U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Advocates Decry Delays In Release Of Migrant Kids From Florida Facility

Jun 3, 2019
Homestead immigration facility
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Immigrant advocates say the U.S. government is allowing migrant children at a Florida facility to languish in "prison-like conditions" after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border instead of releasing them promptly to family as required by federal rules.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

Florida has been awarded $61.7 million to help fight opioid addiction, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday. 

Adventist Health System will pay more than $2 million dollars to settle allegations it used leftover chemotherapy drugs.

Federal officials say more than 1.6 million Floridians have signed up for Obamacare or had their coverage automatically renewed since last November.

The University of Florida is involved in a federal settlement to repay nearly $20 million to the United States government.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement Friday afternoon in allegations that the university "improperly charged the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for salary and administrative costs on hundreds of federal grants." According to the release, the investigation into improper use of funds started in 2010 for a period covering 2005 to 2010.

HealthCare.gov

About 9.9 million people have signed up and paid for health insurance under President Barack Obama's health care law, the administration said Tuesday, a slight dip from a previous count but on track toward the administration's year-end goal of 9.1 million.

Broward Health

North Broward Hospital District's Broward Health has offered nearly $70 million to settle allegations the taxpayer-supported health district committed Medicare and Medicaid fraud, the Florida Bulldog reports.

Flickr Creative Commons

Thousands of seniors in the Tampa Bay area may be helping train the next generation of health professionals.

House, Senate Agree On LIP Total

Jun 8, 2015
Sammy Mack / Health News Florida

After months of federal negotiations and proposals floated by Gov. Rick Scott, the House and the Senate, lawmakers on Saturday reached tentative agreements on how much money should flow to hospitals and other medical providers that care for large numbers of low-income patients.

Groups Offer Feds Support in LIP Lawsuit

May 19, 2015
Florida CHAIN

Pointing to their knowledge about Medicaid-related issues, three Florida groups Monday asked a judge to allow them to file a brief on behalf of the federal government in a lawsuit that centers on the state's Low Income Pool program.

The request, filed in federal court in Pensacola, came from the League of Women Voters of Florida, Florida Legal Services Inc. and the Florida Community Health Action Information Network, which is commonly known as Florida CHAIN.

    

Congressional Hearing Planned On LIP Showdown

May 13, 2015
Politico

A congressional committee will hold a hearing on Gov. Rick Scott's showdown with the federal government over health care funding, but that meeting could come too late to help close a potential $2.2 billion hole in the state budget.

Scott announced Tuesday that U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., will have the House Energy & Commerce Committee look into the governor's allegations that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is trying to illegally coerce the state into accepting Medicaid expansion.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

Federal health officials have awarded more than $5 million in grants to 10 health centers in Florida to serve newly insured patients under the Affordable Care Act.

The grants are expected to serve about 46,000 patients, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The “Access Point” grants are going to:

Banyan Community Health Center, Inc.                 Miami                   $703,602

Scott Heads To Washington To Talk LIP Funding

May 5, 2015

Setting off for Washington, D.C., to meet with federal officials over health-care money at the heart of a state budget crisis, Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday flatly ruled out a Senate plan to extend private insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of lower-income Floridians.

Scott, who once supported Medicaid expansion, said last month that he now opposes a Senate proposal to use expansion dollars for the private insurance plan. But his remarks to reporters on what he would tell federal officials about the Senate initiative marked his strongest rejection yet.

Florida Hospital

 The Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services claims that Florida Hospital owes the federal government $11.5 million in Medicare overpayments made between January of 2011 and June of 2012, according to the Orlando Sentinel

Florida Senate

 

 Amid growing budget discord that could derail this year's session of the Florida Legislature, Senate President Andy Gardiner dispatched two top Republican senators to Washington to talk with federal officials about more than $1 billion in health care grants the state could soon lose.

Gardiner, an Orlando Republican who works for a hospital, took the unusual step even as top officials with the administration of Gov. Rick Scott are directly negotiating with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Obama administration.

Federal health officials say most Floridians who have signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act chose a plan that comes with financial assistance.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday that 93 percent of Floridians selected a plan with financial assistance.

