Category Archives: Florida

Pediatricians Say Florida Hurt Sick Kids To Help Big GOP Donors

CNN has done a great investigative job on this.  Here it is in short:

Now we find out Florida is a state that puts politics and money ahead of proper care for suffering, disabled children, according to this excellent investigative report. It’s because of extremely disproportionate donations to the Florida state GOP coffers by the medical insurance companies, as compared to their donations into other states’ GOP coffers.

A professionally-designed, approved questionnaire was used as a screening tool inappropriately to “filter out” children from the special Medicaid program which catered to those children.

Despite protestations from pediatricians,

“In the spring and summer of 2015, the state switched more than 13,000 children out of a highly respected program called Children’s Medical Services, or CMS, a part of Florida Medicaid. Children on this plan have serious health problems including birth defects, heart disease, diabetes and blindness.”

“Nearly half of all children in Florida, are on Medicaid, which has several types of insurance plans. The state switched more than 13,000 children into new plans, many of which did not have the same participating providers that treated these special kids.”

And so, too many of these kids did not get the special medical and surgical treatment they required, due to doctors in the new plans not having the needed additional education and/or experience or were not listed as providers.

“But some Florida pediatricians worry about children with special health care needs who, two years later, are still off the program.  The doctors aren’t just worried; they’re angry.”
  • The data analysis the state used to justify switching the children is “inaccurate” and “bizarre,” according to the researcher who wrote the software used in that analysis.
  • The screening tool the state used to select which children would be kicked off the program has been called “completely invalid” and “a perversion of science” by top experts in children with special health care needs.
  • In fall 2015, a state administrative law judge ruled that the Department of Health should stop using the screening tool because it was unlawful. However, even after the judge issued his decision, the department didn’t automatically re-enroll the children or even reach out to the families directly to let them know that re-enrollment was a possibility.

“These are the sickest and most vulnerable kids, and (changing their insurance) can mean life or death for them,” said Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University. “This is really very troubling.”

Six pediatricians from across Florida gathered to tell CNN their concerns about children losing CMS coverage. They accuse the state of hurting sick kids to help big GOP donors.

Dr. Rishi Agrawal, an associate professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, agreed, adding that Florida should have more carefully considered how the insurance switch would affect the children’s health care.  “The process in Florida was particularly abrupt and poorly executed,” he said.
“It was a scam job,” added Dr. Nancy Wright, a pediatric endocrinologist in Tallahassee who said that dozens of her patients with diabetes were removed from the program.”
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Florida Medical Marijuana Update

SOUTH FLORIDA WILL HAVE LOTS OF CERTIFIED DOCTORS WHO WILL BE ABLE TO PRESCRIBE MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Taken from Sun-Sentinel:

Hundreds of doctors in Florida are now certified since June 16th, who are able to  recommend medical marijuana for patients, and one of the biggest concentrations is in South Florida.

The state is moving forward to implement a constitutional amendment approved by voters; however, patients in some parts of the state have no access and insurance does not cover marijuana, so poorer patients could be priced out of the market.

  • State lawmakers eliminated the original 90 day waiting period to get medical marijuana;
  • There are now 957 doctors in Florida qualified to recommend medical marijuana, with 357 of them in South Florida;
  • Monroe county has the most certified doctors, with one for every 8,208 residents in the county;
  • Of Florida’s 30 largest cities, Boca Raton has the state’s highest per capita number of certified doctors;
  • Doctors “recommend” marijuana rather than “prescribe” it, because it is a federally-controlled substance.

HOW CAN I GET IT?

Patients must have a qualifying ailment.  Those include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or “other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class,” per the amendment’s language.

To find a local doctor, go to http://SunSentinel.com/marijuanadoctors

You can also go to Floridahealth.gov, or call the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use at 850-245-4657.

Patients can receive a 70-day supply at a time.  When that is exhausted, they must get another recommendation, which can be phoned in.  After 30 weeks, patients must once again see their doctor in person.

A typical in-person visit costs about $250.  Patients must also pay a $75 fee for their medical marijuana card; then, there’s the cost of the marijuana which ranges from about $100 to $200 for a 70-day supply.

At his Boca Raton clinic, one doctor treats about 50 patients.  He has used the law’s “other debilitating medical conditions” provission to prescribe (recommend) marijuana for auto-immune diseases similar to Crohn’s, severe arthritis and chronic pain from nervous system damage.

A photo ID is required on the card in order to be placed on the state registry, and there has been a steady increase in the volume of applications since Amendment 2 went into effect.

There are now 12 growers and there will be 5 more added in October.  They agree they have enough capacity to supply patient demand.

