Abe Aboraya

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.

Contact Abe at 407-273-2300 x 183 on Twitter @AbeAboraya or by email

The head of the Veterans Administration is in Orlando today to dedicate the new VA hospital in Lake Nona. VA Secretary Bob McDonald will be the keynote speaker at an event, which will include elected officials.

The $620 million dollar facility broke ground seven years ago, and has been plagued with delays. The clinic began seeing patients in February, and the hospital will continue opening in phases through the rest of 2015.

Navy veteran Tom Pokorski said the new facility is an improvement over the VA clinic at Lake Baldwin, which is old and over-crowded.

Two Valencia College students in Orlando have filed a lawsuit alleging students were "browbeat" into having pelvic ultrasounds performed on them.

Valencia College hasn’t been served the lawsuit, filed late last week, but defended its use of student volunteers.

Health care’s a growing industry. But not all health care jobs are created equal.

The board that oversees Florida’s universities on Monday will look at whether Florida graduates enough health care workers to meet demand and it could lead to new programs. 

For years, hospitals in Florida have been fighting over the right to add new trauma centers. That fight came to an end this week, as four new trauma centers opened in Florida: One in Miami, one in Sarasota, and two in Central Florida.

Health News Florida's Abe Aboraya spoke with WMFE's Morning Edition Host Nicole Creston:

NC: Historically, there’s been one trauma center in Central Florida, and that’s Orlando Regional Medical Center. But that’s not the case anymore.

Celisa Perez is at a small shop in the heart of Orlando’s Vietnamese community, not far from Little Vietnam, getting small needles pushed into her face.

Perez has had migraines for 30 years. She’s tried three different medicines to prevent them, but none of them worked. She tried a chiropractor and herbal supplements, but still the debilitating migraines came two to three times a week.

So now Perez is trying acupuncture.

“Deep…breath in…and out,” says Van Nguyen, an acupuncturist.

Florida officials have a new proposal to try and keep $2.2 billion federal health fund for the uninsured.

The Low Income Pool, or LIP, reimburses hospitals for the care of uninsured patients. The new plan would reimburse based on the quality of care.

The Agency for Health Care Administration took public comment for the first time Wednesday. Poinciana retiree Jim Guth said he supports the program, but doesn’t like the strings attached to federal dollars.

For the first time today, the public will get to weigh in on what to do with a federal program for the uninsured that’s created gridlock in Tallahassee. The Wednesday meeting in Orlando kicks off a series of statewide hearings on the Low Income Pool, or LIP.

An Orlando nonprofit that 3-D prints free bionic arms for children is expanding. And to kick off the expansion, they gave a 3-D printed arm to autistic 12-year-old.

Wyatt Falardeau had his arm amputated shortly after birth. He’s a huge fan of Blue Man Group, and earlier this month, they gave him a new robotic arm.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Wyatt said.

 Nearly thirty companies will be competing to build new nursing homes in Florida. And with 1,700 applications for only about 500 new beds, competition will be fierce.

Florida just ended a 15-year moratorium on new nursing home construction.

Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Elizabeth Dudek said this could be the last big round of new nursing homes because of a cap.

Accidental deaths from drug use is up 26 percent in Orange and Osceola counties, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Heroin overtook cocaine as the deadliest street drug last year. Heroin was found in 89 deaths in Orange and Osceola counties last year, that’s compared to 19 heroin-related deaths in 2011.

Cocaine was a close second, with 88 deaths, and was often used in combination with other drugs. That’s an 89 percent increase from 2012.

 Florida Gov. Rick Scott stopped shy of saying he would veto an expansion to Medicaid. Speaking to reporters in Orlando Tuesday, Scott said the federal government can’t be trusted to pay for Medicaid.

But when pressed, he stopped short of saying he would veto an expansion to the health insurance program for the poor.

The conservative political group Americans for Prosperity is taking aim at Senate President Andy Gardiner’s Medicaid expansion plans.

The mailers were sent to voters in the districts of 23 state senators, including Senate President Andy Gardiner. Officials from Americans for Prosperity said in a statement the current plan doesn’t do enough to curb health care costs.

The group, backed by the Koch brothers, wants to expand telemedicine, eliminate government oversight of health care and allow some health care workers to do more.

A decade from now, Florida is expected to be short 7,000 doctors.

The University of Central Florida is looking to tackle some of that.

Deborah German, dean of the UCF medical school, said Thursday the school wants to expand the training doctors get after getting a medical degree. The specialty residencies would focus on psychiatry, surgery and emergency medicine.

And it would offer the opportunity to get new federal money, German said.

The Florida Department of Health has confirmed a measles case in Central Florida.

The measles was diagnosed in an international traveler who stayed at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee March 16 and March 17.

The unidentified traveler spent most of the time in Osceola County, but also visited Miami-Dade, Orange and Sarasota Counties while contagious.

Frank Gilbert has been nudged a few times while riding a bike to work. Nudged is his term for cars bumping into him.

If you close your eyes and think of someone riding a bike to work, you might picture spandex and neon helmets. Maybe jean shorts and a handlebar mustache.


Opponents of a bill restricting public bathroom use based on a person’s born gender spoke out in Orlando Tuesday. The Single Sex Public Facilities Bill cleared a house committee last week, and could be heard by a committee as early as next week.

The bill imposes fines and possible jail time for transgender Floridians using the bathroom of the sex they identify with. For example, a transgender man who identifies as a woman could not use the women’s restroom.

Florida tops the nation with the number of residents getting subsidies to buy health insurance through the federal health insurance exchange. One reason: state legislators decided against expanding Medicaid, the state’s health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

Florida Hospital CEO Lars Houmann was in Tallahassee as the legislative session kicked off, urging lawmakers to take billions of dollars and give health care to nearly a million more Floridians.

Matthew Robinson loved to have eggs for dinner.
But they were out the evening of November 4, 2010. So the 10-year-old and his brother Mark walked out of their Kissimmee apartment and headed across the street to the Kangaroo convenience store.

While crossing the street to come home, a city bus made a left turn into the crosswalk and hit the two boys.

Nursing home beds have been in short supply in Florida for more than a decade.

But the Agency for Health Care Administration on Friday will authorize its top picks to add another 3,100 spots across the state.

The end of this 14-year moratorium can’t come soon enough for Lillian Lara of Orlando.

Her 87-year-old father fell in December and, after a hospital stay, he’s had a bed in the short-term rehabilitation section of The Commons at Orlando Lutheran Towers.

 Two competitors are suing to stop a new psychiatric hospital in Brevard County from being built.

A judge said this week that he wants a hearing on the case by this summer on the 74-bed, $16.4 million hospital approved by the state last December.
But Devereux Florida, a nonprofit behavioral healthcare services provider, is asking a judge to reverse that, saying it can provide the care with its 100 beds.

No one directly involved with the case responded to interview requests.