Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Department of Health orders directors to bar Obamacare outreach workers from centers

The Florida Department of Health has become the latest arm of state government to distance itself from the federal Affordable Care Act. It has ordered county health units not to allow outreach workers called navigators onto their property to help uninsured people sign up for subsidized health coverage.

The order from C. Meade Grigg, deputy DOH secretary for statewide services, went out late Monday to the 60 local health department directors around the state. He wrote that the staff may accept informational materials from the navigators to hand out upon request.

"However, navigators will not conduct activities on the grounds of the health departments," Grigg wrote. He said the policy was developed after some had asked the DOH for permission to operate within state facilities, presumably because uninsured people often seek treatment there.

Dr. Marc Yacht, retired Pasco County health director, said the policy will "significantly compromise a multitude of needy Floridians from getting critical health care." He called it "cruel and irresponsible."

Grigg's note said the policy is consistent with requests from other groups in the past, which he did not name. The order makes an exception for federally qualified health centers that are operating within local health departments; 41 such clinics in Florida received $8.1 million in federal grants specifically to help uninsured patients enroll in a health plan.

The navigator program in Florida is being funded by $7.8 million in other federal grants, of which $4.2 million went to the Covering Kids & Families Program at the University of South Florida. USF is disbursing the money to 10 organizations around the state that will hire, train and supervise the outreach workers.

DOH spokeswoman Ashley Carr wrote the note was sent to provide "clarity" and "a consistent message.''

"Navigators are not acting on behalf of the Department of Health," Carr wrote, "and this program has raised privacy concerns due to the consumer information that will be gathered for use in a federal database."

This echoes remarks by Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, all Republicans who have opposed the Affordable Care Act in the past. They have said they worried about the security of the health information.

But federal officials have said repeatedly that consumers will not be asked to provide personal health information to the marketplace, and that there will be no database of such information.

Florida Department of Health orders directors to bar Obamacare outreach workers from centers 09/11/13 [Last modified: Thursday, September 12, 2013 12:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.