Telehealth in Florida: Where We Are and What is Next

/ Categories: Research, Health Care

Telehealth is being practiced in Florida every day pursuant to the standards of practice for telehealth adopted by the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine. These standards require a Florida license and provide that the standards of care shall remain the same regardless of whether healthcare services are provided in person or by telehealth. There is no shortage of licensed physicians willing to provide telehealth in Florida. Florida statute 456.47, enacted in 2019, is the governing language for the practice of telehealth in Florida. Currently, health insurance companies are not required to pay or reimburse telehealth services, they do so on a voluntary basis pursuant to Florida statutes

An Independent Analysis of the Medicaid Fiscal Accountability Regulation (MFAR) and its Impacts on Florida’s Medicaid Program

/ Categories: Research, Health Care

Florida TaxWatch has undertaken an independent review to assess the impacts of certain key changes proposed by MFAR that would have a far-reaching and dramatic impact on Florida’s Medicaid program, Florida’s safety-net providers, the 3.8 million Medicaid-eligible Floridians, and Florida taxpayers. Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present this summary report and its recommendations, and we look forward to a continued discussion with Florida lawmakers and policymakers.

Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) Report 2019

/ Categories: Research, Health Care

As of 2010, there were 2.5 million Floridians in their 50s, 2.1 million Floridians in their 60s, 1.4 million Floridians in their 70s and almost 1 million Floridians in their 80s and above. There is every reason to believe that these numbers will continue to rise. Recent estimates predict that Florida’s 65 and older population will represent 24.1 percent of Florida’s overall population by the year 2030. As Florida’s population continues to age, the elderly population will require vastly different and more costly forms of health care, such as long-term care for chronic conditions, more frequent examinations and follow-ups, and services and care for cognitive and mental impairments.

An Analysis of Point-of-Care Testing & Treatment for Influenza, Influenza-Like Illness, and Group A Streptococcus

/ Categories: Research, Health Care

Point-of-care tests are simple medical tests that can be conducted at or near the point of care. Point-of-care tests bring the test immediately and conveniently to the patient. Legislation has been proposed that would permit pharmacists to diagnose and treat influenza and strep at community pharmacies, using point-of-care tests that have approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. TaxWatch undertakes this independent analysis of point-of-care testing and treatment of influenza and strep at the at the request of Representative Rene Plasencia, the sponsor of the proposed House legislation.

Keeping Workers' Compensation Premiums Low Through Independent Medical Review

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Health Care, Insurance, Cost Savings

In this research report, TaxWatch looks at the success of the IMR program in California in an attempt to answer the question “what if IMR was in use in Florida?” TaxWatch is pleased to present policymakers and stakeholders with an independent analysis of a program we think may be helpful in keeping the costs of workers’ compensation insurance down while helping to ensure that injured workers receive appropriate treatment.

Evaluating Hospice Certificate of Need (CON) in Florida

/ Categories: Research, Health Care

In Florida, the expansion of hospice programs and other health care facilities and services is guided by the “Certificate of Need” (“CON”) process. Since the CON approval requires that providers enroll all eligible individuals seeking care within their assigned service area, hospices in Florida see relatively high utilization rates. In this report,  Florida TaxWatch recommends the CON process be retained, and that hospice regulators continue to identify ways that Florida hospice providers can better control hospice costs, improve the quality of hospice care, and direct investments into medically-needy areas.

Assessing CRC Proposal 88

/ Categories: Research, Health Care, Insurance, Taxpayer Guide
The Constitution Revision Commission is considering a proposal (P88) that, if approved by the voters, would create a new section in the Constitution to establish a “bill of rights” that expands litigation for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Florida. Florida TaxWatch has undertaken an analysis of P88 to guide Commission members in their deliberations regarding P88 and its committee substitute (CS/P88), and to educate the voters should the Commission recommend CS/P88 be placed on the ballot for the November 2018 General Election.

