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Health News Florida

AHCA Plans to Close Three Field Offices

Agency for Health Care Administration

With Florida now enrolling most Medicaid beneficiaries in managed-care plans, the Agency for Health Care Administration plans to close three field offices this summer, Secretary Liz Dudek told lawmakers Thursday.

The agency last year closed field offices in Tallahassee and Ocala and plans additional closures of offices in West Palm Beach, Panama City and Alachua.

Dudek also told the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee that the agency is looking at trimming other jobs, such as some temporary employees --- known in state government as "other personal services" employees.

The agency last year carried out a 2011 law that has led to about 3 million Medicaid beneficiaries enrolling in HMOs and other types of managed-care plans. That significantly changed the way many health providers are paid for Medicaid services. The managed-care plans contract with doctors and other providers, scaling back the role of the agency.

"The reality is we don't have jobs for all of the employees that we had,'' Dudek said, adding that the agency will help the offices' employees with such things as job placement and training.

Subcommittee Chairman Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, acknowledged the need for reorganization. "I hate having the conversation about getting rid of employees,'' Garcia said. "But the reality is with the fiscal constraints that we're facing or in the horizon, I believe, we need to find some efficiencies."

Bill Would Keep Daylight Saving Time Year-Round

Dubbing it the "Sunshine Protection Act," a Democratic senator Thursday filed a bill that would lead to daylight-saving time throughout the year in Florida. The proposal, by Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, would help keep the sun shining in the early evening for more of the year but lead to less daylight in the morning. Daylight saving time starts March 8 this year and ends Nov. 1. The bill will be considered during the legislative session that starts in March.

Tampa Leader Among Three Named to Women's Hall Of Fame

Gov. Rick Scott this week chose three inductees for the Florida Women's Hall of Fame, selecting a co-founder of Keiser University, a groundbreaking pediatrician and a Tampa woman who has worked to protect abused and neglected children.

Scott announced the choices late Wednesday from a list of 10 nominees offered by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women. The governor's office said the inductees are:

  • Mary Lee Farrior, 77, the founder and a board member of Tampa’s Mary Lee’s House, which helps children who have suffered from abuse and neglect; 
  • Evelyn CahnKeiser, 91, co-founder and chairwoman emeritus of Keiser University;
  • And the late Charlotte Edwards Maguire, the first female pediatrician in private practice in Orlando and the first woman physician to be president of the Florida Pediatric Society.
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