Carol Gentry

Health News Florida Editor

Carol Gentry, founder and editor of Health News Florida, has three decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.

She covered health and medicine for the St. Petersburg Times for 10 years, for the Tampa Tribune for two years and for the Wall Street Journal for three years, in addition to being a member of the editorial board of the Orlando Sentinel in 2004-05. She has written for national magazines and been a commentator for public radio’s Marketplace; she is active in the Association of Health Care Journalists, serving as a judge for the awards each year.

Ms. Gentry was a Kaiser Family Foundation Media Fellow in 1994-95, conducting research on the managed-care movement’s impact on patients and health-care professionals. In 1996, she earned a master’s degree in public administration with a concentration in health policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She has taught health journalism at the college and professional level in this and other countries and directed the Knight Journalism Fellowships at CDC for almost four years. She also served two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia.

Contact Ms. Gentry at at 727-410-3266 or by e-mail.

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Health News Florida
11:07 am
Mon July 28, 2014

FMA Supports Medicaid Expansion

Dr. Aaron Elkin

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 1:58 pm

  The Florida Medical Association's House of Delegates overwhelmingly adopted a resolution supporting Medicaid expansion to cover uninsured low-income adults at FMA's annual meeting on Sunday, according  to doctors who were there.

(Editor's note: This story has been updated with the statement from FMA.)

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Health News Florida
7:50 am
Thu July 24, 2014

FL #1 in Rebates; Blue Owes $20M

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 2:03 pm

Insurers must pay $41.7 million in rebates to Florida individuals and employers this summer, an amount that far exceeds refunds in any other state, according to a federal report released Thursday. 

Companies affiliated with Florida Blue in Jacksonville -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and Health Options Inc. -- owe a total of $20 million, nearly half of the total.

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Health News Florida
5:35 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

How HMOs Hid Rates on State Site

Health News Florida Editor Carol Gentry

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 5:58 pm

How much will it cost Floridians to buy coverage next year on Healthcare.gov? Lots of people want to know, but the insurers are keeping the prices secret in an unprecedented way.

(Editor's note: This is a conversation between WUSF All Things Considered Host Craig Kopp and Health News Florida Editor Carol Gentry.)

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Health News Florida
11:40 am
Tue July 15, 2014

FL in Last Place for ACA Grants

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 2:36 pm

Florida ranks last in the country in per-person funding from the Affordable Care Act, a new study shows, and that doesn’t even include the billions of dollars the state is forfeiting by saying no to Medicaid expansion.

The Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation at the University of Michigan performed the analysis of ACA grant totals between the time the law was signed in March 2010 and the end of September 2013.

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Health News Florida
11:43 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Lawyers, Patients Fight Cost of Records

Barbara Allen, lead plaintiff in records suit.

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 4:58 pm

Doctors used to give patients a copy of their medical records for free. But that service is waning, as today's large group practices shed the hassle and risk by outsourcing the record-handling.

For-profit companies in the new "release of information" or "disclosure-management" industry include HealthPort Technologies LLC in suburban Atlanta and Bactes Imaging Solutions LLC in San Diego.

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Health News Florida
11:43 am
Thu July 10, 2014

State Blasts Insurers for Hiding Rates

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 2:10 pm

Florida health plans were wrong to use a state "trade secrets" law to hide their rate proposals from the public, the Office of Insurance Regulation says in letters to 15 insurers. 

In what became a nationwide embarrassment for Florida, insurers falsely placed a "zero" on the public rate-filing form for 2015 in the run-up to the June 27 reporting deadline. OIR officials say their intention was apparently to hide their actual rate proposals from one another, but it backfired when Health News Florida reported on the unusual phenomenon.

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Health News Florida
1:49 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Rebel Urologist Faces Trial; FDA Panel to Review Device

Dr. Ronald Wheeler

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 3:18 pm

A Sarasota urologist who diagnoses prostate cancer in an unusual way and treats U.S. patients at a clinic in Cancun will not agree to a suspension from practice.

