April 13, 2024
More leprosy cases are popping up in Florida. Why an ancient disease might be endemic

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More leprosy cases are popping up in Florida. Why an ancient disease might be endemic

| 4/2/2024

More leprosy cases are popping up in Florida. Why an ancient disease might be endemic

Leprosy hearkens back centuries, all the way to its reference in the Bible in the Book of Leviticus. People in Florida are talking about leprosy again — and not just in church or Sunday school. More cases are popping up across the country, including Florida, where the disease may have become endemic, experts say. Overall, the number of cases have been decreasing across the nation after a rise in several states over the past decade. More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald.

Concierge care: Some Florida hospitals cash in on a private equity-backed trend

Nonprofit hospitals created largely to serve the poor are adding concierge physician practices, in which patients pay annual membership fees of $2,000 or more for easier access to their doctors. It’s a trend that began decades ago with physician practices. Thousands of doctors have shifted to the concierge model, in which they can increase their income while decreasing their patient load. [Source: Health News Florida]

How many undocumented immigrants getting hospital care in Florida? Data may surprise you

Hospitals statewide provided $566 million in medical services with Miami-Dade County accounting for nearly $232 million of the total, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration. The figures come from a “Hospital Patient Immigration Status” dashboard that the state agency created to track how many undocumented immigrants are getting medical care at Florida hospitals. [Source: Fort Myers News-Press]

See also:
» State criticized over new migrant health care dashboard

5 key takeaways from the Florida Supreme Court’s abortion rulings

In a momentous day for reproductive health in Florida, the state’s Supreme Court on Monday issued opinions that usher in a six-week abortion ban but leave open a way for the state’s voters to protect and expand access to the procedure. Justices ruled 6-1 to uphold Florida’s 15-week abortion ban. The ruling allows a far stricter six-week ban to take effect within 30 days. But, conversely, the court Monday also voted 4-3 to allow a proposed constitutional amendment that protects the right to abortion to go before voters in the November election. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Doctors can do more to help prevent gun violence, USF paper says

Doctors can do more to help prevent gun violence and offer counseling on firearms safety, according to a review by University of South Florida researchers, including a medical student who survived the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. The review, published in February in the journal Advances in Pediatrics, noted that many doctors believe they should talk to patients about firearms, but often don’t because of time constraints, a lack of training and discomfort with the topic. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› Lee Health getting state money for physician training and maternity services
Lee Health saw gains from the state Legislative session that includes increased funding for training new physicians and improved reimbursement for maternal care. “It was a very good session for us,” Dr. Larry Antonucci, president and chief executive officer, said at the board of directors meeting Thursday. The legislative session wrapped up March 8.

› A Medicare fraudster who escaped to Cuba gets his sentence in Miami a decade later
A decade ago, Ariel Nunez Finalet played a supporting role in a Miami-area racket that used local pharmacies to submit about $17 million in phony prescription drug claims to Medicare for patients who got kickbacks for medicine they didn’t need. Nunez and four others in the ring fled to Cuba with millions fleeced from the taxpayer-funded program to avoid a federal indictment and “live like a king,” according to prosecutors. His share of the Medicare ripoff: more than $500,000.

› What’s contributing to the physician shortage in Southwest Florida?
It’s not your imagination. It really is taking longer to see the doctor these days. A physician shortage that began pre-COVID-19 has only gotten worse post-pandemic, said Dr. Zubin Pachori, co-founder and managing partner of Premier Inpatient Partners and vice president of Collier County Medical Society, who calls it “a silent epidemic that’s not talked about enough.”

› More hospital patients are being treated at home as Orlando Health expands program
Orlando Health is expanding its acute Hospital Care at Home program, which uses remote monitoring of patients by health professionals, to Lake and Osceola counties. The Central Florida hospital group began last year offering patients at-home care, which was made possible through a program by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as a way to free bed space during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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