Addressing Florida's Escalating Physician Shortage: Strategies and Solutions

/ Categories: Research, Health Care, Releases

This paper addresses the growing issue of physician shortages in Florida. This shortage is primarily driven by an increasing and aging population, coupled with a high rate of physician retirements. The report evaluates the gap between healthcare demand and the supply of physicians, emphasizing the need for more medical students and improved healthcare policies. It discusses strategies like expanding Graduate Medical Education, utilizing telehealth, and leveraging Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to mitigate this shortage. The paper also considers legal and business aspects of practicing medicine in Florida, suggesting improvements to attract and retain healthcare professionals.


 

Florida Medicaid Redetermination

/ Categories: Research, Health Care

There are numerous federal programs administered by states that provide assistance to low-income and needy families. During periods of economic downturn, like the recent COVID-19 pandemic, more Florida families turn to these government programs for assistance. One such safety net program is Medicaid, the joint federal-state health insurance program that provides medical coverage to more than five million low-income, elderly, disabled Floridians and children. Signed into federal law in 1965, Medicaid was created to improve the health of those individuals who might otherwise go without medical care for themselves and their children.

Physician Shortages: Better Utilization of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses in Palliative Medicine Could Provide Relief - Revised

/ Categories: Research, Health Care

A fast-growing and aging U.S. population is posing concerns for physicians’ ability to meet patient demand in the future. Current and future population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate a projected growth of 34.8 million people from 2019 to 2034. An estimated 66% of this growth is attributed to people aged 65 or older. As such, physician shortages are especially concerning in the hospice and palliative care sector. As the population ages, the need for a higher volume of care and more specialized expertise will grow.

Florida's Certificate of Need Program Delivers High Quality Hospice Care

/ Categories: Research, Health Care

The development of hospice programs in Florida is regulated by a Certificate of Need (CON) program. Certificate of Need programs allow the entry of new service providers if the local community has a demonstrated need. Florida is one of 13 states and the District of Columbia that continues to utilize a CON program for the development of hospice services. As Florida’s population increases and ages, it will become more critical to facilitate the growth of hospice services in the way that best serves hospice patients and protects the interests of Florida taxpayers.

Florida TaxWatch Briefing: Extending State Group Insurance to the Florida College System

Case Study: Indian River State College

/ Categories: Research, Taxes, Health Care, Insurance

Florida’s economy is strong. If Florida were a country, its gross domestic product (GDP) would rank 14th among economies worldwide, and its ambitions do not stop there. Florida aims to be within the top ten economies by 2030. By this time, two in three jobs are expected to require specialized training, a credential, or a degree. To achieve its economic goal, Florida will need to continue developing its specialized workforce. With 120,000 students completing Florida College System (FCS) programs each year, the FCS plays a critical role in providing the talent pipeline necessary to reach Florida’s economic goal and does so at a very affordable cost to students and Florida taxpayers alike.

Florida's FY2022-23 State Budget

Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present taxpayers with a guide to the FY2022-23 state budget, which went into effect July 1, 2022. The report includes all appropriations for the new fiscal year— the General Appropriations Act (GAA), “back-of-bill” spending, and general bills—net of the Governor’s vetoes.

2022 Florida Legislative Session Wrap-Up

The 2022 legislative session is over, even if it ran a little long. Florida TaxWatch and the state’s taxpayers had a number of successes. Many bills and budget issues supported by our research and recommendations passed. Our research and input that raised concerns with legislation, helped to improve them or fail passage, including changes to the tax audit system and a very costly approach to improving data privacy

Aging in Place—The Economic and Fiscal Value of Home and Community-Based Services

/ Categories: Research, Health Care

Similar to demographic trends across the U.S., Florida will encounter a rapid increase in the number of elderly residents requiring long-term care and services. Florida’s 65 and older population is anticipated to grow by 52.1 percent over the next two decades from 4.4 to 6.7 million elderly residents. A variety of continuum of care options exists to accommodate the impending rise in long-term healthcare utilization, ranging from nursing homes to home and community-based settings. Not only do these options differ in their public costs and quality outcomes, but the COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the importance of physical risk and exposure to infection when considering what long-term settings exist. Due to the projected growth in Florida’s elderly population over the coming decades, it will be critical to expand resources across the state’s entire continuum of care.

A Rising Tide Sinks All Homes - The Effects of Climate Change on Florida's Economy

With more than 8,400 miles of coastline and a flat, low-lying coastal topography, Florida is especially vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise. Tens of thousands of Florida homes and businesses are at increased risk from sea level rise. Much of Florida’s critical infrastructure is at low elevations, designed and built with little consideration of future sea level rise. The physical effect of changing climate translates into real economic impacts.

Addressing the Medicaid Funding Gap Through a Directed Payment Program

/ Categories: Research, Health Care, Insurance

Medicaid is a joint federal-state health insurance program that provides medical coverage to more than four million low-income Floridians. Administered by the state Agency for Health Care Administration, Medicaid is jointly funded through a federal cost-sharing agreement. During fiscal year 2020-21, Florida’s appropriated budget for Medicaid is $29.7 billion.

Economic Commentary - The State of Medicaid in Florida

/ Categories: Research, Health Care

Even as the economic recovery begins to take form in Florida, the challenges confronting the state’s Medicaid system will remain a forefront issue. For this reason, it is important to understand how Florida’s Medicaid program has fared during the public health emergency and what economic challenges lie ahead as the state goes forward in recovery.

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, Cost Savings, Economic Development, Health Care, Insurance

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.
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