Hello and happy Friday ...
Members of the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine will meet next week to discuss proposals to change the health history questionnaire on licensure applications amidst worries that the current questions deter medical students and physicians in residency programs from seeking the mental-health services they need.
Tallahassee attorney Allen Grossman is asking the board to consider modifying the health history questions under consideration and to provide a two-year safe harbor for medical students and residents who, while in school, had been successfully treated for a mental or physical disorder that impaired or would have impaired their ability to practice medicine. Grossman is representing the Council of Florida Medical School Deans.
A 2014 survey conducted by the Florida Medical Association and the Council of Florida Medical School Deans of 862 medical students and residents found that 10 percent of respondents endorsed thoughts of committing suicide in medical school or of believing they would be better off dead. The 2014 Florida report also found that 63 percent of those surveyed said their physical health had worsened since beginning medical school and 60.6 percent reported their psychological health had worsened.
The survey also showed that 70.1 of respondents indicated feeling they would benefit from psychological resources, but 60.2 percent admitted they had never utilized any services.
Those are sobering statistics and they were uncovered prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Grossman said in the letter. Now is the time for the boards to move ahead with changes, he wrote.
"With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on Florida’s medical infrastructure, our physicians, residents, and medical students, along with our other healthcare providers, while valiantly caring for the needs of our fellow Floridians, are facing unprecedented levels of stress on multiple fronts. In addition to the patient care related issues and the health and safety issues faced by our students and residents, COVID-19 has made access to USMLE exams, clinical training opportunities, person to person interactions or interviews and other critically necessary activities and requirements for graduation and recruitment to residency programs, much more difficult. These uncertainties have only enhanced anxieties facing our medical students and residents," Grossman wrote. "The Council of Deans suggests that our medical students and residents should not be required to face these mental health threats alone and should not feel that they are being placed in a position of choosing between seeking assistance and negatively impacting the future of their medical careers due to potential licensure problems or disciplinary action. Instead, they should be encouraged and supported to freely seek care without fear or apprehension."
AHCA has withdrawn Emergency Rule 59AER20-7, which mandates testing at intermediate-care facilities for the developmentally disabled. More here.
The Board of Opticianry proposes amending Rule 64B12-15.001 to update the language for continuing education for license renewals. More here.
The Board of Clinical Laboratory Personnel proposes amending Rule 64B3-3.001 to update the application process. More here.
The Board of Hearing Aid Specialists proposes amending Rule 64B6-3.001 regarding initial licensure applications. More here.
The Council of Medical Physicists proposes amending Rule 64B23-7.001 regarding initial applications for physicist-in-training. More here.
Stephanie Smith has registered to lobby for Anthem, Inc. and its affiliates.
Christopher Snow has registered to lobby for Aveanna Healthcare LLC and JumpStart Pediatrics.
Monte Stevens has registered to lobby for Ingenious Personalized Medicine, LLC.
COMINGS AND GOINGS
Cleveland Clinic has named Conor Delaney, M.D., Ph.D., as President and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic Florida region, effective Oct. 15, 2020. More coverage here.
The Columbus Organization has named Patricia Rendon its Executive Director for Florida Care Coordination. The Columbus Organization is a care support organization for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
CERTIFICATE OF NEED
OpusCare of Florida LLC wants to transfer its CON from Comprehensive Home Health Care, Inc. d/b/a Opus Care of South Florida, to OpusCare of Florida LLC. More here.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW
---Please? ... U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan asks for Medicare coverage of COVID-19 vaccine. More here.
---Closed ... Miami ALF shut down for breaking COVID-19 rules and endangering residents, state says. More here.
---What’s going on? ... Florida’s nursing home visitation rules leave families confused. More here.
---Spiking ... Opioid overdose deaths rising in year of COVID-19. More here.
---Ramping up ... Centra Care expands rapid antigen testing for COVID-19. More here.
---Waiting ... VA Secretary to Florida vets: Hang in there for in-person care. More here.
---No COVID problems here ... Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration on Friday announced it is backing off a requirement that facilities for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities test staff members for COVID-19 every two weeks. More here.
---Fight for your right to party ... Gov. Ron DeSantis thinks students who attend Florida’s 12 state universities should be able to socialize without worrying about getting thrown out of school. More here.
---COVID silver lining ... The number of providers using telehealth increased from 657 at the end of 2019 to 15,945 as of June amid the pandemic, and the number of Medicaid beneficiaries using telehealth increased from 23,616 at the end of 2019 to 192,038, according to Florida's Medicaid director. More here.
---Challenges withdrawn ... IBM has withdrawn its challenge to a decision by the state Agency for Health Care Administration to award a major Medicaid contract to Deloitte Consulting, LLP. More here.
---Delays, delays delays ... A push by state lawmakers to encourage Floridians with intellectual and developmental disabilities to work has been stalled in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration for more than a year --- and there's no clear indication when the program will get up and running. More here.
---Helping rural counties ... The Florida Department of Education is making $2 million available to rural counties across the state to increase access to telehealth to provide mental-health services for schoolchildren. More here.
10 a.m. The Information Clearinghouse on Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council will provide technical assistance to the Department of Health in the establishment of a website of resource information related to Down syndrome or other prenatally diagnosed developmental disabilities; support programs for parents and families; and developmental evaluation and services. Call (866) 899-4679; participant code: 811379093.
8 a.m. The Board of Medicine Credentials Committee meets. Call: (888)585-9008; participant code: 432162565. Agenda here.
9 a.m. The Florida Board of Pharmacy meets to discuss cases where prior probable cause was found. Call: (888) 585-9008; participant code: 599196982
11:30 a.m. The Board of Optometry meets. Call: (888) 585-9008; participant code: 136103141. Agenda here.
1 p.m. The Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Advisory Councill meets. Call (877) 568-4106; participant code: 458096869.
1 p.m. The Florida Board of Medicine Council on Physicians Assistants meets. Call: (888) 585-9008; participant code: 432162565. Agenda here.
1:45 p.m. The Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine’s Joint Meeting on Health History Questions meets. Call: (888) 585-9008; participant code: 432162565. Agenda here.
3:15 p.m. The Florida Board of Medicine Rules/Legislative Committee meets. Call: (888) 585-9008; participant code: 432162565. Agenda here.
8 a.m. The Board of Medicine meets. Calll (888) 585-9008; participant code: 432162565 Agenda here.
1 p.m. The Agency for Health Care Administration holds a rule hearing for proposed Rule 59G-13.081, regarding the rates for the Individual Budgeting, or iBudget, waiver services. Register for the meeting here.