What They Are Saying: FHA President & CEO Mary Mayhew Meets with Hospital Leaders in Jacksonville to Discuss What’s Next for Florida’s Hospitals

Clinical Expertise

May 20, 2021

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Hospital Association President and CEO Mary Mayhew today met with hospital leaders in the Jacksonville area to discuss what is next for Florida’s hospitals. As COVID-19 related hospitalizations decrease and vaccinations increase, Florida’s hospitals are on the road to recovery. During the roundtable, leaders discussed several topics, including the Legislature’s recent deliberations and negotiations around the Medicaid budget and hospital services, critical mental health and substance use disorder initiatives to improve access to care, and important federal efforts to support access to services at Florida’s rehabilitation and long-term acute care hospitals.

“Every day, more and more Floridians are receiving the vaccine which is resulting in less COVID-19 related hospitalizations and deaths,” said Mayhew. “As Florida turns the corner on this deadly pandemic, our hospitals are preparing for what’s next, including the need to get Floridians back into the practice of good health care including, resuming routine medical exams and procedures, addressing the many challenges of mental health and substance abuse, and recognizing the critical importance of timely access to care throughout the continuum of health care services.”

Doug Baer, Brooks Rehabilitation President and CEO, said, “We appreciate FHA’s efforts to advocate on our behalf to ensure our patients can receive the highest quality care. We are encouraged by FHA’s meetings with members to discuss the issues which challenge us on a daily basis. The collaboration with the other hospital systems and FHA is highly beneficial to our organization and our communities.”

“One of the major challenges facing all hospitals is looking ahead without completely taking our focus off of the pandemic,” said Leon L. Haley Jr., CEO of UF Health Jacksonville and dean of the UF College of Medicine – Jacksonville. “The past year was challenging but also brought our hospital systems here in Northeast Florida, and throughout the state, closer together in looking for solutions. My hope is, moving forward, we continue that collaboration to help meet the needs of the public.”

“We strongly encourage our community members to get vaccinated. This is our best chance of protecting ourselves against COVID-19. Doing so will also allow us to safely spend time with our loved ones and to return to our favorite activities,” said Jon Cooper, regional president of Ascension St. Vincent’s Clay County and Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside. “Also, when health care is needed, we encourage everyone to seek care without delay. We are fully prepared to care for our community and to meet their needs.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic presented children’s hospitals with many unexpected challenges, including accommodating the alarming surge of emergency behavioral health admissions,” said Michael D. Aubin, FACHE, president of Wolfson Children’s Hospital of Jacksonville. “Like all childhood illnesses and injuries, to truly address this, we need to reach beyond the walls of the hospital into our communities to intervene upstream. Our goal is to keep kids out of the hospital to begin with by focusing on wellness and injury prevention.”

“While hospitals saved thousands of lives during the pandemic, what suffered for many Floridians was continuity of care,” said Michael A. Mayo, DHA, FACHE, interim CEO of Baptist Health of Northeast Florida. “As a result, we all must bend over backward to overcome the mental and physical toll, restore health, and provide access to care when, where and how people need it – whether virtually or in person.”

Today’s meeting was part of a series of roundtables convened by the Florida Hospital Association to meet with health care leaders in every part of the state.

About the Florida Hospital Association

Founded in 1927, the Florida Hospital Association is the leading voice for health care in the State of Florida. Through representation and advocacy, education and informational services, the Florida Hospital Association supports the mission of over 200 hospitals and health care systems to provide the highest quality of care to the patients we serve. Led by President and CEO Mary Mayhew, the Florida Hospital Association has offices in Tallahassee and Orlando and is governed by a Board of Trustees and officers elected by the member institutions. For more information, visit www.fha.org.

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