If there is a bright side to all of this, it is the fact that at least Florida did not rank last in the quality of health care. Healthcare in Florida was actually rated 48th out of the 50 States of the nation. So in fairness, there are two States who have worse health care providers and general hospitals.
In the interest of fairness and full disclosure, there were some individual hospitals and some alternative medical centers that did receive excellent ratings in regards to the quality of healthcare in Florida, facility infrastructure, staff, and even in some areas ranking well for administrative excellence related to quality healthcare.
There was a serious focus to address the top 5 health concerns in Florida throughout the year 2020 and these same concerns remain relevant as we enter 2021. Whether or not these programs have been successful remains to be seen, but it does give the rapidly increasing number of Alternative Medical Centers in Florida a good place to start in terms of providing quality medical healthcare and treatments.
The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration is run by Shevaun L. Harris, who seems determined to improve access to affordable health care services in Florida without sacrificing anything in terms of service or the quality of healthcare and medical treatment throughout the State. As such, she has focused on the following five top health concerns in Florida which will be addressed herein.
1. Senior Healthcare Facilities In Florida
Senior healthcare in Florida has suffered in many different areas. This is especially odd considering that Florida is one of the most popular retirement destinations for people from up and down the East Coast and all throughout Middle America.
Despite this, Senior Healthcare in Florida has seen a reduction in the availability of medical services; increases in costs that are unmanageable for many seniors living on a fixed budget and looking for healthcare providers; the quality of senior healthcare and a host of other factors.
In order to address these issues concerning senior healthcare in Florida, the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration has made some striking changes. Medical centers that provide healthcare for senior citizens in Florida will now be subject to much stricter inspections and accountability for their operations.
When healthcare facilities are found to be in violation of State law or even lacking in services, they are often fined. The monies paid for these fines have previously gone into a State-owned account that is regulated by the Federal Government.
Shevaun L. Harris is seeking to enact legislation that would allow for these State funds to be utilized to provide additional training for those medical centers and healthcare facilities in Florida that provide health care for senior citizens. This additional training would ostensibly ensure that those people that are primary caregivers for senior citizens should be able to provide substantially better medical care for senior citizens in Florida.
2. Mental Healthcare in Florida
Mental healthcare has always been something of a challenge going all the way back to the eighties when Federal Mental Health Institutions were closed down and supposed to be replaced by State run mental healthcare facilities in Florida and elsewhere around the nation. During the current pandemic, mental health has once again moved to the forefront of the conversation, and this too has garnered the attention of the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration.
Add in a year of social distancing, quarantine and isolation, canceled holidays, and more time alone, and mental health issues have greatly increased through 2020. Fortunately, many of these mental health treatments can be conducted through outpatient services, though there may be occasions when a mental health treatment center and care facility may be a better option.
Florida is also especially challenged in terms of mental health care and treatment due to the large influx of homeless people seeking to spend the winter in warmer climates, even without the benefits of having a home or gainful employment. Mental health care and treatment must be expanded to include training and opportunities to allow people to reintegrate into society, and not just to survive with severe mental disabilities.
While the opioid crisis has not reached the same level of concern that it has in other parts of the nation, collectively, substance abuse is also a major concern in, and one that can largely be addressed by rehabilitation centers and substance abuse counseling. As will be discussed later in the article, laws are being changed which will help to address these issues, but there is still a renewed interest on focusing on drug rehabilitation and substance abuse as a part of radical healthcare reforms in Florida.
While medicaid will not cover the cost of housing for mental health care and rehabilitation, it does allow for inpatient rehabilitation and mental health treatment services. These programs are set to be expanded, which in conjunction with additional laws and a loosening of certain regulatory limitations, should collectively work to increase the accessibility to mental health care in Florida.
3. Medical Costs in Florida
According to the Insurance Commission, some 80% of all medical billings contain errors. Add to this the many different layers, offices, commissions, facilities and others who are constantly billing insurance companies and patients directly, sometimes at the same time, and medical costs can be both a troubling and expensive concern.
Unpaid medical bills also remain among the top causes for personal bankruptcies, not only in Florida, but around the nation. The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration is working directly with the Florida legislature to greatly reform medical billing, and to ensure that medical costs and the cost of healthcare and treatment in Florida remain consistent even across numerous offices and agencies.
