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Back in July, our blog discussed how the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a controversial set of quality ratings for U.S. hospitals, awarding one to five stars based on 64 measures of quality. Overall, the state of Florida's performance in the ratings was largely mediocre, with five stars being awarded to only two hospitals.

Interestingly enough, the financial website WalletHub recently released the results of a study ranking the 50 states and the District of Columbia on their respective healthcare systems and, once again, the Sunshine State did not fare especially well.

After examining and awarding points for three different factors -- access, cost and outcome -- WalletHub ranked Florida as having only the 38th best healthcare system in the nation.

Those states earning the highest ranking included Minnesota (1), Maryland (2), South Dakota (3), Iowa (4), and Utah (5), while those earning the lowest ranking included Alaska (51), Louisiana (50), Mississippi (49), Nevada (48), and Arkansas (47).

Experts who examined the study indicated that the primary reasons for Florida's low ranking in the study -- which has nothing to do with overall quality of medical care -- were low scores in both access to healthcare and cost of healthcare.

They also indicated, however, that several steps taken during the last legislative session should help improve Florida's performance in both of these categories going forward:

  • A measure was passed that, while stopping short of allowing physician's assistants and nurse practitioners to practice independently of a licensed physician, allows them to prescribe certain controlled substances.
  • A measure was passed that, while stopping short of permitting and regulating telemedicine, created a taskforce to study the issue and make recommendations.
  • A measure was passed to end the practice of surprise billing, which involves charging patients for the difference between the amount the insurance covers and the cost of the procedure.
  • A measure was introduced calling for hospitals to stop "price gouging" by posting average prices for procedures online, serving as reference point for patients looking to compare prices.

It's worth noting that Florida did rank fourth in the nation for retaining medical residents, a major victory considering the state's growing population.

Here's hoping we see a better ranking next year ...

If you or your medical organization has questions or concerns about legal exposure, health care compliance or other regulatory issues, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more.

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