As of mid-January, some 1.2 million Florida residents had signed up or were automatically re-enrolled for coverage.

Nationwide, that figure is 9.5 million consumers.

Former Orlando Health patients may have to help repay the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after a federal audit discovered the hospital overbilled Medicare by $1.45 million, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The University of South Florida is being asked to repay $6.5 million in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant money it claimed, The Tampa Tribune reports.

Changes in the funding formula for Medicaid that will take many millions of dollars away from large safety-net hospitals such as Jackson Memorial and Tampa General are getting lawmakers' attention, now that it's clear the federal government isn't going to pull the state's fat out of the fire.

Another $4.4 million is heading to Florida health centers to help them sign up residents for health insurance.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, announced that 46 community health centers will receive the federal grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Centers are hiring staff for roles including outreach workers, certified application specialists and navigators to help low-income residents apply for health insurance and possible subsidies through Healthcare.gov.

While most healthcare facilities come across as clinically sterile, a facility in Miami has uniformed doormen, replete with white gloves, escorting patients into a lobby resembling a luxury hotel, where patients are offered refreshments while waiting to see the doctor.  As the Miami Herald reports, this approach sets Leon Medical Centers’ Healthy Living Facility apart from others in the managed-care Medicare world (paywall alert).   

Spanish Language Marketplace Site Up, But Not Running

Oct 25, 2013
CuidadoDeSalud.gov

Some Florida Latinos are waiting on the Affordable Care Act’s Spanish language website to become available so they can sign up for coverage. 

The Spanish-language version of HealthCare.gov, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, was supposed to be up and running this past Monday, but instead, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is directing users to its Spanish call center.

Altamonte Springs resident Miriam Lopez said she heard it’s better to apply online, so she’s been reluctant to enroll by phone.

Federal agents raided West Palm Beach eye doctor Salomon Melgen’s office for the second time this year, the Palm Beach Post reports. For four years, Melgen has been in a dispute with the federal government over allegations he was overpaid millions of dollars by Medicare. His attorney says Tuesday’s raid is payback for a lawsuit the doctor filed against U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

The University of Miami Hospital must refund $3.7 million to the federal government following an audit of the hospital’s Medicare billing practices. The hospital is contesting the amount, saying the auditors extrapolated from too few claims, according to the Miami Herald.  With the federal audit, 200 inpatient claims from April 2009 to December 2010 were randomly selected to review, totalling $2.9 million in payments.

(Updated) Saying "Florida has done some pretty unbelievable things," top federal health official Kathleen Sebelius told Jacksonville leaders on Monday she hopes they will get the word out that help for the uninsured is on the way.

PolitiFact.com

According to PolitiFact, the IRS is not the main enforcer of the Affordable Care Act, as the National Republican Congressional Committee claimed in a recent video. Health policy experts note the IRS will deal with subsidies and penalties, but other agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Labor, play a large role in ACA enforcement. 

AP

 In a further sign that the health-care law is a political football, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio says he won’t vote for a federal budget unless it removes all funds for the Affordable Care Act, as the Miami Herald reports. A Democrat who chairs the Senate budget committee retorted that failure to pass the budget would strip health care from 25 million Americans, presumably a reference to Medicare.

Ten Florida health insurers have filed documents indicating they want to compete for shoppers on the Affordable Care Act marketplace when it opens Oct. 1, state records indicate.  However, it is not clear whether all of them will follow through or receive federal approval.

The list has not been released by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) nor the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

While Floridians may enjoy a longer life expectancy, it is not without a down side, the Orlando Sentinel reports.  A report out by America’s Health Rankings shows that Floridians also have more health issues.

Although the Sunshine State ranked 30th overall, the first-time report noted some worrisome trends.

For instance, Florida came in last for its high percentage of seniors with more than one chronic health condition, and next to last in chronic drinking.

Tampa Bay Times

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says researchers didn’t tell parents that their premature newborns would be at risk in a study involving the effects of oxygen levels, the Miami Herald reports. HHS says if parents knew the actual risks involved, they most likely wouldn’t have participated. The University of Miami was one of 23 universities that participated in the study.