One of the biggest challenges in terms of healthcare costs in Florida, is the different pricing structures at major hospitals, private doctor offices, and at the increasing number of private, advanced healthcare medical facilities in Florida. If someone were to walk into a hospital billing department and ask for the cost of a surgical procedure, it is not they will not respond, but literally do not have the information available to respond.
In the first place, virtually every medical specialist in any field will have their own billing, their own pricing system, and their own procedures for medical billing and pricing. Some of these medical specialists will work through groups, agencies, or other coordinated means of increasing their work, and adding even more layers to the process of medical billing.
Even if someone were rich and wanted to pay cash, there simply is not any set pricing for medical procedures in Florida or anywhere else in the country. While there is no definitive solution to this problem yet, the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration has at least built a healthcare cost website showing the average costs for many different medical procedures and treatment regimes.
It is hoped that this will at least give medical patients in Florida the ability to shop some for the best places to have outpatient care, or even for long-term, inpatient facilities in Florida. Unfortunately, the average person may not be aware of just how many people are involved on the peripheral level in terms of quality healthcare in Florida.
An alternative healthcare facility that has the best prices for many procedures, may still use radiologists, anesthesiologists, or other specialists who may charge more or who may even bill through an agency, adding to the overall cost and preventing the patient from finding the best available prices for medical care.
Among the most common solutions to this problem are through the use of alternative advanced health care medical centers that use the same doctors, have smaller administrative staffs, and who coordinate the billing in order to reduce both the complexity and the cost. These have been made available through legislation enacted on behalf of the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration and will be reviewed more fully in section 5 of this article.
4. Consistency of Healthcare in Florida
There are also concerns about the consistency of results in terms of finding the best healthcare in Florida. This is especially true in large hospitals in Florida cities that use the services of multiple doctors even in the same medical fields of practice.
A recent study by WalMart of all places, determined that roughly one-third of all healthcare costs are due to procedures that are “unnecessary” and that should not have been undertaken to begin with. The challenge here however, is balancing this out without implementing a major change in tort laws or tort reform.
Doctors are like car mechanics in the sense that someone may be treated for a broken finger today, and sue the doctors when they get a cold six months later. Granted that is a bit of an exaggeration, but not by a big stretch. The cost of insurance for doctors is a driving factor behind much of the cost associated with medical procedures.
Different doctors may then implement different procedures based on their own personal experience, and covering what they may deem to be necessary in order to avoid expensive lawsuits or excessive insurance claims. It is literally impossible for the medical doctor (or anyone else for that matter) to look into the future and know exactly what is going to come next.
These problems are further exacerbated through the use of emergency rooms and emergency clinics in the place of primary care physicians or family doctors. The fact that many of these people will not return for follow-ups or check in with their family doctors, even if they may have one, does little to help.
5. Availability of Healthcare in Florida
As large hospitals continue to close, all of these problems are made even worse, but again, the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration is working in conjunction with the Florida Legislature to make healthcare more readily accessible.
As late as 2019 it was mandated by law that healthcare providers would have to prove the need for new medical centers in any geographical areas before they could be built and made operational. This often limited areas to one or two major hospitals and maybe some private care doctors for their only choices for healthcare in Florida. This bill was finally repealed in 2019 and has had many notable results in terms of finding the best healthcare in Florida.
One of the most striking results of this bill was to allow the free markets to enter and allow the rapidly increasing number of private medical centers in Florida to flourish and grow. As we have seen across the nation, the results have been somewhat devastating in terms of large-hospital care as the hospitals now have to compete across open markets.
This has also resulted in the ability of anyone trying to find the best healthcare in Florida to enjoy the reduced costs brought about by free-markets and competition, without having to sacrifice in terms of the doctors or the medical care that is available.
The closure of many of these hospitals, especially in rural areas, may create some short term challenges, but ultimately, should make affordable health care more readily available to the average person, no matter where they may live. Ultimately, these ongoing actions by the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration will result in a net benefit for anyone looking for premium medical care in Florida, and help Florida increase its ranking in the national standings for health care.
How Does AHCMD Address These Concerns About Healthcare in Florida?
AHCMD in Boca Raton carefully screens and trains all of its personnel on site, and carefully screens any doctors who wish to provide the best medical services in Florida, in order to ensure that the patient can be guaranteed to receive the best healthcare possible.