Health News Florida

Since 2006, Health News Florida has provided in-depth journalism on health policy issues in our state.

Health News Florida is a project of WUSF Public Media in Tampa and is heard on public radio stations throughout Florida. It also is available online at http://health.wusf.usf.edu

The mother of a victim of the Pulse Night Club shooting will be watching from the Capitol tonight as President Donald Trump gives an address to a joint session of Congress.

New estimates through mid-2016 show Florida's surge in syphilis cases continued last year, with cases of infectious syphilis jumping statewide by 36 percent by the middle the middle of year.

Syphilis in Florida grew by a shocking 72.8 percent from 2010 through 2014, and continued to grow by nearly 20 percent the following year. In some parts of South Florida, the rate of infection per 100,000 people is greater than in major cities like Los Angeles. Southwest Florida counties like Lee and Sarasota saw small numbers of the disease triple or quadruple during that six-month period.

If you drink more alcohol than you want to or should, you're not alone. A nationwide survey by the National Institutes of Health found that 28 percent of adults in the U.S. are heavy drinkers or drink more than is recommended.

Yet, most heavy drinkers don't get the help they need.

Sen. Marco Rubio said he has not held an open forum with constituents because the room would be packed by "liberal activists" and wouldn't be productive.


A Planned Parenthood affiliate has won a battle over whether doctors can perform abortions and sonograms at a Florida health center.


For 18 years, Florida’s voice for expanding health-care coverage has been a group known as Florida CHAIN.

But now two of CHAIN’s former employees are launching their own non-profit, called Florida Consumer Health Alliance. That has set up a power struggle among former colleagues.

Top Florida Republican lawmakers are heading to Washington D.C. soon to discuss potential healthcare changes with their Congressional counterparts. They want President Donald Trump’s administration to blockgrant Medicaid funding. But some Floridians worry the sick and the poor will lose their health insurance.

At least 157,000 kids in Florida could lose food stamps under legislation moving in a Florida House committee Thursday.

Legislation by Frank White, R-Pensacola, sends Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eligibility requirements back to pre-recession levels.

Florida health officials who oversee the medical marijuana program have started processing identification card applications for patients and caregivers.


Bill Would Permit Optometrists To Perform Surgery

Feb 24, 2017

A state senator Thursday proposed a bill that would allow optometrists to perform surgical procedures, rekindling a long-running political battle between optometrists and ophthalmologists.

House Panel Favors ‘Stand Your Ground’ Shift

Feb 23, 2017

A move to shift the burden of proof in "stand your ground" self-defense cases is off to a fast start in the House, where the controversial proposal died a year ago.

Congressman Matt Gaetz, R-FL, said he wants to turn full control of the Medicaid health insurance over to Florida and the other states. It’s part of Congress’ ongoing debate about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. But Gaetz offered few details.

Florida has not had any locally transmitted cases of Zika so far in 2017. And the number of travel-related cases has fallen drastically in the dry season.

But tests of new mosquito-fighting methods are still moving forward in the Florida Keys.

The first U.S. trial of genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes — the kind that carries Zika and dengue fever — is still on track for the Keys, just not on Key Haven. That's the island that Oxitec, the company that makes the genetically modified mosquito, chose for its test site.

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis held his third public listening session on health care reform in Wesley Chapel on Wednesday night.

House Panel Backs Lawsuits Over Abortion Injuries

Feb 23, 2017

As a similar proposal emerged in the Senate, a House panel Wednesday supported a controversial bill that could help clear the way for women to file lawsuits against doctors who perform abortions.

NCCIH.gov

No law in Florida prevents health insurance companies from changing the cost of a patient's prescription drugs -or from dropping coverage all together of that drug - in the middle of a 12-month contract.

But a bill filed in the Florida legislature forces insurers to stick by those contracts.

Senate Backs Direct Primary Care Bill

Feb 22, 2017

A Senate committee Tuesday approved a measure that would clear the way for "direct primary care" agreements between doctors and patients — and raised the possibility of using such agreements in the Medicaid program.

Democratic State Senator Victor Torres filed a bill Tuesday to allow first responders to get worker’s compensation coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder.

House Supports Unanimous Juries In Death Cases

Feb 22, 2017

Juries would have to unanimously decide that defendants should be condemned to death, under a fast-tracked proposal aimed at fixing the state's death-penalty sentencing system after a series of court rulings have put executions on hold in Florida for more than a year.

Influenza season is at its peak nationwide, and Florida is no exception. That's obvious on the map at the Centers for Disease Control website.

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