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Here. We. Go.
Forget those lazy, hazy days of summer.
Last week, the state started the arduous process of re-procuring Florida’s massive Medicaid program.
Florida Medicaid officials released what is known as a request for information. The document gave the Medicaid managed care industry some insights into what changes the agency may want to make to Florida’s mandatory Medicaid managed care program in the coming years.
Releasing the request for information is the first step in a re-procurement process, which is expected to begin at the end of the year.
The six-year contracts are worth tens of billions of dollars to the Medicaid managed care plans that submit winning bids. Only Medicaid managed care plans chosen by Florida health care officials are authorized to provide health care services to people who are poor, elderly and disabled. They must enroll in the statewide Medicaid managed medical assistance and Medicaid long-term care programs.
It will be the third time the state has put the Medicaid program out to bid among competing managed care plans.
Thanks for reading; I’m Christine Sexton.
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— Laying down the law —
A new health care law guaranteeing long-term care residents and hospital patients visitation rights just took effect, and the state plans on aggressively enforcing its provisions.
Dubbed the “No Patient Left Alone Act,” created and championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the law requires health care providers to meet minimum visitation rights and post their visitation policies on their websites.
“The Agency takes our role as Florida’s health care regulator seriously and will survey for compliance with these protections as part of the survey process and when a complaint is filed,” Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller said in a prepared statement.
Long-term care providers, including institutions for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, must guarantee visitation rights when a resident requires assistance to eat or drink; is grieving the loss of a friend or family member; is experiencing social distress, seldom speaking, or crying more; is making major medical decisions, or facing end-of-life situations.
Hospitals must guarantee visitation rights when a patient faces end-of-life situations, makes major medical decisions, or is a child. Hospital visitation policies must allow for at least one companion during childbirth, including labor and delivery.
Facilities must submit the policies to the state as part of the initial licensure requirements and renewal applications. The procedures also will be required for any change of ownership applications.
Marstiller, though, made it clear that the agency will also enforce the provisions when it surveys facilities and investigates complaints.
DeSantis signed the law April 6. Facilities had 30 days, or until May 6, to develop and finalize plans and post those plans on their websites.
— Why we love nurses —
In honor of National Nurses Week (which ends Thursday), check out University of South Florida graduate Sergiy Omelayenko’s story about how his plan earlier this year to return home to Ukraine for a family vacation turned into a mission to help his family escape and to provide needed health care and equipment to Ukraine’s health care providers who care for those who are injured.
According to the United Nations, more than 11 million people have escaped Ukraine since Russia invaded Feb. 24.
Though not a volunteer, Omelayenko, a certified registered nurse anesthetist, was able to assist the doctors working on the front lines of care. And he brought hundreds of donated medical supplies and a portable ultrasound machine with him.
Florida Association of Nurse Anesthesiology President-elect Michelle Canale a CRNA, and advanced practice registered nurse who also has a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, taught Omelayenko while he attended the USF anesthesia program. Canale said the education and training he received at the USF anesthesia program “more than equipped (Omelayenko) to step in to help, even in an austere environment. “
Omelayenko told the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology that CRNAs played a “pivotal role in preserving life before, during, and after surgery,” and he thinks the “CRNAs of today can be role models in this conflict as well.”
— Winner winner —
Sixty-seven emergency medical service providers submitted applications to the state Department of Health for Emergency Medical Services matching grants, but just 26 projects received funding, according to the department’s website.
Nineteen grants for urban projects were awarded. The City of Miami Fire Department was awarded the most extensive grant, $263,663. It will be used for automated CPR devices.
Seven grants totaling $488,035 were awarded to expand emergency medical services in rural counties or those with less than 100,000 people and a density of fewer than 100 people per square mile.
Thirteen rural projects totaling $1.162 million were rejected. Among those rejected included a Levy County Board of County Commission request for $270,000 to purchase ventilators.
As of April, there were 306 emergency medical service providers in the state responsible for providing pre-hospital and/or inter-facility advanced life support or basic life support transportation and care to the patient.