Letter to the Editor

Thanking legislators for investing in health care


To the Editor:

The Florida Legislature passed monumental health care legislation and funding this year. With this funding, 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 the Florida Legislature, especially Senators Clay Yarborough, Tracie Davis and Jennifer Bradley, and Representatives Paul Renner, Sam Garrison and Wyman Duggan for prioritizing the health of our state’s residents. The approved health care legislation ushers in a modern approach to advancing health care innovation, strengthens the health care pipeline and improves access to behavioral health resources.

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

  • $134 million in increased Medicaid reimbursement for mothers and babies
  • $10 million of recurring funds to rural hospital capital improvement projects
  • $50 million per year for a health care innovation fund
  • Increased funding for health care 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

This historic legislation will benefit our hospitals in Jacksonville, who are investing in innovations in cardiovascular care. Our hospitals’ cardiovascular programs are creating a robust and active clinical trials infrastructure that provides first-line access to promising new breakthroughs for heart failure, stroke prevention and AFib.

The nursing retention legislation and funding will allow Ascension St. Vincent’s to continue its health care educational partnerships in Duval County. St. Vincent’s has established a CNA career technical program with Westside High School, which allows high school seniors to perform their clinical rotations alongside our nursing teams and provides valuable learning and professional development for our community. We are also looking at partnerships with area universities and colleges to continue to attract new nurses.

The historic legislation and focus on health care passed 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,

Scott Kashman, President & CEO, Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside

Kevin Rinks, President & CEO, Ascension St. Vincent’s Southside

Cory Darling, President & CEO, Ascension St. Vincent’s St. Johns County