 

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What Happened When I Went To Renew My Driver’s License…

Has it been 8 years already?  Here in Florida, our driver’s license is good for eight years.  It was a beautiful, Spring-y day here in South Florida, with lots of blue sky and great, puffy clouds hanging up there.  A great day!

Sample only. Notice gold star.

I had received a reminder postcard a couple of weeks ago to renew my license.  Since my schedule is so busy, I set aside last Wednesday to take care of that nuisance task, even though I had more than a month in which to complete this requirement.  This is one of the few things that must be done in person.

So, I collected all the necessary legal documents, as stipulated on the postcard:  proof of my change of names from maiden name to married names (government-issued marriage certificates); two proofs of address (utility bills, property tax bill, etc.); social security card; and official (government-issued) proof of birth.  A blank check, because, while this office will take credit cards, they will charge extra for that convenience.

When I parked, I noticed there was not a plethora of parking spaces.  I got the last one close to the DMV office.  I arrived at 2:45pm, and originally thought that was a good time so that I wouldn’t have to wait too long.  Boy, was I wrong!  I was the last one next to the door.  About 25 people ahead of me.

After a half hour wait, I was finally at the head of the line.  Wouldn’t you know?  One of the 2 clerks decided it was time for a break.  So, there I waited, starting to feel the impatience gather.  Finally, after 10 minutes, another clerk took her seat, got her personal things put away, took a few more gulps of coffee, and called me.

Briefly stated my reason for being there (driver’s license renewal and, oh yes, vehicle registration renewal as long as I was there).  I presented all the documents I went to all four corners of my house to collect.  She asked me for my current license.  I presented it, and she said, “Oh, you don’t need all these papers; you already have the yellow star on your license.”  So, why did the postcard state I needed to bring all these documents?

In less than a minute, I was given a number:  D363, with the added information that I would have to wait about an hour and a half to 2 hours before being called for the test.  I had a choice of waiting, or coming back another time.  What would you do?  I waited.  I had taken a book to read with me, in case I had to wait.

Actually, this machine is quite modern as opposed to the one I had to use.

I was called after only a half hour.  This is where my anxiety began.  I had to take an eye test on their machines, which were grossly outdated, clumsy, and, I believed, purposely “set up” so as to turn away as many people as possible from passing the eye test for a driver’s license.  I refuse to say the machine was “programed,” because it was obviously purchased before computers were put into common use.

I neglected to state above, that I have a chronic “dry eye” problem; however, I started using a prescription eye drops for it, to be used twice a day.  I really should have made an exception this day, and taken more drops just before driving to the office.

She told me to read line 6. Tiny numbers!  There were 2 sets of numbers.  I had no trouble with the first set; however, trying to read the second set was like trying to read with cotton stuffed into your eye.  I complained the machine’s glass cover was smudgy (it probably was my dry eye), so she directed me to another machine on the other side of her desk.  I was told to press my forehead to the bar above, so as to keep my head steady.  Fine.  I tried reading the set of numbers:  3868635.  Wrong!  How’s about 6836683?  Wrong!  How’s about 8836338?  Wrong!  Oh god, I was sweating and pushing my forehead tight against the bar, but that didn’t do any good.  How’s about 3568863?  Wrong!  Finally, I got it right by guessing!  Don’t ask me what it was.  All I do know is that she finally said, “OK.  You got your license!”

When I finally got home, I washed my hands and face.  Couldn’t stand the thought of how many foreheads were pressed against that bar.  When I looked in the mirror, I saw a deep line indented across my forehead.

I spoke to my sister this afternoon.  Told her about my experience at the Driver’s License office.  She was with her husband, Stu, and she told him about my experience with the eye test.  Stu said I could have gotten a note from my eye doctor.  ????

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A Foggy Morning in South Florida

 

I usually look out my bedroom window first thing after awakening.  Even though I live in the Sunshine State, there are quite a few times when it’s not “sunny.”

Much to my surprise, I saw fog. This is a rarity, for sure.  Had to capture it.

a-foggy-morning-south-florida-style

Well, at least it wasn’t “smog.”

 

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In The Company Of Lizards

I spend a lot of time in front of my computer; rather, in front of my Samsung display/TV screen.  My tower is off to the side and out of the way.  The display sits on my desk in front of the window in my office, so, with the verticals drawn away to the side in the morning, I can see all the happenings of bees, mosquitos, gnats, etc., on the screen and in front of it, flitting around.  What caught my eye, er, rather, the eye of the camera, were these two quite fat, healthy, cavorting lizards.

lizards

They are doing a great job in keeping the insects and bugs populations down.  All the lizards I see around the outside of my house all have fat bellies.  It’s a paradise down here in South Florida for all types of life:  humans included.

