News
9:30 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Medical Pot Likely Available This Year

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 8:39 am

Florida officials are predicting that a strain of low-potency marijuana should finally be available for medical purposes later this year.

Legislators in 2014 voted to legalize a strain of marijuana known as Charlotte's Web to treat epilepsy and cancer patients.

But there have been disputes over rules drawn up by the Department of Health to implement the law.

An administrative law judge on Wednesday threw out the latest challenge to those rules.

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News
9:29 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Hot-Button Health Issues Added To Session

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 8:22 am

The House and Senate have long been divided about a proposal to expand health coverage for hundreds of thousands of low-income Floridians.

 

But when lawmakers return to the Capitol next week for a special session, they also will wade into a series of other controversial health care issues, including a proposal to revamp insurance coverage for state workers and a push to overhaul some longstanding health-industry regulations.

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Health News Florida
9:29 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Special Session Sticking Points Nothing New

Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli.

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 12:05 am

Health care spending was the defining issue of the 2015 Florida legislative session. 

The Florida House and Senate were miles apart on the issue, and the disagreement sent the regular session to a screeching halt earlier this month.

On Monday, lawmakers will return to Tallahassee for a special session to try to pass a budget, but lawmakers appear no closer to an agreement on health spending, especially when it comes to an alternative to Medicaid expansion.

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News
9:29 am
Thu May 28, 2015

FHA President: FHIX Not a 'Handout'

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and other members of "A Health Florida Works" coalition met at the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Wednesday to talk about the Florida Senate's alternative to Medicaid expansion proposal.

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 8:06 am

Hospital administrators and Democratic lawmakers are still trying to persuade Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida House on an alternative to Medicaid expansion.

A coalition called "A Healthy Florida Works" is urging the lawmakers to accept a revamped proposal from the Florida Senate. They met today at the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce.

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Health News Florida
9:28 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Florida Getting First Breast Milk Bank

Sander van der Wel Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 12:15 am

Baby Serenity lay on her tummy in a tiny white crib at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies’ neonatal intensive care unit in Orlando. A nurse rubs her back as her chest heaves up and down with her little breaths.

When Serenity was born three months early, in February, she weighed just one pound.

“She’s a fighter, she’s a feisty little thing. She’s just a doll, she’s our little princess,” Serenity’s mom, Tiffanie Jenkins, said recently of her little girl wearing a bright yellow shirt and pink pants.

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News
9:27 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Bondi: FL Doc, Clinic Ran Pill Mill

Attorney General Pam Bondi

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 8:33 am

A doctor and eight employees of a South Florida medical clinic are facing manslaughter, racketeering and other charges in what authorities say was a massive pill mill operation.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced the arrests Wednesday as part of a five-year investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Agency and in conjunction with the Office of Statewide Prosecution.

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PolitiFact Florida
4:46 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

FL Gets Billions More From Feds Than It Gives? ‘Mostly True’

Credit politifact.com

The 2015 Florida legislative session came screeching to a halt three days early, when House and Senate lawmakers could not agree on health care funding.

The House wants no part of Medicaid expansion. The Senate has warmed up to the idea of a type of expansion that would steer federal dollars into private healthcare plans. They'll try to get this worked out during a special session that’s scheduled to begin Monday, June 1.

One of the arguments against Medicaid expansion is that Florida takes billions more from Washington, D.C.  than it gives - and that the money being offered to Florida isn't Florida's to take.

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Environment
4:17 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

U.S. Finalizes Rules To Protect Rivers, Streams From Pollution

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 2:09 pm

The Obama administration announced new clean water rules today that it says will protect sources of drinking water for 117 million Americans, rules welcomed by environmental groups, but bitterly opposed by congressional Republicans and farm state democrats.

The rules clarify which waterways fall under the Clean Water Act.

