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

States across the country are struggling to hold off a rising tide of opioid abuse and Florida is no exception.  But the return of harsh penalties for possession—a hallmark of the war on drugs—is frustrating a broad spectrum of advocates and officials.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, pleased that his demands were met on crafting the bill to repeal Obamacare, said he was ready to announce his support for the Republican backed legislation, the Miami Herald reported.

Florida Zika Cases Top 100 This Year

Jul 14, 2017

Florida has had 101 cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus this year, with most involving people who brought the virus into the state after being infected elsewhere, according to numbers posted on the state Department of Health website.

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

About 50,000 gallons of partially-treated sewage overflowed Wednesday from a water treatment plant in south St. Petersburg.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Manatee and Sarasota Counties have seen overdose deaths from drugs like heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil spike in the past few years. At the same time, the number of children being removed from their homes and placed into the area’s foster care system has skyrocketed. There’s a connection between the increases.

The next few days will be critical for Senate Republicans' effort to repeal and replace key parts of the Affordable Care Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will release a new version of the bill Thursday, and aims to hold a key vote on it early next week.

If that process fails, McConnell has floated the idea of working with Democrats on a bipartisan measure. "No action is not an alternative," he said in Kentucky during the July 4th recess. "We've got the insurance markets imploding all over the country."

Florida Citrus Harvest Lowest In Decades

Jul 13, 2017

The final forecast of the 2016-2017 season for Florida's struggling citrus industry shows the orange crop falling 16 percent from the previous season — which, itself, had been at a five-decades low.


A federal judge has dismissed a request to stop aerial spraying of the pesticide Naled in Miami-Dade County, describing the plaintiffs' complaint as "poor" and recommending they get a lawyer before pursuing further legal action.

A 3-year-old boy is in a cast from the waist down for an injury suffered while jumping at a trampoline park in Tampa, his family said Tuesday, in a case that has circulated nationally on social media and raised questions about age restrictions for the activity.


Florida is enacting tough new penalties on dealers of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

The St. Petersburg Free Clinic’s health center has a new home and it’s twice as big.

The clinic outgrew its space in downtown St. Petersburg and was experiencing a backlog of appointments and longer wait times.

Court Clears Way For Challenge To Water Standards

Jul 12, 2017

Nearly a year after a state regulatory commission approved controversial new water-quality standards, an appeals court Tuesday ruled that a pulp-and-paper industry group should be able to challenge the measures.

Crippling Medicaid Cuts Could Upend Rural Health Services

Jul 11, 2017

Each day as Ginger Peebles watches daughter Brenlee grow, she sees the importance of having a hospital close by that delivers babies.

Settlement Reached On Services For Disabled Inmates

Jul 11, 2017

In a move that could affect thousands of Florida inmates, attorneys representing disabled prisoners and the Department of Corrections have settled a lawsuit accusing the state of discriminating against prisoners who are deaf, blind or confined to wheelchairs.

In a Sarasota neighborhood with no doctor’s offices and little access to health care, a new clinic in Newtown is bringing medical care and so much more. 

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Parts of the stalled Senate health care bill could hurt those addicted to opioids, according to U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor. The Tampa Democrat says if the bill passes, it will limit access to substance abuse treatment.


Floridians in need can now use a mobile app to locate food banks and support services across the state. 

Over the last two decades, more workers have died at Tampa Electric’s power plants than at those run by any other Florida utility.

Last year, the pesticide Naled was one of several tools officials used to control mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus. Dr. Michael Hall was one of many Miami Beach residents who protested, saying Naled exposure leads to symptoms like headaches and nausea. He and other protesters also expressed fears the pesticide could have longer-term health effects.

Sarasota County could be on the hook for $300 million in medical bills for care that private hospitals gave to poor patients after a state Supreme Court ruling Thursday.


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