Julio Ochoa

Health News Florida Editor

Julio Ochoa is editor of Health News Florida.

He comes to WUSF from The Tampa Tribune, where he began as a website producer for TBO.com and served in several editing roles, eventually becoming the newspaper’s deputy metro editor. 

Julio was born and raised in St. Petersburg, and received a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University. He earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and worked at a paper in Greeley, Colo., before returning to Florida as a reporter and as breaking news editor for the Naples Daily News.

Contact Julio at 813-974-8633, on Twitter at @julioochoa or email julioochoa@wusf.org.

  

The state has received reports of more than 268 million gallons of sewage that spilled onto roads and into water around Florida so far this year and nearly 95 percent of it happened in Pinellas County during Hurricane Hermine.

Members of Pinellas County's legislative delegation say the early closure of a sewage plant is a main reason why the city of St. Petersburg had to release millions of gallons of partially treated sewage into Tampa Bay during Hurricane Hermine.

At a delegation workshop Tuesday city officials explained that the Albert Whitted plant near downtown could still be running today, but closed in April 2015. At the time, city officials told the state another sewage plant in the southwest part of the city could handle the additional load.

St. Petersburg has a plan to minimize sewage spills during major rain events and the Department of Environmental Protection wants to ensure it follows through.

Downpours from Hurricane Hermine forced wastewater facilities in at least 15 communities around the Tampa Bay area to release millions of gallons of sewage onto residential streets and into water bodies over a seven day period that ended Tuesday.

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday again rejected a Zika funding bill that the House passed in June.

A Tampa firefighter who lives in Pinellas County is the first person with a locally-transmitted case of Zika in the Tampa Bay area.

  Transparency is the new buzzword in health care with consumer demand fueling changes to state laws and giving birth to websites that publish prices for medical procedures.

WUSF partnered with WLRN in Miami to launch their own database called PriceCheck. But we're not the only game in town.

  With the first locally-transmitted case of Zika in Tampa Bay the question on everyone’s minds is where?

Rep.  David Jolly, who represents Pinellas County, is pushing for an answer.

State officials are investigating Pinellas County’s first non-travel-related case of Zika virus, according to a release from Gov. Rick Scott’s office.


  Mindfulness meditation is designed to settle and ground you in the present moment.

That's something that Carole Kinder had a difficult time with after her husband was diagnosed with cancer.

There is only one confirmed case of travel-related Zika in Sarasota County, but that didn’t stop a large crowd of people from bringing their concerns to a forum about the virus.

Next year Aetna will stop offering health insurance on the Affordable Care Act's public exchanges in Florida and 10 other states.

The move leaves Floridians with fewer choices and ever increasing rates.

Eight people face charges after authorities say they received $157 million in fraudulent insurance claims as part of a scheme involving prescription compounding pharmacies in Pasco County and the Miami area.

Between Oct. 2012 and Dec. 2015 the suspects are accused of submitting $633 million in fraudulent reimbursement claims for prescription compounded medication to Medicare, Tricare and private insurance companies, authorities said.

When students head back to school in South Florida, they’ll get supplies they don't typically see.

The state will deliver mosquito repellent to school districts, colleges and universities in hopes of stopping the spread of Zika.

  Researchers say a vaccine for the Zika virus will not be available until at least 2018.

And that's with various trials being fast-tracked as the number of people believed to be infected by mosquitoes in Florida climbs.

  Now that Zika is being transmitted in Florida, epidemiologists expect to see pockets of Zika outbreaks to crop up around the state.

Pregnant women are being asked to stay away from the Wynwood neighborhood in Miami.

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Zika-related travel warning for pregnant women to an area just north of Downtown Miami after 10 more people were suspected of getting the virus locally.

Florida health officials have identified 10 more people who likely contracted the Zika virus through a mosquito bite in the Miami-Dade County area, bringing the total to 14.

Two more possible non-travel-related cases of Zika virus are being investigated in South Florida, the Florida Department of Health confirmed Wednesday.

  Florida environmental regulators passed new rules Tuesday that will increase the levels of some toxic chemicals allowed in Florida's water.

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