Michael Nachef, Director of Government Relations for Lee Health, addressed the Sanibel Captiva Lions Club via Zoom at their March meeting. The 105-year-old Lee Health is a largest employer in Southwest Florida and the largest provider of health care between Tampa and Miami. Unlike many other public hospitals, Lee Health receives no funding from taxing authorities. He explained that Lee Health is a “safety net” provider that fully accepts Medicaid and Medicare. Since Medicaid and Medicare only pays a percentage of the charges, they must make up for that from payments from private insurance providers to be able to break even.
He discussed the impact of Covid 19 on the community and the system. In the height of the surge, they were seeing over 350 covid patients a day. A month ago, that had dropped to 50, but recently has risen to 88 per day. He pointed out that they have conducted over 15,000 in house tests. Of these 17.5 percent were positive. He indicated that this is not surprising, because most of the tests were done on symptomatic patients. The hospital has reported almost 600 deaths. He indicated that Florida is in the middle of the pack in the US both in cases and deaths. He explained that although revenue was decreased, in part to the drop in elective procedures, and costs were increased because of the intensive care for Covid patients, the hospital has not had to let any of their 14,000 employees go.
Since Michael spends a significant amount of time in Tallahassee during the legislative session, he discussed some of the progress in the legislature and its potential impact on the health system. The Lions are grateful to the insights that he provided about health care in Lee County, particularly during the pandemic.
The Sanibel Captiva Lions Club has been serving the Sanibel and Captiva Communities for over 50 years. While the Lions Club is most known for their effort to eliminate preventable blindness, the club serves citizens of the Islands and greater Southwest Florida in a variety of ways. The local club is part of Lions Club International, the largest service organization in the world with over 1.4 million members in chapters in over 200 countries.
Sanibel Captiva Lions Club holds regular dinner meetings on the first and third Wednesday of the month during the year. Visiting Lions or other interested people are welcome to attend. For more information on the Sanibel Captiva Lions Club contact Membership Chair Lion Steven Schulz at PO Box 391, Sanibel, FL 33957, or 239-233-6261, or visit our website at www.sanibelcaptivalionsclub.org.