The Ministry of Health wants to expand telehealth programs for mothers, and school health programs

The telehealth program could be expanded to improve maternal outcomes among ethnic and minority groups in Orange and Duval counties if the state’s surgeon general Joseph Ladabo his way.

As well as school health programs.

The Florida Department of Health released the fiscal year 2023-24 Legislative budget request (LBR) This week it increases public health spending by tens of millions of dollars.

The budget includes an injection of $12.6 million for expansion into 18 more counties, a program aimed at eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in maternal disease and other maternal outcomes. These counties are: Brevard, Broward, Collier, Escambia, Hillsborough, Lake, Lee, Lyon, Manatee, Marion, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole and Volusia.

Lawmakers passed in 2021 Legislation requiring the state to develop pilot telehealth projects in Duval and Orange counties Women were provided with evidence-based health literacy on pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. Women are also provided with medical devices such as blood pressure bracelets that allow perinatal specialists to check on their health.

Initially, lawmakers requested funding for telehealth projects in the amount of $4.85 million from recurring funds that were set aside for “bridging the gap” grants. Lawmakers approved an additional $5.4 million for the program in the fiscal year 2022-23 BudgetAnd the But the money was infrequent.

Ladapo’s budget request also doubles the amount of funds for school health programs, adding an additional $29 million for school health programs.

During the 2020-21 school year, 1,321 registered nurses provided services to more than 2.81 million students in 3,769 public schools in Florida. A registered nurse supports three schools, or over 2,100 students, according to budget documents.

About $3 million in funds for School Health Services are currently being targeted to attract identical federal administrative funds. Ladapo’s budget will not allocate any additional government funding for the school health program but will triple existing funds the state defines as administrative. In doing so, the state has an additional $29.3 million that it can use to fund its programs under School Services Law.

It requires no additional state dollars and “will increase the program’s financial resources to implement innovative staffing models to meet the program’s future needs at the state level,” as stated in the budget narrative.

According to LBR, the plan is for the School Health Services program to enter into regional and state contracts with medical staffing agencies and hospital systems for statewide county health programs.

“Instead of relying on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ staffing allotment, each school health program can apply to the office based on what they need to achieve their local program goals, the budget notes.

However, it is not clear what the budget suggests is allowed by law. Currently, the school service plan has been developed In conjunction with the county health department, the district school board and the local school health advisory committee.

LBR also committed an additional $5.9 million to school dental health programs and sealants. According to the budget narrative, the money will be used to open or expand 25 school-based drop-offs programs and hire an additional 25 hygienists.

The goal is to treat an additional 97,250 children. According to the Department of Health, in fiscal year 2021-22, 46,296 children up to age 20 received 195,281 service through the District Health Department’s School Dropout Program.

LBRs mark the beginning of the annual accreditation process. State agencies are required to prepare LBRs in advance before regular legislative sessions. The proposals are only wish lists, but they are also taken into account by governors as they prepare their proposed spending plans for legislative consideration.

In addition to requesting additional funds for those programs, Ladapo’s budget is also asking for tens of millions for information technology (IT).

The use of newer technology, the increase in remote work, the use of high-resolution imaging, and other data-streaming services have increased the demand for the capacity of the Ministry of Health’s network. The Ministry of Health is requesting $6.65 million to contract with a network service provider to fund the development of a modern network, which will include replacing old network equipment and outsourcing network maintenance and management.

The Department of Health will be the first Florida agency to outsource its network requirements, the department asserts. Section asking for About $1.95 million to hire 11 full-time IT jobs and five support jobs.

The budget of the Ministry of Health also includes funding for the new fleet of vehicles for the various departments. Correctional Medical Corps (CMA) in the department and is responsible for monitoring the Florida Department of Corrections’ health care delivery system at more than 58 facilities across the state.

In the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the CMA spent $19,160 on car rental costs and employee mileage. LBR notes that CMA requires funds to purchase two vehicles and requests $70,736 in non-recurring funds to purchase two 2023 Ford Transit Connect vehicles.

The Medical Quality Assurance Departmentwhich investigates fraudulent providers and inspects office surgery centers, has to replace four vehicles due to long mileage and is asking $104,106 to do so.

Meanwhile, county health departments (CHDs) are asking for an increased reduction of $1,321,143 in vehicle acquisitions. “This increase will provide human health centers with sufficient authority to purchase needed vehicles for the foreseeable future, based on the patterns of the past four years,” the budget notes.

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