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I Was A Homeless Person

…for three days in 1990!

Today (September 28th, 2016) is the 26th anniversary of my official residency as a Floridian.  Three days before, on September 25th, 1990, I gave up my citizenship as a legal resident of the State of New York, as I signed on the dotted line to sell my house.

It was a big, new adventure; one which held an unknown future for my then husband, Dan, myself and his Mom.  That’s what I called it, as we drove into Delaware on US I-95.  “A new adventure,” I announced to Mom.  I felt excited and positive.  Little did I know, as we settled into our first motel stay and I got my first mosquito bites which were of major proportions, what was in store for our future.

We were a caravan of two cars and were “attached” by a CB system that Dan rigged up.  It was very basic, but served the purpose in notifying when we intended to stop at a service area.  Dan led the way in his car.

I followed, with Mom in my back seat.  She was 86, full of trepidation; full of trepidation, because we couldn’t leave her in Long Beach.  She had no one there on whom she could depend if she needed help.  Friends had moved away to be near their kids, or died.  Nothing was left there for her.  She really didn’t want to leave, but there was no other choice.

Mom was very comfortable what with pillows and blanket to insure her comfort. She was of small stature and she fit right in on the bench seat of my 1986 Ford Granada – turbo engine, of course.  Ha ha.

We were making very good time.  I had arranged for motel stops and the next one was located in Georgia.  When we got there, it was only  3:00pm, and we decided that it was too early and had the manager call ahead to another one in St. Augustine, Florida.

We lost all the time we made before that motel stop in Georgia.  We got caught up in the Jacksonville rush hour traffic.  What a bummer!

Mom was very tired after the two days’ travel, so she just wanted to rest when we arrived in St. Augustine.  We decided that we would bring her back some food, which we did after enjoying our supper in a casual restaurant.

st-aug-1st-aug-2st-aug-3

We had visited that city previously, some years before, and found ourselves wandering about, and visited some of our favorite places.  It is such a quaint, old city, and it was a pleasure to stretch our legs and feet over cobble stones!

After an exhausted sleep in St. Augustine, and after five more hours of driving, we finally arrived at our first destination at Forest Trace in Broward county.  It had opened only a year before; it was beautiful (we had visited it a couple of months earlier).  Mom was settled in at her apartment:  she was warmly welcomed by the staff, and made to feel at ease.  Her rented furniture was in place, so she was able to rest after the long trip.

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At the same time we had made arrangements for Mom’s apartment, we made arrangements for an apartment in a nearby apartment complex for ourselves.  Our rented furniture had been delivered in our apartment, overseen by the complex office manager.

All our furniture and Mom’s were sold in New York.  This was really a new start for us all!

It was an odd feeling I had, knowing I didn’t have a place where I could call “home.”  I had a destination, but those three days had me feeling “displaced.”  And, in another way, it was a free feeling because during those days, I had no responsibilities.  No tethers.  It was peculiar, but, yes, exciting.

Everything went smoothly.  That was a good feeling.  The next day, we went to the court house, and signed a “Declaration of Domicile.”  We were no longer HOMELESS!

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The Screeching Wetlands Bird: Limpkin

 

No, it doesn’t limp.  I don’t know who might have named this bird; however, it’s in my handbook of favorite Florida birds, so I guess that is its official name.

All my neighbors, including myself, call it the “screecher.”  That’s what it does:  screech.  It’s not a pleasant sound to wake up to in the early morning.  What really scares the daylights out of you is when you’re outside and one of these 2-feet-tall birds flies over your head and screeches at you and nearly gives you a heart attack!  That isn’t a far-fetched notion:  most of my neighbors are “way up there” senior citizens.

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limpkin-2

limpkin

 

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What Happened To The Sun?

It is the rainy season here in South Florida, and many mornings are dark and void of sun.

Last week, it was raining – HARD.  A long time ago, someone once said, “This is weather that only the ducks will enjoy.”

rainy-morning-in-south-flrainy-morningrainy-morning-2rainy-morning-duckrainy-morning-raindropsrainy-morning-duck-2

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Great Blue Heron Ambulation

 

I was fortunate to catch this gangling Great Blue outside my bedroom window one morning.  They are named appropriately, for sure.

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great-blue-heron-ambulating-3

 

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Another Sultry Morning In South Florida

 

I always look out the bedroom window to see what kind of a day it is and perhaps a sign of what kind of a day it will turn out to be.

This morning, my view was of stillness.  Not a minuscule of palm fronds shifted.  The lake was quiet – not a hint of a breeze kissed it.

morning

 

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