Health News Florida

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

FDA Rules Could Snuff Out ‘Cigar City’

Tuptim Ploysawon has worked at J.C. Newman Cigar Factory for almost five years.
Lottie Watts WUSF

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 11:23 am

 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants to add new regulations to additional tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, pipe tobacco and cigars.

The proposed regulations are not going down well in Tampa's Ybor City, which has been rolling out cigars since 1886.

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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
7:49 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Jobs Needing Less Education Growing

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 1:04 am

Home health aides, medical assistants and other workers with less than a four-year college degree account for nearly half of the health care workforce in Florida and across the country, a new Brookings Institute analysis reports.

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Health News Florida
2:35 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Trauma Industry Fight Nears End

Credit Tampa General Hospital

Florida's trauma drama could be almost finished.

With an appeal deadline passing Monday, the Florida Department of Health and hospitals owned by HCA Health Care chain appear to have prevailed after a three-year legal and political battle about approving new trauma centers.

The key point came last month when an administrative law judge upheld a rule that the department proposed for determining where trauma centers could be allowed across the state. Hospitals in the Tampa Bay and Gainesville areas unsuccessfully fought the proposed rule and then had until Monday to appeal.

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Health News Florida
12:39 am
Tue July 22, 2014

FL Nursing Forecast: 50,000 Short

The Florida Board of Governors addressed Florida's need for 50,000 nurses in a workshop with medical-school and nursing-school deans.
Credit workingnurse.com

Based on current trends, Florida will be short by more than 50,000 registered nurses by the year 2025, a nursing expert warned a committee of the State University System's Board of Governors on Monday. 

While the number of nurse training programs in the state has doubled in the past four years, most of the students are emerging as licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses with just a two-year or associate's degree from college.

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Health News Florida
10:13 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Court: Agency Wrong in Money Distribution

Credit Wikimedia Commons

An appeals court Monday found that the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities did not properly carry out a law that created a new system of funding services for people with developmental disabilities.

The case, brought on behalf of four people with disabilities, focused on a system known as "iBudgets." Lawmakers in 2010 approved moving to iBudgets, but Monday's decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal said rules proposed by the agency to carry out the law "directly conflict with and contravene the Legislature's clear language."

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Health News Florida
10:13 am
Mon July 21, 2014

FL Department of Health Asks About Diseases from Border Kids

Dr. John Armstrong, FL Surgeon General

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 10:24 am

Florida Gov. Rick Scott's administration expressed concern in a letter Friday about reports that the federal government planned to send unaccompanied immigrant children from the Southwest border to Miami over the weekend, seeming to be unaware that it is a regular practice and asking for any health information the government had about the minors. The letter seemed unusual to immigration attorneys who say the practice has been going on for years.

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Kaiser Health News
9:01 am
Mon July 21, 2014

FL Blue Signals Rate Hikes Ahead

Florida Blue CEO Patrick Geraghty

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 9:03 am

Florida Blue, the state’s dominant health insurer, snagged more than one in three consumers on the health law’s exchange this year, but many could face rate hikes as the carrier struggles with an influx of older and sicker enrollees, said the company’s top executive.

Several factors could drive up rates next year — including a paucity of younger and healthy enrollees and a greater-than-expected surge in people seeking expensive health services, CEO Patrick Geraghty said in an interview.

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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
7:11 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Hospital ER Legal Fight To Cost State

Credit Wikimedia Commons

The state Agency for Health Care Administration last month dropped an appeal in a long-running legal fight about payments to hospitals that provide emergency services to undocumented immigrants.

But an appeals court Wednesday ordered AHCA to pay the legal fees of a coalition of hospitals that have battled the agency for more than two years about the emergency-services issue.

The state's Medicaid program pays hospitals for emergency care provided to undocumented immigrants, but the case focused on the extent of services that should be covered.

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Health News Florida
11:19 am
Wed July 16, 2014

1,200 with Critical Needs Off Waiting List

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:48 am

About 1,200 Floridians with critical needs will be getting enrollment letters from the Agency for Persons with Disabilities in the next two weeks.

Those with critical needs on the agency’s waiting list as of July 1 will be offered enrollment in the Home and Community-Based Services Medicaid waiver.

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Health News Florida
11:05 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Florida's Pain Killer Crackdown Has Results And Unintended Consequences

Sherry Benjamin of Fort Myers got addicted to pain killers after a slew of surgeries. Her addiction was fueled by the state's unfettered prescription pill crisis. But in 2011, state officials cracked down on medication like oxycodone. Like many other addicts, the crackdown left Benjamin with an addiction and no resources. So, she turned to other drugs. And experts warn there is going to be a surge of addicts finding solace in other more dangerous drugs, which could be Florida's next battle.

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 2:51 pm

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports prescription pill related deaths in Florida fell sharply in the past few years.

State officials have said it’s a sign laws aimed at cracking down on “pill mills” in the Sunshine State are working. But, addiction specialists say the crackdown has had some unintended consequences. 

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Health News Florida
8:17 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Prescription Drug Database Could Get Tougher Restrictions

 After Florida lawmakers failed to address the issue this spring, health officials are advancing an effort to tighten security on the state's prescription-drug database.

The Department of Health is floating a new rule that would lay out terms and conditions for use by law enforcement and investigative agencies after critics were unable to convince the Legislature to require court orders to access the database.

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

33 FL Hospitals Rank in U.S. News Report

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 11:11 am

Florida's largest hospital is also its best, according to the annual U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals ranking announced today.

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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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