Monday, April 15, 2013

Politics giveth... and may taketh away

We've discussed some concerns about Tampa's "MediFuture" here.  The net of it is despite our local political and thought leaders, there are some real hurdles and issues ahead if we are to depend on the medical arts for further growth in the Tampa Bay area.

H Lee Moffitt Cancer Center

Clearly, we have some key assets we can leverage, such as H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, USF Medical, and many others in the Tampa Bay area.  But so do other areas in Florida, not to mention nation wide.  Shands in Gainesville, Mayo Clinic satellites in Jacksonville, Cleveland Clinic in South Florida, and Orlando is investing heavily with the Lake Nona Medical City, and has a branch of the renown MD Anderson Cancer Center as well.

Now, for another blow.
TAMPA - Political efforts to promote Florida as a premiere destination for cancer care are raising concern at the state’s elite oncology hospital, Moffitt Cancer Center.

The state Senate last week unanimously passed the “Quality Cancer Care and Research” bill, which establishes a legislative seal of approval for cancer centers that meet certain standards. House members are expected to take up the issue this week.

Minimum criteria listed in the bill would make 71 of the state’s hospitals eligible for the designation, meant to help hospitals attract more patients through marketing and ads on TV, billboards and newspapers. They also would earn preference in bids for state biomedical grants.
These efforts at the Florida Senate level are potentially diluting H Lee Moffit's positioning in in Florida, and the country, as a premiere destination for cancer research and treatment.
Moffitt prides itself as being Florida’s only hospital with the prestigious National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center designation, and it uses that elite title in its own advertising. The Tampa-based hospital is one of 41 such research-based programs nationwide.
"The governor wants Florida to be a destination site for people with cancer, much like MD Anderson (Cancer Center) is in the state of Texas,” List said. “That was his goal and priority to make that happen.”
The Florida Senate and Governor are trying to increase Florida's visibility as a medical destination.  That includes other municipalities in addition to Tampa.

It does appear to have caused a little consternation at H Lee Moffitt, as they may have more competition across the state for cancer treatment as additional clinics and hospitals become eligible for the new designation and can market their services.

Competition is usually a good thing, right?

But in this case, we have the State level politicians pushing an agenda that may cause some pain for the Tampa Bay area politicians and healthcare leaders, who are pushing a MediFuture for Tampa Bay.

We'll see where this all ends up.

But be aware of the political process.  What politicians giveth, they may taketh away.

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