Health News Florida

Health News Florida
6:33 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Florida Leads in ACA Enrollment, See Why

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 6:55 pm

Florida continues to lead every other state using the federal marketplace health insurance marketplace, with just over 1.3 million who were enrolled or were automatically re-enrolled in a health plan as of Jan. 23.

The high numbers are due to high demand, federal health officials say.

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Health News Florida
5:13 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

United Way Suncoast Offers Free Tax Help

Credit Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

It's tax season, and for the first time, people filing tax returns will be asked if they have health insurance. Under the federal health law, there is a tax penalty for not having insurance.  United Way Suncoast is once again offering free tax prep help.  This year, they're partnering with Covering Tampa Bay, a group that works to enroll people in health plans.  Danielle Laughlin is an income strategies manager for the United Way.

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Health News Florida
9:23 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Sheriff Explains Medical Pot Bill Support

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 9:34 am

The latest push to legalize medical marijuana in Florida is getting support from law enforcement.

Back in November, voters defeated Amendment 2, and state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, now wants to run the idea by Florida's legislature.

One supporter of this legislative approach is Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who tells WUSF News that  while he opposed Amendment 2,  there's more to like in SB 528.

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Health News Florida
8:45 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Scott's Budget Includes Iffy Fed Money

Gov. Rick Scott

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 8:31 am

Despite uncertainty about whether the federal government will agree to continue the program, Gov. Rick Scott's proposed 2015-16 budget includes funding for a program that many hospitals say is crucial to caring for poor and uninsured patients.

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Health News Florida
5:12 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Free Clinics Beat Insurance, for Some

Gary Babcock of Clearwater
Carol Gentry Health News Florida

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 10:32 am

With open enrollment for health insurance ending in just two weeks, the push is on to get everyone who qualifies signed up. But some of the uninsured are balking, and it’s not only the so-called “young invincibles” who think they don’t need it.

Gary Babcock of Clearwater, for example, is neither young nor invincible.  He’s 55, with diabetes so severe he has to give himself daily insulin shots.

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Health News Florida
10:14 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Senate Bill Targets Troubled Prison System

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 9:32 am

With Florida's corrections system under scrutiny because of inmate deaths and alleged misconduct, a Senate committee next week will take up a wide-ranging bill aimed at improving prison safety and addressing issues such as the use of force by guards.

The 29-page bill is slated to go Monday to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, which heard testimony last week from newly appointed Corrections Secretary Julie Jones. During that testimony, Jones pointed to problems including understaffed prisons and a lack of training for guards who deal with mentally ill inmates.

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Health News Florida
8:41 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Ex-NFL Players Drop Pounds, Boost Health

Former NFL Players (from left) Rob Taylor, Brian Holloway, James Harrell, and Jason Maniecki pose with Dr. Jon Paul Gonzalvo
Tampa General Hospital & USF Health Bariatric Center

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 9:40 am

Many people struggle with their weight, and former athletes are no exception.

But athletes who gain weight once they retire are at a higher risk for serious medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. That's why four retired NFL players, including two from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, teamed up as part of a weight loss study by Tampa General Hospital and the USF Health Bariatric Center to tackle their obesity.

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Health News Florida
7:42 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Lawmakers Want Review of 'Baker Act'

Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, is one of two lawmakers proposing revisions to Florida's Baker Act law.
Credit Florida House of Representatives

Two South Florida lawmakers have filed bills that would require a review of Florida's "Baker Act,'' which allows for the involuntary commitment of people who have mental illnesses and are considered dangers to themselves or others.

The proposals (SB 514 and HB 505), filed by Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Boynton Beach, and Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, will be considered during the legislative session that starts in March.

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Health News Florida
1:58 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

GOP Lawmaker Files Medical Marijuana Bill

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 8:42 am

There's a new push to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, and a Republican lawmaker is leading the charge.

Though a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana failed in November, Republican lawmaker state Sen. Jeff Brandes has filed a bill to make medical marijuana legal for Florida residents.

"Amendment Two really was kind of a take-it-or-leave-it offer," said Brandes, R-St. Petersburg. 

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Health News Florida
10:12 am
Mon January 26, 2015

GMO Mosquitoes May Be Set Loose in Keys

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 8:55 am

Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases.

Never before have insects with modified DNA come so close to being set loose in a residential U.S. neighborhood.

“This is essentially using a mosquito as a drug to cure disease,” said Michael Doyle, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, which is waiting to hear if the Food and Drug Administration will allow the experiment.

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Health News Florida
7:56 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Agency Backs Off Cuts to Child-Intervention Program

Wikimedia Commons

The state Department of Health on Friday backed off a plan to cut millions of dollars from an early-intervention program that serves babies and toddlers with developmental disabilities and delays.

The department last week notified the state's 15 Early Steps offices that $4.2 million would be cut from the program's budget effective immediately -- in the middle of the fiscal year. A department official told the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday that the cuts had originated in Washington.

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Health News Florida
7:42 am
Sat January 24, 2015

AHCA Plans to Close Three Field Offices

Elizabeth Dudek
Credit Agency for Health Care Administration

With Florida now enrolling most Medicaid beneficiaries in managed-care plans, the Agency for Health Care Administration plans to close three field offices this summer, Secretary Liz Dudek told lawmakers Thursday.

The agency last year closed field offices in Tallahassee and Ocala and plans additional closures of offices in West Palm Beach, Panama City and Alachua.

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Health News Florida
12:14 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Heroin ODs Spike After Pill Mill Crackdown

Kelly Steele, Orange County Drug Court

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 12:27 pm

Bill Gettle has been on the brink of death from a heroin overdose more than once.

Three years ago he overdosed and had to be revived with a reversal drug called Narcan.

“I didn’t really care,” Gettle said. “I was using amounts I knew I’d seen other people die from. In my early 20s, I lost more than one friend to overdose.”

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Health News Florida
12:14 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Shot Can Rescue Opiod Overdose Victims

University of Washington Health

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 12:07 pm

For more than 40 years, there’s been a drug that can stop a heroin overdose in its tracks, if someone gives the drug in time. 

 

And it turns out that the same drug works for patients who overdose on prescription painkillers such as morphine or OxyContin --drugs called opiods because they mimic the action of opium.

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Health News Florida
9:20 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Nearly 1.3M Enroll in FL on HealthCare.gov

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 9:13 am

 The Obama administration is moving closer to its goal of 9.1 million people signed up for private coverage under the president's health care law.

Florida leads the federal marketplace states, with 1,270,995 people enrolled. Texas has nearly 920,000.

The Health and Human Services Department says at least 400,000 people signed up last week. That brought total enrollment in the 37 states served by HealthCare.gov to more than 7.1 million.

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