FROM: Honorable Daniella Levine Cava, Commissioner, District 8
TO: Governor DeSantis
DATE: March 3, 2020
As our state confronts the threats of COVID-19, it’s imperative that all tools are deployed aggressively to triage the healthcare challenge our residents face.
We know that the best way to minimize the impact of the Coronavirus in our communities is to know who has it and for them to take appropriate medical care.
To that end, I believe that no Floridian should be denied the ability to be tested for Coronavirus because of barriers with their insurance plan, or due to lack of insurance coverage. In short, we must minimize, or eliminate, the financial burdens for any individual who needs to be tested.
I would urge you to mobilize the state’s Office of Insurance Regulation to implement any directives allowed under Florida law to waive fees for any patient who needs to be tested for COVID-19. Further, Floridians covered under Medicaid should also see any fees waived.
Equally important is to avoid denying individuals the ability to get tested when medical professionals recommend they do. The headlines late yesterday afternoon from our local CBS affiliate confirming that a patient was denied testing for COVID-19 is counterproductive to the strategies healthcare professionals have outlined to confront the crisis. CBS reported that “in what may be the first case of coronavirus in South Florida, a woman who recently returned home from Italy says she was told by doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital that she “likely” has COVID-19, but that they are unable to verify it because state and federal officials refused to conduct the necessary tests to confirm it.” I know you are committed to deploying all available state resources and would urge you to ensure that testing kits be made available to test any patient a medical professional deems necessary. We must avoid scenarios like the one reported by CBS of a patient denied testing though she recently traveled to an area facing an outbreak.
These coordinated efforts will ensure that any high-risk patient, or those who feel they have been exposed to Coronavirus, can be properly tested and appropriate steps followed.
We stand ready in Miami-Dade County to be an equal partner with the state of Florida and your leadership to take decisive steps, in a unified front, to ease the challenges and mitigate the fears among our residents.
Yours in service, Daniella Levine Cava Miami-Dade County Commissioner, District 8