Dr. Ronald Wheeler has rejected an offer from the Florida Board of Medicine to let him keep his medical license if he agrees to a year of suspension and an $80,000 fine, according to the Department of Health.

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Health News Florida
11:19 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Hospitals Fix Early-Birth Problem

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 11:18 am

 Close to 50 Florida hospitals have successfully reined in a practice that can cause big problems: Deliberately delivering an infant before the completion of the 39th week of pregnancy.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the March of Dimes are giving a banner of recognition that says "Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait" to each hospital that meet the criteria, according to a news release from March of Dimes. 

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NPR Story
1:29 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Medicaid Plans to Get Extra Drug $

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 1:54 pm

Florida Medicaid officials have decided to give an extra payment to managed-care plans to cover the unexpected cost of a new treatment for a common viral illness, Hepatitis C.

The Agency for Health Care Administration intends to make a "kick payment" to plans to help them cover the drug Sovaldi, Press Secretary Shelisha Coleman said. That's the term used when an agency gives additional payments beyond the contracted amount because of unforeseen circumstances.

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Board of Medicine
10:40 am
Wed June 4, 2014

Doctor Faces Board in Fatal Overdose

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 10:21 am

Dr. Betty Jo Carter, who practices medicine out of her home in Ruskin, will come before the Florida Board of Medicine on Friday on charges of speeding the death of a dying man with big doses of morphine and other painkillers.

That’s what the autopsy said killed Gary Lazar, who was suffering major organ failure, but Carter – who was Lazar’s friend and slept at his house to take care of him in his final days -- denied overmedicating him on purpose. He died in February 2012.

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Health News Florida
11:02 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Rebel Urologist in Trouble With State

Dr. Ronald Wheeler with his book, Men at Risk.

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 5:05 pm

When a man gets a worrisome PSA result, his doctor is likely to schedule him for a prostate biopsy. It’s the standard of care.

But if he goes on the Internet and looks around, he may get very different advice. He may find a YouTube video starring a Sarasota urologist who says biopsies are old-fashioned. Barbaric, even.

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Health News Florida
11:03 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Gaetz Letter Seeks Medicaid 'Flexibility'

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 11:03 am

  All session long, Florida's legislative leaders have frustrated advocates for the poor, as well as much of the business community, by declining to talk about the billions of federal dollars for Medicaid expansion that the state is forgoing.

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Health News Florida
9:11 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Ex-Pres. of Medicare Plan Arrested

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 10:56 am

Haider Ali Khan, patriarch of the now-defunct Quality Health Plans Inc., has been arrested and charged with more than a dozen felonies involving health-insurance fraud, state officials said.

Khan, who was president of the Tampa-based Medicare plan before it closed, turned himself in to Leon County Jail officials on April 3 and was released on $150,000 bond, according to the state Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). His arrest came 20 months after that of his son and daughter, both of whom were also executives in the company.

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Health News Florida
7:30 am
Thu April 10, 2014

FL Scientists Key in Melanoma Breakthrough

Kieran Smalley in lab at Moffitt.

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 9:10 am

In a lab the size of a basketball court, Moffitt scientist Kieran Smalley and his team study human genes and proteins involved in different kinds of cancer. Their machines whir and clang, but the researchers don't seem to hear it.

Dr. Smalley has a particular interest in stage 4 melanoma – the kind that’s so advanced neither surgery nor drugs will help.   

Half of late-stage melanoma cases are triggered by a gene mutation, called B-Raf.  There's a way to block it, Dr. Smalley says.

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Health News Florida
7:46 am
Fri April 4, 2014

HCG Clinics Beyond Board's Control

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 7:30 am

An effort to rein in a weight-loss fad that the FDA calls risky ran into a wall Thursday night at a Florida Board of Medicine hearing in Deerfield Beach.

Assistant Attorney General Ed Tellechea, the board’s general counsel, told members that state boards and agencies are no longer allowed to enact rules that could be costly to small businesses. HCG weight-loss clinics meet that definition.

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