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Governor's Budget to Support Protection, Promotion, and Improvement of Floridians Health

By Florida Department of Health, Office of Communications

January 28, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2015

Contact: Communications Office
(850) 245-4111

GOVERNOR SCOTT’S “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” BUDGET TO SUPPORT PROTECTION, PROMOTION AND IMPROVEMENT OF FLORIDIANS HEALTH

TALLAHASSEE—Today Governor Rick Scott proposed more than $13.5 million in his “Keep Florida Working” Budget to support the health of Florida families and communities. The budget prioritizes protecting Floridians through research for diseases, enhanced surveillance and readiness for highly contagious diseases, early detection of cancer, and giving newborn babies a healthy start through genetic counseling.

Governor Rick Scott said, “Our ‘KEEP FLORIDA WORKING’ budget not only funds vital programs that help with the growing fight against cancer and Alzheimer’s, but also allows the Department of Health to continue the important work of ensuring our great state is the best prepared in the nation to respond when an infectious disease is identified. I will remain committed to making sure all Floridians and visitors know we are prepared to take action to handle any emerging threats that may impact our families and visitors.”

“Governor Scott is clearly committed to improving the health of Floridians through this year’s ‘Keep Florida Working’ Budget,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “The Governor’s leadership during the Ebola crisis is a great example to the rest of the nation how an issue of that magnitude should be handled. This year’s funding will allow the department to remain prepared for other emerging health threats across the state. I am also pleased to see a great investment in research in an effort to find answers for families and loved ones dealing with the most pressing questions posed by diseases of the central nervous system.”

Recommended Funding Highlights

$8 Million for Brain Disorder Research

Governor Scott’s “Keep Florida Working” Budget includes new funding that more than doubles the state’s investment in research for diseases of the central nervous system. This budget establishes a consistent source of state funding to assist Florida’s elite neurological research and treatment centers in earning prestigious national designations from the National Institutes of Health. Included within this $8 million in funding is $3 million for the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program to fund additional research. The budget also expands funding for competitive peer review grants awarded to promising research project proposals for various neurodegenerative and neurobehavioral disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease, autism, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and mental illnesses.

The need for breakthroughs in brain disorder research grows more apparent each year as the number of retirees increases in Florida. Florida is now second only to California among all states in terms of residents over age 65 living with Alzheimer’s. The Governor’s budget will fund much needed ADC-designated centers that are part of an elite national network that shares new ideas and research results. In addition to conducting cutting-edge basic, clinical and behavioral research, ADCs also train some of the most talented scientists and healthcare providers across many different disciplines, and enjoy privileged access to federal funding opportunities. This year’s budget puts Florida on the map for fighting back against these debilitating diseases.

Dr. Dennis Dickson, Mayo Clinic, Professor of Alzheimer’s Research, said, “Governor Scott’s investment in neuroscience research is critical to meet the needs of Florida’s patients, which leads the nation in the number of elderly, per capita, at risk for neurodegenerative brain disease. Even as research money from the Federal government and industry declines, the need for basic discovery and its translation to treatment and prevention still grows. Mayo Clinic looks forward to working with Governor Scott to make Florida the destination for patients seeking answers and a nurturing environment for scientists seeking cures.”

Dr. Kenneth Brummel-Smith, Charlotte Edwards Maguire Professor, Chair of the Department of Geriatrics, Florida State University and Chair of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Grant Advisory Board, said, “It is encouraging to know that Florida is placing special attention on finding better treatments and cures for diseases that affect so many people in our state. The peer-reviewed research that will be possible through this funding will bring us new answers to help those suffering with Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders.”

Denise Jordan, Executive Director, American Parkinson Disease Association’s South Florida Chapter, said, “The American Parkinson Disease Association is thrilled that Governor Scott’s 2015 budget plan has committed much needed resources toward unlocking the causes of deadly and disabling neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and ALS commented. “APDA has funded more than $42 million in Parkinson research over the last 50 years and we welcome this much needed enrichment of resources to move the needle toward better treatments and cures.”

$3.5 Million for Safety and Protecting Communities

Governor Scott’s “Keep Florida Working” Budget commits more than $3.5 million to ensuring Florida is prepared to handle any contagious disease that poses a risk to the health and well-being of Florida families, in addition to ensuring reliable resources are available for reporting vital statistics during a health care emergency. This funding will be used to ensure safe and effective care is available to all patients while protecting health care workers and first responders. It will also be used to develop an electronic reporting system to allow updated medical information to be shared with facilities across the state to better support efficient and effective treatment of infections and diseases.

