JUNE 12, 2020 | 4 P.M. | TREASURE COAST–As the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Florida rises, the DeSantis administration is canceling weekly phone calls with health care providers meant to keep them abreast of the state’s coronavirus policies and procedures.
Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew and State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees held their last regularly scheduled weekly phone call with nursing-home providers Thursday. The last regularly scheduled meeting with hospitals was June 1.
Mayhew and Rivkees routinely used the calls — which initially were held on a daily basis but were pared back to just once a week — to convey the administration’s policies to providers and to answer their questions directly.
It was during the weekly phone calls with the nursing home industry when Mayhew first announced that the state would push back the deadline for nursing homes to submit monthly quality-assessment payments for April and May (both are due on June 15.)
The Florida Health Care Association, the state’s largest nursing-home association, facilitated the calls with the long-term care industry. FHCA spokeswoman Kristen Knapp said the calls had a capacity for 2,000 long-term care providers to join and hear first hand what the DeSantis administration had to say. Each call was at capacity, she said.
The decision to end the calls comes as the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in Florida increases. The Department of Health on Friday reported that 1,885 Florida residents were diagnosed with COVID 19 on June 11. That is the highest number of positive tests since the state first started reporting cases on March 1.
There were 1,613 residents in long-term care facilities that have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday, according to the latest data. Another 2,497 residents who were infected at long-term care facilities have been transferred, mostly to hospitals, bringing the total number of infected long-term care residents to 4,110 as of Thursday. The number of Floridians who have died from COVID-19 as of Thursday totaled 2,877. Long-term care residents and staff account for more than 52 percent of the death toll.
By Christine Sexton | News Service of Florida