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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

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis wants wireless networks to be better prepared for disasters. Patronis is calling on the Federal Communications Commission to enact new regulations.

For the first time, one of the new immunotherapy drugs has shown promise against breast cancer in a large study that combined it with chemotherapy to treat an aggressive form of the disease. But the benefit for most women was small, raising questions about whether the treatment is worth its high cost and side effects.

Analysis: 'Obamacare' Shapes Opioid Grant Spending

3 hours ago

With Republicans and Democrats joining forces again in a bipartisan effort to target the U.S. opioid crisis, an Associated Press analysis of the first wave of emergency money from Congress finds that states are taking very different approaches to spending it.

Already sick with strep throat and asthma, Aleeah Racette got sicker when she cleaned out a soggy, moldy home after Hurricane Michael, so she sought help at the hospital where she began life. She was stunned by what she saw there.

The federal agency that administers health insurance to low-income and senior patients is making its hospital evaluations available online. Patients will be able to see which hospitals aren’t meeting quality of care standards-and why.

With houses flattened in Mexico Beach from the storm surge and 155 mph winds of Hurricane Michael, and cellphone towers, power lines and roads destroyed, recovery and rebuilding will be a long slow process.

American Dental Association.

Early voting starts Wednesday in Hernando County, and Brooksville residents will have the opportunity to vote on whether they want to continue to have fluoride in their water.

Less than three hours before a 5 p.m. deadline, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration Friday filed a notice to appeal a Tallahassee judge’s order that struck down a 2017 medical marijuana law as unconstitutional.

Alan Rosco / Google

Orlando police officials say they will extend a pilot program for a facial recognition tool developed by a subsidiary of Amazon.

Missing relatives and worries that looters are just outside the door. Dirty clothes. Hours-long lines for gasoline, insurance adjusters, food and water. No power, no air conditioning, no schools, no information and little real improvement in sight.

Daily life is a series of fears and frustrations, both large and small, for thousands of people living on the edge, more than a week after Hurricane Michael flattened thousands of square miles in the hurricane zone of the Florida Panhandle.

Healthy Kids Premiums Waived In 12 Counties

Oct 19, 2018

The Florida Healthy Kids Corp. Board of Directors on Thursday approved a plan to waive children’s health-insurance premiums for three months in counties that sustained heavy damage in Hurricane Michael. 

Senator Bill Nelson called renewed efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act quote “irresponsible.” Nelson was speaking at an addiction treatment center in Orlando today.

All three of the flu outbreaks that have been reported in Florida so far this season occurred in Hillsborough County, according to the state.

Health Care Top Issue For Florida Voters

Oct 19, 2018

More than the economy, immigration and gun reform, health care is the number one issue for Republicans and Democrats heading to the polls in Florida this November. 

Health insurance wasn't available through his job, so Jose Nuñez turned to Medicaid, the nation's public insurance program that assists 75 million low-income Americans.

Like most people on Medicaid, the Los Angeles trucker was assigned to a private insurance company that coordinated his medical visits and treatment in exchange for receiving a set fee per month — an arrangement known as managed care.

Everglades restoration needs to do more to account for climate change.

That’s the headline of a report released Wednesday by a Congressionally-appointed committee of scientists.

The report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine says agencies involved in restoration need to do more analysis of how sea-level rise and increasing rainfall impact Everglades projects.

It's been a little over eight months since the shooting that took 17 people’s lives in Parkland. 

At a roundtable in Coral Springs City Hall on Wednesday, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and South Florida Congressman Ted Deutch met with grieving alumni, parents and students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

Hillsborough commissioners on Wednesday voted to spend $13.7 million dollars over the next year to combat opioid addiction.

With a 5 p.m. Friday deadline looming, Gov. Rick Scott has sought support from legislative leaders before appealing a Tallahassee judge’s order that critics say would create pandemonium in the state’s medical-marijuana industry if allowed to stand.

Healthy Kids Could Waive Premiums In Hard-hit Areas

Oct 18, 2018

The Florida Healthy Kids Corp. Board of Directors is expected Thursday to consider waiving children’s health-insurance premiums for three months in a dozen counties slammed last week by Hurricane Michael.

Christie Hyde DeNave/Florida Blue

About 1.6 million Floridians are enrolled in Affordable Care Act Marketplace plans.

Open enrollment starts Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15. Florida Blue offers plans in all 67 Florida counties, and covers more than half of enrollees.

Starting Wednesday, the sale of recreational marijuana begins in Canada following a law passed over the summer.

The law says anyone in Canada over the age of 18 is allowed to possess marijuana, provided it's less than 30 grams — just over an ounce. Canadians can also grow up to four marijuana plants in their home and buy from a provincially regulated retailer.

Medicare For All? CMS Chief Warns Program Has Enough Problems Already

Oct 17, 2018

The Trump administration’s top Medicare official Tuesday slammed the federal health program as riddled with problems that hinder care to beneficiaries, increase costs for taxpayers and escalate fraud and abuse.

Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), said those troubles underscore why she opposes calls by many Democrats for dramatically widening eligibility for Medicare, now serving 60 million seniors and people with disabilities, to tens of millions other people.

Zika Cases Rise; Baby Born With Zika ‘syndrome’

Oct 17, 2018

The number of reported Zika cases in Florida this year has increased to 80, while a baby has been born with a condition known as congenital Zika syndrome, according to newly updated information from the state Department of Health. 

Panhandle Suffers Massive Crop Damage

Oct 17, 2018

Hurricane Michael has taken a toll on Florida’s agriculture industry. Still recovering from Hurricane Irma, crop growers in the panhandle will need to tread on to recover from the economic impact.

St. Petersburg leaders have settled a lawsuit filed by environmental groups in 2016 after the city released millions of gallons of sewage into Tampa Bay. 

Miami's mayor is joining a list of big names on a new international climate change commission.

Mayor Francis Suarez will be part of a new "Global Commission on Adaptation," led by Bill Gates, former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and current World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva.

The commission includes 28 leaders from government, business and non-profits. They represent countries including the Marshall Islands -- one of the nations most at risk of having to relocate because of sea-level rise.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, one in five veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

But a newer form of psychotherapy is picking up traction in the veteran community.

The Catholic archdiocese of Washington, D.C., has released a list of 31 clergymen who have been "credibly accused" of abusing children over a decades-long period — a move that comes just days after Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl for allegedly covering up sexual abuse in the Church.

People in the Florida Panhandle desperately need help — in the form of cash, food and cleaning supplies — after Hurricane Michael smashed ashore as a catastrophic Category 4 hurricane.

Here's how you can help from South Florida, and avoid the scams that inevitably arise after natural disasters.


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