How good is Florida’s healthcare system compared to other states?
While Florida isn’t the best, it’s not the worst state to get care, with the Sunshine State ranking 22 out of 50, according to a Forbes Advisor analysis of states with the worst and best healthcare. The lower a state’s overall ranking, the worst it performed in 24 metrics spanning four categories: healthcare access, healthcare outcomes, healthcare cost and quality of hospital care.
Georgia was ranked as the worst state for healthcare in the U.S., with Minnesota ranked as the best.
“In the worst states for healthcare, accessing healthcare may be more challenging due to high costs, a lack of health insurance coverage, too few healthcare providers and barriers to receiving timely and effective care,” the report states, noting that most of the worst states for healthcare in the country were in the South, while most of the best states for healthcare were in the Northeast.
In South Florida, where the cost of living is expensive, many families are struggling to find affordable housing, living with food insecurity and don’t have health insurance. (About 16.7% of people in Miami-Dade and about 15% of people in Broward under age 65 don’t have health insurance, according to the latest Census figures.)
Paying for medical services and procedures also isn’t cheap, even with insurance. Plus, you want to find a doctor that’s right for you — and avoid those involved in medical fraud or who are in trouble for malpractice.
Here are some tips to help you find care:
Tips to find care in Florida
▪ Check your doctor’s license and do an online search for reviews. While word of mouth can help you find a good doctor, it’s always a good idea to check their license to make sure the doctor is actually qualified to provide care in Florida. Use the health department’s online portal to check a provider’s license to make sure it’s active and if there are any complaints or disciplinary actions logged. Search your doctor’s name online too to see what reviews come up, as well as possible complaints and lawsuits.
▪ Find a community health center near you. Health centers provide care on a sliding fee scale to make sure everyone has access to care, regardless of insurance or ability to pay. You can use the nationwide health center online locator that’s available through the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. This locator will let you search for a center anywhere in the United States. Use your device’s GPS to find a site or search by city, ZIP Code or address. You can also search by the center’s name.
▪ Call 211. The hotline works around the clock and can help connect you to a variety of resources, including health care services such as counseling for mental health, as well as food and housing assistance. Visit 211.org to learn more.
▪ Check with your local health department for resources. The state’s health department, for example, has an online locator to find free clinics near you and also has information on different programs.
▪ The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website has a five-star quality rating system to measure how well hospitals that accept Medicare perform on a set of measures, such as mortality, compared to other hospitals in the U.S. If you’re in need of a transplant, use SRTR.org to find and compare transplant programs on key measures.
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▪ For people living with breast cancer, depression and other conditions, nonprofits can serve as a resource and often offer a variety of services to help with care and recovery. While charitynavigator.org is a useful tool to check a nonprofit’s rating, you can also use it to find nonprofits near you. The Miami Foundation’s Give Miami Day webpage is also a good way to find nonprofits.