Kelly Beach

Thanking our legislators for investing in healthcare

The Florida Legislature passed monumental health care legislation and funding this year. Our communities across North Florida will benefit from additional access and infrastructure to meet their needs. The passage of the “Live Healthy” legislation (SB 7016, 7018) is a testament to our policymakers’ and health leaders’ commitment to investing in a healthier and more stable Florida.

We would like to express our gratitude to our local champions State Senators Jay Trumbull and Corey Simon and State Representatives Shane Abbott, Jason Shoaf and Griff Griffitts, for prioritizing the health of our state’s residents. The approved healthcare legislation ushers in a modern approach to advancing healthcare innovation, strengthens the healthcare pipeline and improves access to behavioral health resources.

All said, this legislation allows for greater access to healthcare including:

● $134 million in increased Medicaid reimbursement for mothers and babies

● $10 million of recurring funds for rural hospital capital improvement projects

● $50 million per year for a healthcare innovation fund

● Increased funding for healthcare workforce pipeline programs

● $100 million in education funding at teaching hospitals

● $11.5 million in behavioral health services.

● $50 million additional dollars for Slots for Docs program – a program to increase medical residencies

The rural hospital capital funds have already benefited the Panhandle communities near Sacred Heart Gulf and Emerald Coast. These resources will ensure we can continue to provide life-saving care to the poor and vulnerable across North Florida.

The money allocated for nursing residency allows Ascension Sacred Heart Bay to further expand and develop the breadth of talent that already exists in our residency nursing program, and will provide us with the opportunity to cement an innovative learning environment. We plan to utilize this training environment to connect with our community school districts and provide training opportunities to our local high schools’ career and technical education.

The historic legislation and focus on health care this year will strengthen our sites of care and enhance the services provided to the thousands of Floridians who trust Ascension with their health needs every day. We are grateful to be part of a community of leaders who are putting our patients first and adequately preparing for what lies ahead.

Thank you,

Robin Godwin is president and chief executive officer of Ascension Sacred Heart Bay; Kelly Beach is administrator and chief nursing officer of Ascension Sacred Heart Gulf; and Bryan Walrath is president and chief executive officer of Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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