News By Industry
News from Tallahassee for 5/23/13
by MARC CAPUTO | Miami Herald
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and 22 other attorneys general accused Urban Outfitters on Wednesday of "undermining" nationwide efforts to fight pharmaceutical-drug abuse because the store sells a line of drinking novelties that mimic prescription-pill bottles, boxes, pads and syringes.
"These products are not in any way fun or humorous but make light of this rampant problem," the group wrote in a letter addressed to the company's CEO and chairman, Richard A. Hayne. "We invite you to pull these products from your shelves and join with us to fight prescription drug abuse."
Hayne and Urban Outfitter's media-relations department did not immediately respond to an email for comment. A customer-service representative said the store's media-relations department does not have a phone number.
Senators met with agency about audit of rehab center posted on 5/22/13
by David Bauerlein | Times-Union
State Sens. Aaron Bean and Audrey Gibson recently met with the head of the Agency for Health Care Administration about its audit that said Community Rehabilitation Center must repay almost $1.4 million in Medicaid payments.
Community Rehabilitation Center is run by Reginald Gaffney, who previously served on the Jacksonville Port Authority board. Community Rehabilitation Center is contesting the state’s audit which says the center overbilled the state’s Medicaid program.
Bean, R-Fernandina, said it would be “the death knell” for a small nonprofit like the center to have to pay the almost $1.4 million cited by AHCA.
He said he asked the state to work with Community Rehabilitation Center on a reasonable payment plan so the nonprofit can “continue being a vital service provider in north Jacksonville.”
“There are some things that were inappropriate that the state is going to bill him back for, and he’s agreed to pay back,” Bean said.
But Bean said he also is concerned about the methodology used by the state to conduct the audit and come up with the amount of overbilling.
Bean and Gibson joined officials from Community Rehabilitation Center in a meeting with AHCA Secretary Elizabeth Dudek about six weeks ago, the senators said.
A preliminary audit done last year pegged almost $2.6 million in Medicaid overpayments made to the center from September 2008 through February 2011. But AHCA scaled that back to about $1.4 million by the time it sent the March letter.
Tampa chamber: Businesses concerned by Legislature's inaction on Medicaid expansion posted on 5/22/13
by Richard Danielson | Tampa Bay Times
The business impact of legislative decisions on health care was a main issue when about 120 members of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce sat down for lunch with seven Hillsborough County legislators at the Embassy Suites Hotel in downtown Tampa.
Chamber chairman Gregory Celestan told the lawmakers to prepare for a hardball.
Some Tampa businesses, he said, are “very concerned about significant additional health insurance costs” because of the Legislature’s “refusal to expand Medicaid.”...
In industries like agriculture, tourism and hospitality, many workers would have been eligible for an expanded Medicaid program.
But with no Medicaid expansion, those workers must either get health insurance from their employers or buy coverage on a federal insurance exchange. An estimated 400,000 Floridians who would have qualified for Medicaid expansion are eligible to purchase insurance on the exchange.
And if workers use the federal exchange, their employers will be penalized — $2,000 per full-time employee (not including the first 30). Total additional costs to businesses statewide have been estimated at nearly $146 million per year.
On Tuesday, legislators’ responses to Celestan’s question varied. But they generally acknowledged they’ve got work to do and could use insight and suggestions from stakeholders in the private sector.
by Adam C. Smith | Tampa Bay Times
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Rich is campaigning in Pinellas County today, where she caught up with The Buzz at the Safety Harbor Library. It's time Democrats nominate a south Floridian for governor, she said, and whether Bill Nelson or Charlie Crist runs, she's staying in the race.
The former Florida Senate Democratic Leader also suggested that Democratic senators this year misplayed their hand on Medicaid expansion. Rather than immediately embracing the Senate GOP's proposed alternative to Medicaid expansion, Rich said, Democratic senator may have been better off calling for straight Medicaid Expansion. That could have helped persuade the Florida House to view the Senate Medicaid alternative as a more palatable compromise.
Scott OKs $65M for Hospitals, Vetoes $368M in Projects posted on 5/21/13
by Staff | Health News Florida
In a press release, Scott said his budget included $25.2 million to alleviate the waiting lists on the Aged and Disabled Adult Medicaid Waiver Program and the Nursing Home Diversion Program.
The rejected projects include:
• $1 million for a crisis stabilization unit in Fort Walton Beach
• $2 million in extra Medicaid funding for Bethesda Hospital in Palm Beach County
• $4 million in additional funding for private home nurses
• $2 million for the ARC of Jacksonville
• $500,000 for homeless programs in Okaloosa and Walton County
The so-called “safety-net hospitals,” including Jackson Memorial and Tampa General, had lobbied hard for the payment during the past week after there were signs the governor might veto it.
The funds are designed to keep the hospitals afloat as they transition from a cost-based Medicaid payment system to one designed to reward efficiency. The change to "diagnosis-related groups," or DRG payments, is similar to the one that Medicare has been using for decades.
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