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

Florida is still grappling with the pill mill crisis of four years ago.  But with the problem of too many prescriptions receding in the rear-view mirror, the problem now is too few.

A state lawmaker is hoping to add a standard threshold to what is considered “over the limit” in cases where a person is operating a vehicle and is high on marijuana.

Scott To Propose $19 Million In Mental Health Spending

Sep 22, 2015

Gov. Rick Scott said Monday he will propose more than $19 million for mental-health and substance-abuse treatment services in his recommended budget for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

State Sanctions Two More Abortion Clinics

Sep 21, 2015

Alleging that they performed second-trimester abortions without proper licenses, Gov. Rick Scott's administration is moving to sanction two more Florida abortion providers --- in addition to Planned Parenthood clinics in Naples, St. Petersburg and Fort Myers already facing potential fines. 

Researchers studying a degenerative disease in former athletes say 11 of 12 brains of deceased former NFL players tested over the past year showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, continuing a trend they've been tracking.

Prison System, Contractor Accused Of Denying Inmate Surgeries

Sep 21, 2015

Lawyers for Florida inmates have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Department of Corrections and prison health-care provider Corizon, alleging that the state agency and the company are denying hernia operations to save money.

Nemours Children’s Hospital is starting two of the largest pediatric studies in the country.

After their third son was born, Tisha Scott and her husband decided they were done having kids. So Scott, 34, of Drakesville, Iowa, decided to get her tubes tied.

"As old married people, neither of us was really interested in using condoms for the rest of our life," Scott says. "So that was the decision that we made because we knew that our family was complete."

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Florida’s Surgeon General announced he has been diagnosed with colon cancer and will be undergoing surgery today.

The news from Dr. John Armstrong came late Thursday afternoon, in a statement from the Florida Department of Health. His top deputy will be in charge during his absence.

“As I focus on my recovery, Dr. Celeste Philip will have delegated authority and has my full confidence,” the statement read.

About a fifth of Floridians are over the age of 65.

But instead of planning for final expenses, a recent AAA survey found half of Sunshine State residents don’t have life insurance.

Myths about coverage could be driving the low enrollment.

Manatee County, on Florida's west coast, is home to more than 300,000 people.  It's known for its beaches, and if you go just a short distance inland, you'll pass by the iconic fruit stands and working citrus groves.

The rate of Floridians without health insurance dropped to 16.6 percent last year.

For the first time, the Food and Drug Administration has ordered a major tobacco company to stop selling several types of cigarettes.

The FDA on Tuesday ordered the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to stop selling four products: Camel Bold Crush, Vantage Tech 13 and the regular and menthol versions of Pall Mall Deep Set Recessed Filter cigarettes.

School Nurses Stock Drug To Reverse Opioid Overdoses

Sep 16, 2015

AnneMarie Zagari found her teenage son unresponsive on the couch after he took too many opioid painkillers in 2011. She began pounding his chest and slapping his face, and finally succeeded in reviving him by giving him CPR. It was a terrifying moment. And that panic wouldn't have been necessary if she'd had access to the drug naloxone (also known as Narcan), which can instantly reverse an overdose.

"It would have been instant revival," Zagari says.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says Florida’s lawsuit climate is among the worst in the nation—for businesses. The business lobby association is pushing state legislators to crack down on trial lawyers—including one big name in the industry.

Florida Blue is introducing hybrid plans into Florida’s Affordable Care Act marketplace. They  could give consumers both more and fewer choices in providers.

Florida’s Medicaid costs will soon take up about half of the state’s new revenue. And enrollment in the program continues to grow. The increasing costs of the program has the state’s chief economist putting part of the blame on prescription drugs.

The Justice Department has reached a $69.5 million settlement with the North Broward Hospital District in South Florida, which was accused in a lawsuit of having improper financial relationships with doctors who referred patients to the district.

Medicaid Projections Cloud Predicted Forecast

Sep 16, 2015

Despite a transition to managed care meant to tame huge increases in Medicaid spending, the health-care program for low-income Floridians still threatens to consume almost half of the state's revenue growth, an economist told lawmakers Tuesday.