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  • MHS Glove logo

    Hospital Board Adopts Lowest Millage Rate Ever Despite Challenges Brought on by the Pandemic

    South Florida, like other areas of the country, has experienced serious surges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a high demand for healthcare services and challenges across hospitals. Medical teams cared for a high level of COVID-19 cases coupled with steady patient volumes in other clinical areas, such as cardiac and cancer.

    Memorial Healthcare System has been on the forefront of the pandemic, managing up to 738 COVID-19 positive patients at the peak of the latest surge, while also investing $16 million in personal protection supplies, and supplementing its front line with close to 1,000 contract nurses to address the constant needs brought on by the pandemic this past year.

    Such level of response had significant impact on Memorial’s finances, yet the Board of Commissioners for the South Broward Hospital District, which oversees all actions for Memorial, voted Wednesday to still move forward with the adoption of the lowest millage rate ever recorded for the district. This latest millage reduction to 0.1144 marks the 11th year in a row that the Board has voted to lower the overall millage rate, resulting in the lowest rate in the history of the South Broward Hospital District. Commissioners supported their decision based on Memorial’s strong financial position and having the ability to provide that reduction to residents in south Broward County.

    What does the lowest millage rate represent?

    The 0.1144 millage rate represents a 4.59 percent decrease from last year’s rate of 0.1199. The resulting gross tax revenues are estimated to reach $7.7 million. After accounting for early payment discounts and a certain percentage of uncollectible taxes, the anticipated tax payments this year of $7.6 million will provide the District enough revenue to cover its governmental obligations, which include paying Broward County’s Medicaid Match program and community redevelopment agencies in several municipalities in south Broward County, as well as tax collector commissions and property appraiser fees.

    The newly adopted millage rate will leave no net tax revenue to fund uncompensated care, the District will use operating income to cover all uncompensated care costs for the entire Memorial Healthcare System, including its six hospitals and its eight Memorial Primary Care clinics. In fiscal year 2022 uncompensated care is projected to exceed $967 million.

    Memorial’s Minimum Wage Increase

    On a separate and unanimous vote, the Board of Commissioners also approved an increase in the Memorial Minimum Wage, from $13 an hour to $15 an hour – an investment of over $8 million in Memorial’s workforce. This is the second minimum wage increase in the last six months.

    This historic reduction of this millage rate coupled with the increase in minimum wage also comes at a time when Memorial Healthcare System continues to offer a comprehensive array of services, such as cardiac and stroke care, Level 1 trauma services, maternity, kidney transplant and many others. Memorial’s quality and safety has been recognized nationally by Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization that collects and transparently reports hospital performance. Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute continues to receive outstanding ratings from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, placing Memorial in the top 1% of U.S. cardiovascular centers for 2017. Memorial also remains one of only a handful of public hospitals in the nation to achieve AA, Aa3 financial ratings by Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s, respectively.

  • dr barbara raphael pet scan for prostate cancer

    Memorial Healthcare System First in South Florida to Offer Prostate Cancer Detection Imaging Agent: PYLARIFY

    Implementing the latest technologies in prostate cancer care, Memorial Healthcare System became South Florida’s first hospital system, and among the first nationally, to utilize PYLARIFY® (F-18 DCFPyL), post FDA approval. PYLARIFY is a prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) PET imaging agent that targets and identifies suspected metastasis or recurrence of prostate cancer.

    PYLARIFY was developed to target PSMA, a protein that is overexpressed on the surface of more than 90% of primary and metastatic prostate cancer cells. Once PYLARIFY binds itself to the PSMA protein, it lights up, enabling the PET scan to detect and locate the disease.

    “Conventional imaging has significant limitations in detecting prostate cancer, both in initial staging and when the cancer has recurred or spread after initial treatment,” said Dr. Jonathan Silberstein, MD, chief of Urology and Uro-Oncology, Memorial Healthcare System. “The evolution of imaging technology through this agent allows us to detect the cancer in a much earlier time period, so we can direct therapies more efficiently.”