President Obama, in a statement released by the White House, said that in recent years:

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Education
4:16 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

Ex-School Boss Elia Lands Job as NY Education Commissioner

Former Hillsborough Co. School Supt. MaryEllen Elia has been named New York's Commissioner of Education

Former Hillsborough County School Superintendent MaryEllen Elia has been appointed New York education commissioner.

The New York Board of Regents voted unanimously Tuesday to hire Elia as Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York (USNY) at a salary of $250,000 a year.

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University Beat
12:03 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

USF, FIU, UCF Team Up for Student Success

USF System President Judy Genshaft addresses attendees of the Florida Consortium of Metropolitan Research Universities "student success" luncheon.
Credit Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

The University of South Florida, Florida International University and the University of Central Florida – the state’s three largest metropolitan research universities – are teaming up in an effort to improve graduation rates as well as the number of degrees they award in high-demand areas.

Combined, the Florida Consortium of Metropolitan Research Universities (FCMRU) serve an area that includes almost two-thirds percent of the state’s population and nearly half of the students enrolled in the State University System.

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Environment
11:03 am
Wed May 27, 2015

Hurricane Hunter Planes Get $42 Million Upgrade

Technician Joseph Klippel, shown in this ultra wide angle photo, works on the engines on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's P-3 turboprop aircraft "Miss Piggy" May 15 at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa
Credit AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

The hurricane planes known affectionately as “Miss Piggy” and “Kermit” are getting new Rolls-Royce engines, new wings and better radar.

Every hurricane season for nearly four decades, the two technologically packed planes have flown into storms at speeds of up to 300 mph, collecting research and forecasting data to transmit back to the mainland.

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Parallels
10:55 am
Wed May 27, 2015

In Search Of Bandwidth, Cuban Entrepreneurs Head To Miami

Miami swimwear entrepreneur Mel Valenzuela (right) explains online strategies to Cuban business owners Victor Rodriguez (middle) and Caridad Limonta (left) in Wynwood this month. Miami boutique owner Monica Minagorri (rear) watches.
Tim Padgett WLRN

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 2:56 pm

When Cuban bikini maker Victor Rodríguez visited Miami this month, he was on a pilgrimage — not just for bathing suits but for bandwidth.

The most important stop on Rodríguez's schedule was lunch in Wynwood, Miami's high-tech district, with Mel Valenzuela, who owns the online swimwear store Pretty Beachy.

As Valenzuela showed Rodríguez how to do business online, his awestruck expression seemed to evoke José Arcadio Buendía in One Hundred Years of Solitude, who when he first touches ice declares it "the great invention of our time."

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Environment
10:26 am
Wed May 27, 2015

Battle to Restore Apalachicola Bay Heads to Congress

Apalachicola Bay sunset
Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News

With the backing of 20 other members of Congress, U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla., on Tuesday unveiled a proposal aimed at restoring the health of Northwest Florida's Apalachicola Bay --- and the state's oyster industry.

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Health News Florida
9:43 am
Wed May 27, 2015

Hospital Commission Talks Performance Funding

James Coffin, executive director of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, urged the hospital commission to consider health care for the poor.

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 9:44 am

Gov. Rick Scott’s hospital commission, tasked with looking at how taxpayer dollars are used to support health care for the poor, discussed performance funding for hospitals at a meeting Tuesday in Orlando.

The nine-member group delved through detailed hospital statistics, and started brainstorming ideas for how to reform hospital payments.

Tom Kuntz, a former chairman of SunTrust, helped build performance funding metrics for Florida’s university system. Kuntz says the hospital commission could look at a similar system for hospitals.

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Health News Florida
9:40 am
Wed May 27, 2015

Valencia College Says No More Vaginal Procedures

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 9:25 am

 A Florida community college says it will no longer have ultrasound technician students practice an invasive vaginal procedure on each other after two of them filed a lawsuit.

Valencia College’s president said in a statement Tuesday that students will use simulators when practicing transvaginal ultrasound scanning.

President Sandy Shugart says an independent expert reviewed the program last summer after the students complained and concluded the procedure was done safely and professionally at the school.

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