Bruce Rueben, President of the Florida Hospital Association, said, “Making sure our hospitals are equipped to quickly and effectively respond when a contagious disease is reported in our state is vital to protecting Floridians. The Governor’s financial commitment to preparing for emerging health threats is further confirmation our state is ready to respond.”

Kingman Schuldt, President of the Florida Fire Chiefs Association, said, “The 2015-16 budget demonstrates the Governor’s commitment to maintaining the health and safety of first responders during any type of emerging pandemic event across the state. Ensuring the men and women with the knowledge and skills to handle this type of incident are able to have the most lead time possible allows our state to maintain the highest level of readiness.”

$1.5 Million for Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program

Florida ranks third in the nation in the number of new breast cancer cases per year and has the 10th highest cervical cancer death rate. Governor Scott’s 2015-16 budget commits more than $1.5 million to programs aimed at helping residents get diagnosed earlier in an effort to help more Floridians fight back against this deadly disease. This allocation directly impacts the number of women who are able to get screened and diagnosed and promotes additional outreach, education and screenings in the 38 Florida counties reporting the highest rates of late-stage breast and cervical cancer.

Dr. Daniel Armstrong, Chair of the Biomedical Research Advisory Council, said, “Governor Scott’s administration recognizes the devastating consequences of cancer for both the patient and those who care for them. This recognition concretely translates into commitments to funding for research on cancer treatment, a focus that will yield more rapid advancement in prevention, earlier and better treatment, greater opportunities for Florida to be a leader in eliminating this disease, and ultimately, fewer deaths due to cancer.”

Dr. Alan F. List, President and CEO of Moffitt Cancer Center, said, “Cancer screening is paramount in protecting the women of Florida from the burden of late-stage cancer diagnoses. Governor Scott’s continued commitment to funding toward breast and cervical cancer will help alleviate the impact cancer has on the women in our great state.”

University of Florida President W. Kent Fuchs said, “The emphasis Governor Scott has placed on cancer prevention, specifically for breast and cervical cancer in Florida, is both remarkable and essential if we expect to make an impression on reversing these harmful trends. More money for early detection screening and diagnoses means greater awareness and lives saved.”

Dr. Stephen D. Nimer, Director, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said, “Breast Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American women. By improving access to screening and treatment for low-income women, Governor Scott has again shown his commitment to improving the chances for each and every woman in Florida to win the fight against cancer.”

Dr. Thomas J. George Jr., Chair of the Cancer Control and Research Advisory Council (CCRAB), said, “Florida is leading the way in cancer research, and this proposal by Governor Rick Scott demonstrates again a priority on research that focuses on effective prevention, treatment and cures for our patients and their families. This priority is helping to position Florida as a destination for biomedical research and cancer care.”

Robert Morris, Managing Director of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s (ACS CAN) Southern Region, said, “We are grateful for Governor Scott’s ongoing work to make cancer research such a high priority to help the people of Florida.”

$600,000 Long Term Genetic Services

Governor Scott’s budget provides $600,000 in recurring funds that will support the Long Term Genetics Program. The program allows access to genetic evaluation, diagnosis and counseling for Children’s Medical Services (CMS) eligible and sponsored individuals at risk for or with metabolic or genetic disorders and their families. These dollars support The Florida Department of Health’s continued efforts to provide Florida families access to highly skilled doctors who provide genetic counseling on often rare and difficult to diagnose conditions, which will help families of these children find answers to their many questions. Long Term Genetics provides not only a diagnosis but also long-term treatment for these rare conditions.

Dr. Paul Pitel, Chairman, Genetics and Newborn Screening Advisory Council, said, “Early diagnosis and better management of children with special health care needs helps families and the physicians who provide care to these children. We are grateful to Governor Scott for his continued funding of this important program.”

Dr. Alan B. Pillersdorf, President, Florida Medical Association, said, “Governor Scott’s budget ensures the Florida Department of Health can continue to play a vital role in serving children who are diagnosed with genetic conditions who receive care at one of the three designated CMS Genetic Centers in Tampa (University of South Florida), Gainesville (University of Florida) and Miami (University of Miami). The funding of this important work gives children in Florida with rare genetic conditions access to the services they require.”

For more information on Governor Scott’s “Keep Florida Working” Budget, visit http://www.keepfloridaworking.com.

The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.floridahealth.gov.

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