Budget Watch - 2016-17 Legislative Budget Requests

Florida’s state government agencies have requested $77.835 billion in funding from the Legislature for FY2016-17, which is $1.2 billion (1.6 percent) more than these agencies are expected to spend in the current year. The total request is made up of $29.481 billion in general revenue (GR) and $48.354 billion in trust funds. The GR request is an increase of $854.5 million (3.0 percent). The latest revenue estimates forecast $31.653 billion in GR will be available for FY2016-17 meaning that the agency requests would leave GR reserves of $2 billion.

Stemming Florida's Physician Shortage

/ Categories: Research, Health Care
Despite advances in delivery methods, new medical schools, and its emergence as a global medical destination, Florida’s healthcare system is facing a significant challenge, as the demand for doctors in the state of Florida is outpacing the current supply. This issue affects not only Florida’s healthcare system, it can also have repercussions on the economy.

Budget Watch - House and Senate Proposed Budgets

A more than $4 billion dollar difference between the House and Senate budget proposals is detailed in this annual analysis of the initial budgets, which shows that the largest point of contention between the chambers is in funding the health and human services portion of the budget.

Time for Telehealth

/ Categories: Research, Health Care, Cost Savings
Florida lawmakers need to act quickly to connect patients with higher quality, timely care by using telehealth to bring the state's health policies into the 21st century, according to recommendations from this report, which notes that policymakers should immediately pursue incremental adoption of telehealth policies during the 2015 session.

Medical Tourism in Florida

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Health Care, Tourism
Already a capital of global tourism, Florida has an opportunity to bring even more tourists and more revenue to the state by investing in medical tourism, according to this report, which finds that patients visiting Florida from around the United States and the world for planned medical procedures could have a significant impact on the state economy and while improving residents' health care options.

Florida's Aging Prisoner Problem

/ Categories: Research, Health Care, Corrections/Judicial, Cost Savings
Florida's prison population is rapidly increasing despite declining crime rates, and this report recommends options to prevent increasing costs from overwhelming taxpayers. The report warns that the steadily growing elderly prison population in state facilities will require more costly medical care, resulting in additional budget concerns for an already struggling Department of Corrections.

Budget Watch - Legislation Affecting Florida Revenues

All the bills passed by the 2014 Legislature have now been evaluated by the state's revenue estimators, resulting in a revenue reduction of more than $550 in the current fiscal year. Local revenues will be reduced by $41.5 million and $37.0 million. Despite the declining revenue estimates, the reduction still leaves $1.65 billion in general revenue reserves for the fiscal year, according to the July Budget Watch.

Florida's Looming Alzheimers Crisis

/ Categories: Research, Health Care
The number of Floridians affected with Alzheimers is expected to grow by nearly 50 percent in the next decade, putting a strain on Florida's health care system and increasing costs for taxpayers, according to this report from Florida TaxWatch. The report calls for additional research into Alzheimers to prepare for the states aging population and to seek a viable preventative treatment.

Statement: TaxWatch Stands Behind APRN Report

/ Categories: Research, Health Care
Florida TaxWatch released a statement from Robert E. Weissert, Esq., Chief Research Officer and General Counsel, standing firmly behind a recent briefing outlining the debate between Florida's health care practitioners. The statement addresses concerns, already refuted in the report, raised by a special interest group opposed to removing practice restrictions on the 15,000 Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) in Florida.

Diagnosing the Debate: APRN Scope of Practice

/ Categories: Research, Health Care
Allowing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) to practice to the fullest extent of their training and experience would increase access to quality health care for Floridians while saving the state up to $339 million, according to this Briefing. To facilitate such practice, Florida's practice and regulation laws must be revisited to remove barriers to nurse practitioner-provided care.

Critical Connections to Care

/ Categories: Research, Economic Development, Health Care
Statewide expansion of telemedicine could save Florida more than $1 billion annually, according to this TaxWatch report. The report highlights the importance of removing barriers and including incentives for encouraging the use of telemedicine through the creation of a solid policy foundation.
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