Florida Gov. Rick Scott is expected to announce Monday morning that he is (shock) running for the U.S. Senate. And Florida Democrats are (shock) going after the Republican's health-care record, including his on-again, off-again support for Medicaid expansion.
Democrats, including state Sen. Annette Taddeo, criticized the governor Friday on what they called the “third anniversary” of Scott’s decision to resume his opposition to Medicaid expansion. Taddeo, a Miami Democrat, said Scott could not be “trusted” and “will say anything to get elected.” She said he campaigns as a moderate but reverts to conservative positions once he is in power. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee earlier this week launched a website called SelfServingScott.com that also highlighted Scott’s changing positions on Medicaid expansion.
The governor in 2013 announced that he would support an expansion as allowed under the federal health-care overhaul pushed by President Barack Obama. Scott, who campaigned in 2010 in staunch opposition to Obamacare, cited his mother’s death as a reason for his change of heart. Scott reiterated his support to expand Medicaid access while stumping for re-election in 2014.
Months later, though, Scott dove headfirst into a fierce legislative fight over whether the state should expand Medicaid, adamantly opposing the move, once again flipping on the expansion issue.
Meanwhile, another Scott administration Medicaid policy decision has come under fire recently, this time from health-care advocates who worry that a push to trim Medicaid retroactive eligibility will hurt seniors and people with disabilities who rely on Medicaid. The administration estimates the move will impact 39,000 people. But critics, including hospital representatives, claim that number is too low and have requested public records on the data used to reach the estimate. The Agency for Health Care Administration said this week it would provide the data but had not done so as of press time for this newsletter. More here
CALLED IT I pointed out in last week's newsletter that the governor's last-ditch effort to repeal the certificate-of-need program before he leaves Tallahassee was in trouble. This week, Frank Kruppenbacher, a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, announced that he was withdrawing a proposal (P54) that would have allowed new hospitals to circumvent CON requirements in any counties that house hospitals with higher-than-average hospital-acquired infection rates. More here
State Surgeon General Celeste Philip, the secretary of the Department of Health, has been busy this week issuing emergency orders relating to the suspension, restriction and reinstatements of health-care provider licenses and certifications.
Philip issued an an emergency order restricting the license of Raquel Castro Skidmore, M.D., license # ACN 244.
Philip issued orders suspending the licenses of Fred Joseph Turner, Jr., M.D., License # ME 59799; Yvette Alicea, R.N., License # RN 9413854; and Stephanie D. Hatcher, L.P.N., License # PN 5211232.
She also issued orders suspending the certifications of Sophia M. Brown, C.N.A., Certificate # CNA 180683, and Chiquita L. McGee, C.N.A., Certificate # CNA 21331.
Philip also issued an emergency order lifting the restriction of Erika Leigh Johnson, M.D., license No. ME 124467.
The number of influenza cases in the state dropped in Week 13 (which ended last Saturday), continuing a recent trend. But flu levels remained higher than at this time in previous seasons, indicating flu season isn’t over yet, according to the Florida Department of Health. The report also shows the state had one new confirmed influenza-related pediatric death in Week 13, bringing to seven the total number of such deaths. More here
Speaking of the flu, members of the Florida Board of Pharmacy Legislative Committee criticized lawmakers this week for not pasing a measure that would have allowed pharmacists to test for influenza. Board members exchanged stories about costly bills their family members incurred after undergoing flu tests at emergency departments. More here
The Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology proposes amending rule 64B20-4.003 to update language regarding issues such as on-the-job training. More here
The Agency for Health Care Administration proposes amending rule 59G-4.028 regarding behavioral-health assessment services. More here
The Department of Health Division of Environmental Health proposes amending rules 64E-3.002 and 64E-3.0034 to include current practice standards for radiologic technologists issued last year by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists. Rule 64E-3.0034, F.A.C., is also being amended to recognize the Nuclear Medicine Technology Certification Board’s Computed Tomography certification as one that can be used to obtain CT certification by endorsement in Florida. More here
The Agency for Health Care Administration has revised Medicaid reimbursements for vagus nerve stimulation, making ambulatory surgical centers eligible for reimbursement. More here
Baptist South is seeking an emergency variance of rules requiring a sump pump, which the provider contends would create significant economic or financial hardship. Comments may be filed with Michelle Comingore, Division of Hotels and Restaurants, Bureau of Elevator Safety, 2601 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee, FL, 32399-1013 (VW 2018-052). A copy of the petition for variance or waiver may be obtained by contacting Comingore.
