This page will bring you news and notes from the business world of Pediatric Therapies.  Please check for frequent updates.
  • 28 Sep 2012 12:03 PM | Anonymous
    THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE - With the clock ticking on Florida's ability to control how it applies the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, pediatricians say they've been trying to meet with the agency that oversees the state's Medicaid program --- to no avail.

    The Agency for Health Care Administration last month declined a request from the Florida Pediatric Society to discuss how the state will implement those aspects of the federal health-care overhaul that relate to children.

    "Whatever program is ultimately designed, there are risks where children could fall through the cracks in a system that's really oriented to adults," said former state lawmaker Sam Bell, a lobbyist for the pediatricians' group. "So we bring the kind of expertise that will highlight not only where those cracks occur but the kind of care that needs to be mandated as part of the system."

    AHCA, however, refused the meeting because the Florida Pediatric Society is suing them over another matter.

    According to an Aug. 29 letter from the state attorney general's office, AHCA Secretary Elizabeth Dudek "respectfully decline[d]" the meeting due to a pending class-action lawsuit brought by the pediatricians' group against Florida Medicaid, which AHCA oversees. Dudek is one of the defendants.

    Click here for the complete article.
  • 28 Sep 2012 10:58 AM | Anonymous
    The Autism Institute at the Florida State University College of Medicine is part of a new $8.3 million study to measure risk and resilience factors for autism in infants and toddlers.

    The goal is to better understand developmental trajectories in children with autism and to improve early detection, intervention and outcomes. The Autism Institute’s project has the potential to identify autism spectrum disorders (ASD) before an obvious disability has emerged undefined as early as the first year of life.

    The Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) grant is one of three in the country funded by the National Institutes of Health. Florida State’s project is one of four within the ACE grant awarded to Emory University. Collaborators include Emory University, the Marcus Autism Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the Emory University School of Medicine and the Emory University Yerkes National Primate Research Center.

    Click here for the entire article.

    Additional summary

    “Keep in mind that the average age for diagnosis is after age 4, so 18 months is very early and 12 months of age is incredibly early. It’s very exciting to think about the potential,” said Amy Wetherby, Distinguished Research Professor in Clinical Sciences at the FSU College of Medicine and director of the Autism Institute.

    “Children at that age have more brain plasticity, and the hope is we can change their developmental trajectories and possibly prevent some of the symptoms,” Wetherby said.

    Wetherby and Juliann Woods, associate director of the Autism Institute and a professor in the Florida State College of Communication and Information, will lead a team that will teach parents how to implement techniques to improve development in their children with ASD.

    “If we can demonstrate that parents successfully implemented the techniques we teach them and their children have improved developmental outcomes, it could have far-reaching implications,” Wetherby said. “This is a very cost-efficient intervention that could be offered anywhere, so it could have a huge impact on outcomes for children and families across the country and even around the world.”
  • 24 Sep 2012 12:01 PM | Anonymous
    Every year the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) publishes a ranking of the 508 private insurance providers based on broad areas of Consumer Satisfaction, Prevention and Treatment. Capital Health Plan (CHP), an HMO in the Florida Panhandle centering in Tallahassee, was ranked in the top 20.

    To learn more about the ranking system and see where other private insurance plan providers in Florida ranked, click here.
  • 21 Sep 2012 2:36 PM | Anonymous
    From the Diane Rehm show, "Medicaid, the nation’s largest public health insurance program, serves nearly 60 million low income Americans. Under the Affordable Care Act another 15 million people with annual incomes below about $15,000 would be eligible to enroll. But last June the Supreme Court ruled that states were not required to expand Medicaid eligibility, and a number of states are now trying to find ways to reduce Medicaid expenses by choosing not to expand the rolls, improving efficiency of care, and making other changes to the system: Please join us to discuss what state Medicaid changes may mean for state budgets, national healthcare costs, and the nation’s poor."
    Click here to listen to the show.
  • 11 Sep 2012 10:51 AM | Anonymous
    By Shaun Heasley, disability scoop
    September 11, 2012

    Federal officials are threatening legal action after an investigation found hundreds of kids with developmental disabilities needlessly relegated to nursing homes designed to serve the elderly.

    The state of Florida is confining children - some just babies - to institutional settings even though they could be appropriately served at home or in more integrated environments with proper supports, according to a U.S. Department of Justice investigation.

    In a letter to the state’s attorney general last week, U.S. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez said that Florida needs to take corrective action to come into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Otherwise, Perez said the Justice Department may file a lawsuit.
    “The state’s reliance on nursing facilities to serve these children violates their civil rights and denies them the full opportunity to develop bonds with family and friends and partake in education, social and recreational activities in the community,” Perez wrote.

    Justice Department investigators visited six large nursing homes in Florida where over 200 children with a variety of disabilities are housed. They also spoke with parents, many of whom indicated that they would prefer to care for their kids at home, but have been unable to secure assistance from the state to do so.

    In many cases, kids living in the facilities are limited to specific areas and spend little time outside of the homes which resemble hospitals, investigators said. Some children are hundreds of miles from their families.
    While the average length of stay was three years at the locations visited, investigators found kids who had been in nursing homes for more than a decade.

    What’s more, Perez noted that other children are at risk of similar placements because of the “state’s policies and practices.”
    Over the last several years, Florida has cut programs designed to provide community supports for those with developmental disabilities while increasing pay to nursing homes who serve kids, the letter says. Facilities often receive over $500 a day to care for kids, more than double the rate for elderly residents.

