Oct. 30, 2013

Appeals court stops action in PIP case
Adapted from Appeals court rebuffs challenge of Florida's new PIP law by Jim Turner

The 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, a three-judge appeals panel stopped a challenge to a 2012 state law to reduce fraud in the personal-injury protection (PIP) auto insurance system. After hearing a case involving an acupuncturist, a chiropractor, two massage therapists, a hypothetical "John Doe" representing health-care providers and a hypothetical "Jane Doe" representing motorists, the panel determined the case would not stand in court.

Instead of a "hypothetical claim," the plaintiffs failed to offer a "factual" motorist who is harmed by the law, the judges wrote.

The order reverses a March ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis that said the law illegally prevented accident patients from using PIP claims to pay for treatment by acupuncturists and massage therapists and limited services from chiropractors.

Lewis also found fault with the law's lower limit on how much will be paid for non-emergency medical care.

The 2012 law signed by Gov. Rick Scott and backed by Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater requires that people involved in motor vehicle crashes seek treatment within 14 days and allows up to $10,000 in benefits for emergency medical conditions and $2,500 for non-emergency conditions.

The bill was considered a last ditch effort to maintain the no-fault, or PIP, system that requires motorists to carry $10,000 in medical coverage.

"Today's ruling moves Florida a step closer to beating back rampant auto insurance fraud and bringing rate relief to Florida consumers," Atwater said in an email late Wednesday. "The people of Florida need insurance relief and it's time they get that relief."More

Prescription drug database conference call
The Department of Health is holding a conference call discussing the general business of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. This will start at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. Call-in: 888-670-3525, Conference code: 1648696226.More

Risk management or ethics CME available
Florida Board of Medicine
Attend a Florida Board of Medicine Meeting, sign in and earn 5 hours CME in ethics or risk management.

WHEN: Dec. 6, 2013 at 8 a.m.

WHERE: Florida Hotel & Conference Center at the Florida Mall, 1500 Sand Lake Road, Orlando, FL, 407-859-1500

Florida Administrative Code - Rule 64B8-13.005(2)

(a) For purposes of this rule, risk management means the identification, investigation, analysis, and evaluation of risks and the selection of the most advantageous method of correcting, reducing, or eliminating identifiable risks.

(b) Five hours of continuing medical education in the subject area of risk management may be obtained by attending one full day or eight (8) hours, whichever is more, of disciplinary hearings at a regular meeting of the Board of Medicine in compliance with the following:

  1. The licensee must sign in with the Executive Director of the Board before the meeting day begins.

  2. The licensee must remain in continuous attendance.

  3. The licensee must sign out with the Executive Director of the Board at the end of the meeting day or at such other earlier time as affirmatively authorized by the Board. A licensee may receive CME credit in risk management for attending the disciplinary portion of a Board meeting only if he or she is attending on that date solely for that purpose; he or she may not receive such credit if appearing at the Board meeting for another purpose. A member of the Board of Medicine may obtain 5 hours of continuing medical education in the subject area of risk management for attendance at the disciplinary portion of one Board meeting.

New jobs were recently added to the Job Bank.More

Ready, set, shop: How you can get the best Medicare coverage
Orlando Sentinel
If you like choice when it comes to your Medicare coverage, the Sunshine State is the place to be. Seniors and disabled people living in South Florida have more options when buying privately run Medicare healthcare and prescription coverage than almost anywhere else in the country, with about 80 to more than 100 plans. While that's slightly fewer than the number offered in 2014, the numbers of people enrolling in private plans overall is growing. More

Emergency physicians' knowledge of cannabinoid designer drugs
Western Journal of Emergency Medicine
The use of synthetic drugs of abuse in the United States has grown in the last few years, with little information available on how much physicians know about these drugs and how they are treating patients using them. The objective of this study was to assess emergency physician knowledge of synthetic cannabinoids.More

More opportunities found for respiratory infections to spread among staff in EDs
Medical Xpress
After studying social contact between patients and staff in a busy emergency department for one year, researchers at Emory University have learned more about the spread of infection and why prevention strategies are so important. The researchers looked at three types of interaction — patient-to-patient contact, patient-to-staff contact and staff-to-staff contact. The most common type of contact was staff-to-staff, and thus staff may be more likely to spread infections to other staff.More

Florida adds Medicaid managed care contracts
Health News Florida
A report from analyst firm Stifel says Florida has added four more Medicaid managed care contracts in addition to the two insurers, Centene and WellCare, which were awarded contracts in September. Sunshine State Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene Corp., won more contracts in September than any other company that bid for a part of the Florida Medicaid program as it transitions to managed-care plans for all of its enrollees. Analysts estimate billions of dollars are at stake with these Medicaid contracts.More

Homeless people more frequent users of ED, other health services
Single women who are homeless visit a hospital emergency department an average of more than twice a year, 13 times more often than women in the general population, new research has found. Single men who are homeless make an average of two visits a year to emergency, nine times more than men in the general population. Homeless men, women and families also have significantly more doctors' appointments and higher hospitalization rates, according to research led by Dr. Stephen Hwang of the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.More

America's 'other' healthcare revolution
The Christian Science Monitor
While everyone focuses on 'Obamacare's' controversial public exchanges, big changes are coming to the place where most people get their coverage — at work. The following discusses how they might affect you. More

Study: Ultrasound device may improve emergency stroke care
HealthDay news via U.S. News & World Report
The use of a hands-free ultrasound device in combination with a clot-busting drug appears safe for patients with a common kind of stroke, a small, new study finds. An ischemic stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked. When this happens, the hands-free ultrasound device is placed on the patient's head and delivers ultrasound to boost the effectiveness of the clot-busting medicine tPA (tissue plasminogen activator).More