Rick Scott and our Republican legislature have closed the only tuberculosis clinic in the state and one of few in the country, AG Holley State Hospital in Lantana. Not only did he close it, he successfully lobbied to have it closed early. The hospital shuttered it's doors on July 2nd.
Why is this news? I mean, over and above the fact that Rick Scott hates the fact that citizens of Florida have any access to health care at all?Last spring ... the GOP-dominated Legislature voted to shutter the hospital as a cost-saving measure. The state's governor, former health care executive Rick Scott, signed the bill in April and even pressed for AG Holley's closure to be moved up six months; the facility was permanently shuttered on July 2.
It seems as if Rick Scott had some bad news when he made the decision to shutter this hospital. Really bad news.
FLORIDA IS IN THE MIDST OF A TUBERCULOSIS EPIDEMIC.
Yes. The horrific disease that's killed millions around the world has returned.
Scott knew. Why didn't he tell the legislature?Welcome to the Sunshine State: Republican-run since 1998, tea party-controlled since 2010, and fast becoming one of the lowest-service states in the nation. Which helps explain how lawmakers shut down its only tuberculosis clinic last month, just as the worst outbreak of the infectious disease in America's recent history flared up with a vengeance in Jacksonville, Miami, and who knows where else—an outbreak that state and local officials sat on until last month, according to an investigation published by the Palm Beach Post.
Before the hospital was closed, it was a victim of Scott's budget ax.According to the Palm Beach Post exposé, AG Holley's closure came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had warned the governor and his state health office in a report that tuberculosis was making a big comeback in the state. That report apparently never made it from those state officials to legislators who had voted to close the TB hospital. According to the Post:
Had they seen the letter, decision makers would have learned that 3,000 people in the past two years may have had close contact with contagious people at Jacksonville’s homeless shelters, an outpatient mental health clinic and area jails. Yet only 253 people had been found and evaluated for TB infection, meaning Florida’s outbreak was, and is, far from contained.
The public was not to learn anything until early June, even though the same strain was appearing in other parts of the state, including Miami…Today, three months after it was sent to Tallahassee, the CDC report still has not been widely circulated.
Now the dirty deed has been done, what do the state legislators say?The problem is a scarcity of resources, Duval (Jacksonville) County Health Director Dr. Bob Harmon told the Post. Harmon's department had 946 workers and $61 million in the kitty during the 2008 outbreak, but now "we're down to 700 staff and revenue is down to $46 million," he said. "It has affected most areas of the organization." (Likewise, state funding for AG Holley had dwindled over the years, so that by the time its closure was on the table, the 500-bed facility only had money to handle 50 patients.)
Too late...of course, perhaps it's the victims of this outbreak who will suffer and die the most. But right now they're the homeless, so who cares?The head of the Florida House's health care appropriations committee, Rep. Matt Hudson (R-Naples), said he never would have agreed to close the hospital if he'd known about the CDC's report on the outbreak. "There is every bit of understanding that we cannot not take care of people who have a difficult case of TB,"
Certainly not Rick Scott. He's off with 85 of his closest friends, his wife and lots of lobbyists (probably health care lobbyists) on vacation to London, enjoying the sights, all paid for by the State of Florida.
Here's a photo of Scott visiting the London Zoo with his wife and a zoo employee:Gov. Rick Scott's 85-member entourage in the United Kingdom this week includes business leaders, tourism executives, and even a couple of lobbyists and mayors. The manifest, provided by Enterprise Florida, includes mayors Alvin Brown of Jacksonville and Ashton Hayward of Pensacola, along with outgoing Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who's on his third Scott trade mission.
Lobbyists who accompanied Scott across the pond include Marc Dunbar (parimutuels), Robert Hawken of FCCI Insurance Group, Fred Karlinsky (insurance and health care) and John Sebreeof the Florida Association of Realtors. Tom Van Berkel, chairman of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, is in England, as is Don Weidner, dean of the Florida State University College of Law. Mike and Nancy Crews of Custom Manufacturing and Engineering of Pinellas Park are trade mission exhibitors in London.
Also on the trip: George Zoley, chairman and CEO of The GEO Group, Inc., the private prison operator based in Boca Raton. Thirteen employees of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach are in the UK as well.
First Lady Ann Scott accompanied her husband. Others from the governor's office on the trip include press aide Jackie Schutz, Scott travel aide Brad Piepenbrink and Ann Scott's aide Sarah Hansford.
I hope he visits a TB sanitorium while there.
WHY ISN'T 007 BANNED?
12.It should be particularly attended to, to avoid any and all mention of descriptive encounters with children. It is unacceptable to bring that onto the board in any context. Do not suggest encounters with another poster and a child, or with yourself and another poster's child.
almost(as in could be?) looks like Sott held back the report. Nothing would surprise me with this piece of crap we elected.According to the Palm Beach Post exposé, AG Holley's closure came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had warned the governor and his state health office in a report that tuberculosis was making a big comeback in the state. That report apparently never made it from those state officials to legislators who had voted to close the TB hospital.
I found out after reading more info on this disease that illegals are the most common culprit for spreading the disease. Democrats again to blame for spreading a disease...
DOH goes on offensive after media reports on TB outbreak Sunday, the Palm Beach Post published an explosive article about a recent tuberculosis outbreak in Jacksonville. The report accused the state of moving forward with a reorganization of the Department of Health that includes closing the state's TB hospital while not moving quickly enough to contain the outbreak or notify key decision-makers.
The article touched a nerve in Tallahassee, where both DOH and Gov. Rick Scott's office have launched criticism. Steven Harris, the DOH's deputy secretary for health, released a statement today that said the article was inaccurate and refuted the notion that the DOH didn't notify the proper officials when it noticed the spike in TB infections.
The Herald, Tampa Bay Times and other Florida media outlets published versions of the article. And the Post is not backing away from what reporter Stacey Singer wrote.
"We stand by our story," said Joel Engelhardt, Singer's supervisor.
“The inaccuracies cited in several media reports are outrageous. As soon as the Department of Health (DOH) saw a slight spike in the FL0046 Tuberculosis strain, we immediately reached out to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and engaged stakeholders in the community. As soon as the CDC site visit was completed, we re-formed The Jacksonville Community Tuberculosis Coalition which enlisted several community partners including the City of Jacksonville, the Mayor’s office, local officials, local hospitals, the Sheriff’s office and homeless shelters. The very purpose of the coalition is to ensure the homeless population is protected, the cluster is contained and the locally affected community is informed of the isolated strain within an isolated population.
Contacting these local government officials, community organizations and hospitals is a clear sign that these actions were conducted with the utmost level of transparency.
With the misinformation that has been reported, it is important for the public to know the number of TB cases in Florida has been trending downward for several years. The increase in this particular strain of non-drug resistant TB has affected approximately 99 people over the past eight years.”