    The collaboration between specialists highlights Memorial Cancer Institute’s multidisciplinary approach in treating prostate cancer patients. A dedicated team of cancer experts in radiology, medical oncology, urology and radiation oncology work together to provide patients with better options that advance prostate cancer care.

    Smart Snippet: Video
    Datasource: PSMA PET Scan for prostate cancer      

    Ignacio Castellon, MD, chief of Radiation Oncology, Memorial Cancer Institute, whose team administers cancer treatment to control or eradicate malignant cells, adds, “The PSMA PET scan highlights exactly what areas we need to treat and whether we should take a more localized treatment approach or offer more systemic treatment to achieve optimal results for our patients.”

    “This transformative diagnostic tool helps clinicians develop treatment plans based on a much more accurate understanding of a patient’s distribution of disease,” said Barbara Raphael, MD, chief of Nuclear Medicine, Memorial Healthcare System and Medical Director of PET Imaging Institute of South Florida. “This is a game changer for radiation oncologists, urologists and medical oncologists as they are able to be more precise in treating patients, and even more important for the millions of men who have prostate cancer and have historically had no answers as to the extent of their disease. PYLARIFY takes them out of the dark and provides them with hope that they will finally have answers.”

    For more information, patients can contact the Memorial Cancer Institute at 954-265-4325 or visit PET Imaging Institute of South Florida's Prostate Cancer page. Patients will need a signed order from their treating physician prior to scheduling a PSMA PET scan.

    Lantheus, the manufacturer of PYLARIFY, is evaluating a PSMA therapeutic agent for targeted prostate cancer therapy, which will complement its detection technology.

  • doctor examining long hauler patient

    Memorial Healthcare System Expands its Covid-19 Long Haulers Clinic to Community at Large Beginning September 1

    Memorial Healthcare System (MHS) is expanding its Memorial Primary Care Long Haulers Clinic to treat community members who are suffering from COVID-19 long-term symptoms. The clinic, which opened in May 2021, originally treated only patients within the Memorial Primary Care group, but had set a goal of expanding care to the entire community this summer.

    As COVID-19 case numbers soar, there is an increasing need to treat long-haulers – those individuals who are experiencing long-term symptoms, also known as Post Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC). Since Memorial’s long hauler clinic opened in May, 115 patients have been treated and this number is expected to climb exponentially.

    “We are seeing people in our community suffering, and a Memorial multidisciplinary team has come together to make sure these lasting side effects are addressed, so our patients are able to resume life in a post-pandemic era,” says Melida Akiti, vice president of Memorial’s Ambulatory Program and Community Services. “As a healthcare system, we are continuously finding ways to invest resources to help impact the lives of those in our community.”

    Smart Snippet: Video
    Datasource: Claudia's long hauler story      

    A study from the University of Washington published in February found that 32.7% of COVID-19 outpatients developed long-haul symptoms and 31.3% of hospitalized patients became long haulers. Symptoms frequently persist among patients who are relatively young and were never hospitalized. Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

    • Shortness of breath
    • PTSD
    • Blood clots
    • Headaches
    • Brain fog
    • Heart issues

    “We know that symptoms are not always uncovered through diagnostic testing or imaging, and some people are suffering and feeling unheard,” says Jennifer Goldman, DO, board certified family physician and chief of Memorial Primary Care. “Our goal is to create a patient-centric process that is guided by our primary care team and offers access to the specialty groups, tied together with a patient care navigator, to ensure their cases are moving forward in hopes of a positive outcome and return to normalcy.”

    Memorial’s multidisciplinary team of medical experts overseeing its Primary Care Long Haulers Clinic includes specialists in the following areas:

    Community members with lasting effects from COVID-19 are encouraged to participate in a screening process by calling 954-276-4340. If eligible for care, they can then make an appointment to be seen at the clinic located at Memorial Primary Care’s Silver Lakes at 17786 SW 2nd Street, Pembroke Pines, FL 33029.

    Depending on patients’ individual insurance plans, treatment may or may not be covered. Broward County residents who are underinsured may qualify to be covered by a grant from Broward County.