Special medical insurance enrollment period could help Floridians vulnerable to losing Medicaid
Floridians who may not find a way to afford medical insurance can now get access to free coverage under a special enrollment period for Reasonably priced Care Act plans. The expanded enrollment comes because the federal health emergency that helped thousands and thousands of individuals gain Medicaid coverage through the pandemic may very well be ending in the approaching months. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched the special enrollment period in March to assist Americans making as much as 150% of the federal poverty level receive free medical insurance coverage. [Source: Health News Florida]
State reaches opioid settlements topping $870 million
With jury selection scheduled to start within the state’s lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors and retailers, Attorney General Ashley Moody reached settlements totaling greater than $870 million with nearly all the defendants within the case. Moody on Wednesday announced that the state signed settlement agreements with CVS Health Corp., CVS Pharmacy Inc., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Allergan PLC. The agreements left Walgreens Co. as the only real defendant in a lawsuit that targeted businesses involved in all features of the opioid industry. Pasco County Circuit Judge Kimberly Sharpe Byrd is scheduled to start jury selection Monday. [Source: News Service of Florida]
Florida is a hotspot for a stubborn lung disease akin to tuberculosis
NTM bacterial infections of the lungs and skin are particularly common in Florida, Hawaii, California and the Gulf states. The bacteria thrive within the soil and water of warm environments. With about 200 different strains, NTM bacteria are related to the kinds that cause ancient diseases like tuberculosis and leprosy. NTM lung disease is often not contagious from individual to individual as TB is — except in individuals with cystic fibrosis. [Source: WUSF]
COVID-19: Here’s what experts say to expect as BA.2 omicron subvariant spreads across Florida
Because the so-called “stealth omicron” coronavirus subvariant fuels one other wave of infections across Florida and the nation, medical examiners expect it to be milder than the surges that preceded it. This week, for the primary time in months, Florida recorded a rise in recent weekly COVID-19 cases, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. But most Americans are vaccinated against the disease or have been infected by the omicron variant. [Source: Palm Beach Post]
On March 11, the Florida Legislature passed a bill that can make it easier for people like White to see their family members in health facilities. Gov. Ron DeSantis is predicted to sign it in the approaching weeks. At the very least eight states have already passed similar laws, and several other others have bills into account. Some laws, like those passed last yr in Recent York and Texas, are specific to long-term care facilities. [Source: NPR]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Tampa Bay hospitals prepared to satisfy federal COVID vaccine requirements
Hospitals had until Wednesday to indicate the federal government that every one of their medical examiners are vaccinated against COVID-19 or have valid exemptions. Those that cannot now face penalties. Most Tampa Bay area hospitals say they’re prepared. The overwhelming majority of staff at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System have received COVID vaccines, in response to spokesperson Kim Savage.
› Medical manufacturer continues layoffs in Lakeland as facility prepares to shut down
Medical equipment manufacturer Stryker is shedding 88 people in the approaching weeks, as a part of its plan to chop about 495 employees because it closes its Lakeland facility in 2023. The layoffs, the second round of planned job cuts, will occur May 31 in response to a letter to the state and city from Stryker’s human resources manager Kathy Taylor.
› Recent VA nursing home in Orlando named for local Medal of Honor recipient
Florida’s director of Veterans’ Affairs announced Tuesday that the brand new state veterans home near Lake Baldwin in northeast Orlando might be named for Army Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn C. Cashe. Medal of Honor recipient Cashe grew up in Oviedo and entered the U.S. Army in 1989. He served within the Gulf War, took part within the 2003 invasion of Iraq and was deployed there again in 2005, in response to the U.S. Army.
› Work begins on second medical tower at UF Health North in Jacksonville
UF Health is starting work on a recent six-story tower with 124 rooms at its UF North campus, a response to increasing medical needs in Northeast Florida. Above the most important floor, two floors might be dedicated to patients who require acute physical therapy. Two additional patient floors might be used for acute care, and one floor might be used primarily for ancillary services.
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