Kimberly Sharpe Byrd is due to begin jury selection on Monday. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Florida is a hotspot for a stubborn TB-like lung disease
Bacterial NTM infections of the lungs and skin are especially common in Florida, Hawaii, California, and the Gulf States. Bacteria thrive in soil and water in warm environments. With around 200 different strains, NTM bacteria are related to types that cause ancient diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy. NTM lung disease is usually not contagious from person to person like tuberculosis, except in people with cystic fibrosis. [Source: WUSF]
COVID-19: Here’s what experts expect as the BA.2 omicron subvariant spreads across Florida
As the so-called ‘stealth omicron’ subvariant of the coronavirus fuels another wave of infections across Florida and the country, medical experts expect it to be milder than the surges that have it. have preceded. This week, for the first time in months, Florida saw an increase in new weekly COVID-19 cases, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. But most Americans are vaccinated against the disease or have been infected with the omicron variant. [Source: Palm Beach Post]
On March 11, the Florida Legislature passed a bill that will make it easier for people like White to see their loved ones in healthcare facilities. Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign it in the coming weeks. At least eight states have already passed similar laws, and several more have bills in the pipeline. Some laws, like those passed last year in New York and Texas, are specific to long-term care facilities. [Source: NPR]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Tampa Bay hospitals ready to meet federal COVID vaccine requirements
Hospitals had until Wednesday to show the federal government that all of their health care workers are vaccinated against COVID-19 or have valid exemptions. Those who cannot now face sanctions. Most hospitals in the Tampa Bay area say they are ready. The vast majority of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System staff have received COVID vaccines, according to spokesperson Kim Savage.
› Medical manufacturer continues Lakeland layoffs as facility prepares to close
Medical equipment maker Stryker is laying off 88 people in the coming weeks, as part of its plan to lay off around 495 employees when its Lakeland plant closes in 2023. The layoffs, the second round of layoffs in The planned jobs will take place on May 31, according to a letter to the state and city from Stryker’s director of human resources, Kathy Taylor.
› New VA nursing home in Orlando named for local Medal of Honor recipient
Florida’s Director of Veterans Affairs announced Tuesday that the state’s newest Veterans Home near Lake Baldwin in northeast Orlando will be named after the Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn C. Cashe. The Cashe Medal of Honor recipient grew up in Oviedo and joined the US Army in 1989. He served in the Gulf War, took part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and was deployed there again in 2005, according to the US military.
› Work begins on the second medical tower at UF Health North in Jacksonville
UF Health begins work on a new six-story tower with 124 rooms on its UF North campus, a response to growing medical needs in northeast Florida. Above the ground floor, two floors will be dedicated to patients requiring acute physical therapy. Two additional patient floors will be used for acute care and one floor will be used primarily for ancillary services.
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