    Florida officials, however, fiercely denied the allegations in Perez’s letter.
    “The decision of where a child receives care is up to the parents, in conjunction with the child’s doctor,” said Elizabeth Dudek, secretary of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, in a statement. “The agency will never interfere with a family’s choice for the location of their child’s care. The agency uses a professional, rigorous, federally-approved, quality control system to ensure every family receives the appropriate level of care for their child.”
  • 06 Sep 2012 10:36 AM | Anonymous
    James Call, 09/04/2012 - 04:28 PM

    The Harris Corp. continues to build a Florida Health Information Exchange as the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) announced Tuesday that five more organizations will join the network, which enables health care providers to access patient information via the Internet.

    Two years ago AHCA entered into a $19 million contract with Harris to create a statewide exchange. The framework of such an exchange is similar to the software and protocols that allow a consumer to access safely a bank account over an Internet site. A health information exchange allows doctors to transfer records and get texts results digitally. Emergency room personnel can quickly obtain medical histories of an unconscious person with a driver’s license or other ID.

    The five new participants in the Florida Health Information Exchange are Broward Health and its 30 health care facilities, Health First which operates four hospitals in Brevard County, Martin Health System which has four hospitals and medical centers in Martin and St. Lucie counties, Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach and the Tampa Bay Regional Health Information Organization, which represents hospitals in Hillsborough County.

    "We are pleased to continue to have more participants join the exchange and to see increased use of electronic health records,” AHCA Secretary Liz Dudek said. “This effort will ultimately lead to enhancements in patient care through greater coordination among providers.”

    The Florida Health Information Exchange now has 17 participants.

    The state contract requires Harris to provide technical assistance to up to 20 groups wanting to be part of the exchange. Organizations have until Dec. 1 to submit an application to be one of the final three groups to be what AHCA calls an assisted on-boarder. After July 1, 2014, organizations can continue to join the exchange, but technical assistance will not be available through the state contract with Harris.
  • 04 Sep 2012 10:18 AM | Anonymous
    Pediatric therapy practices are keeping an eye on several proposed amendments:
    1. Health insurance mandates. Sponsored by two Republicans, this amendment would prohibit compelling anyone to buy health insurance. But, it doesn't override the federal mandates so the nature of the impact is still up for debate.
    2. Small Business Tax Break. Raises the existing tax exemption on tangible personal property tax from $25K to $50K.
    3. State revenue limitation. Limits revenue collected by the states in the form of taxes, licenses, fee, fines or charges for services. Also limits the use of excess revenue.
  • 24 Aug 2012 10:33 AM | Anonymous
    In the never ending pursuit of fair and reasonably profitable pricing strategies, many things have been tried with varying success. "Bundling" or setting a predetermined price for providing healthcare, has been tried before and Baptist Health is trying it again.

    While there is a potential to lose money, Baptist Health would have to absorb the cost if the money spent exceeds the up-front estimate, there is also a potential for savings if the actual cost is below the estimate. They anticipate this will even out in the long run and allow them to be more competitive in the market.

    Depending on the success of this initiative, there is a potential for this to spread further into the pediatric therapy arena.

    For more information, read the article here.
  • 06 Aug 2012 9:41 AM | Anonymous
    Barbara PalmerAccording to Florida Unites, Governor Rick Scott named Barbara Palmer as director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, effective August 22, 2012.
    She has served as the agency’s chief of staff since 2011. “Throughout her distinguished career, Barbara has been widely recognized for her leadership and advocacy work on behalf of individuals seeking equal opportunities, and she has demonstrated that same high energy on behalf of Floridians with disabilities,”

    Governor Scott said. “The agency and the customers it serves will benefit from her broad range of experience and expertise.” Previously, Palmer served as assistant secretary for administration with the Florida Department of Children and Families from 2009 to 2011. Among her private-sector experience, she was president and CEO of Palmer, Musick and Associates from 1993 to 2009 and CEO of Illuminactive Multimedia Inc. from 1995 to 1997.

    She served as director of the division of hotels and restaurants within the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation from 1989 to 1991. At Florida State University, she was associate vice president for governmental relations from 1985 to 1989 and director of women’s intercollegiate athletics from 1977 to 1985.

    Nationally recognized for her efforts to secure passage of Title IX and ensure equity in sports for women in school athletic programs, Palmer was inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame in 1982. In the 1970s, Palmer began her career as executive director and vice president of IMPACT Enterprises Inc., a company serving individuals with developmental, mental and physical disabilities transitioning from institutional settings to community placements. She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida State University.

    The current director, Mike Hansen, has accepted a position with the Florida Senate. With more than 30 years of experience with health and human services policy and budgeting, Hansen has spent the past year working to continue increased efficiencies at the agency with the goal of balancing the agency’s budget and ensuring the continuation of services to Florida’s persons with disabilities.

    “Mike’s extensive experience with Medicaid services and budgeting have been a tremendous help as we continue to work to ensure the availability of services to one of Florida’s most vulnerable populations,” Governor Scott said. “I wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
  • 24 Jul 2012 9:27 AM | Anonymous
    Win some, lose some? It's going to take a careful analysis of facts and reports from several sources before we fully understand the implications of the ACA. This article claims, "the 2010 federal healthcare overhaul could extend health insurance coverage to about 5.3 million uncovered children but leave 1.7 million uncovered."

    Statistics can mean many things to many people, so here's the link to the article so you can add to your knowledge base.

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