--- The Constitution Revision Commission will consider a dozen ballot proposals when it meets on April 16, including a proposal (PCP 2004) that combines a ban on oil and gas drilling in state waters with a ban on vaping in the workplace. The proposal would require 22 votes from the 37-member commission to go on the Nov. 6 ballot. The commission’s Style and Drafting Committee this week finalized a list of 12 ballot proposals that incorporate 24 potential changes to the Florida Constitution. All of the proposals were initially endorsed by the commission. More here
--- The governor signed a bill last week that resolved a case involving a Panama City farmer who had mounted a constitutional challenge to a 2017 law that included criteria for awarding a potentially lucrative medical-marijuana license to black farmers. More here
--- Attorney General Pam Bondi said this week Florida plans to file a lawsuit against drug companies because of the opioid epidemic that has led to overdose deaths across the state. More here
--- A six bed Opa-locka assisted living facility has been fined $500 after it failed to notify the state that an 84-year-old resident wandered off before eventually being returned by police in 2016. More here
Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Center for Children and Families' blog "Say Aaah." More here
WORTH HEARING: Yours truly was interviewed by WUSF reporter Julio Ochoa on the 2018 legislative session and some of the new health- care policy that emerged. Listen in on the conversation here
9 a.m. The Board of Nursing will hold a conference call to consider cases where probable cause has previously been found. Number: 1-888-670-3525. Code: 990 808 6106.
8:30 a.m. Meeting of the Dementia Cure and Care Initiative Task Force for the city of Orlando. Pine Hills Community Center, 6408 Jennings Road, Building B, Orlando. Call-in number: 1-888-670-3525, participant code 649 992 7145.
Noon. The Board of Optometry will hold a call to discuss House Bill 7059. A copy of the agenda may be obtained by contacting http://floridasoptometry.gov/. Call-in number: 1-888-670-3525, participant code 7342425515.
12:30 p.m. The Board of Osteopathic Medicine will hold a conference call. Number: 1-888-670-3525, participant code 6607485549. A copy of the agenda may be obtained by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling (850)245-4161 or on the board website. More here
10:30 a.m. The group SAVE will hold a protest about a division of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation being excluded from negotiations on a new Medicaid contract. Agency for Health Care Administration field office, 8333 N.W. 53rd St., Suite 300, Doral.
1 p.m.The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Advisory Committee will discuss Florida’s Newborn Screening Hearing Program. For information, contact Jessica Meyer at Jessica.Meyer@FLHealth.gov or (850)245-4673. A copy of the agenda may be obtained by emailing Jessica.Meyer@FLHealth.gov or can be found here
Noon. The Florida Department of Health, Forensic Interview Protocol Task Force will discuss a mandate that the Division of Children's Medical Services convene a task force to develop a standardized protocol for forensic interviewing of children suspected of having been abused. Number: 1-888-670-3525, code 702-170-0355.
9 a.m. The Florida Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use will hold a meeting on rules related to medical marijuana, incuding 64-4.020 Low-THC and Medical Marijuana Packaging and Labeling; 64-4.021 Low-THC and Medical Marijuana Solvent Based Extraction and Related Products; 64-4.022 Medical Marijuana Treatment Center Advertising and Signage; and 64-4.024 Medical Marijuana Treatment Center Waste Management. Betty Easley Conference Center 4075 Esplanade Way, Conference Room 148, Tallahassee.