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

Dr. Vivek Murthy is not only one of the youngest people ever named the U.S. Surgeon General, the 38-year-old also is the first person of Indian descent to hold the post.

But there’s one more thing: he's a Floridian.

When it comes to reversing the obesity epidemic, there have been glimmers of hope that the U.S. might be making headway, especially with young children.

When 31-year-old Shannon Lawley died at a Brevard County hospital four years ago, her parents wanted to file a medical malpractice suit. But only spouses or children can sue under Florida law, and Shannon Lawley had neither.

Michael Lawley felt the law was so unfair that he protested to the legislature the year after she died, as Health News Florida reported at the time. 

Expanding Access Called Key In Addressing Health Issues

Apr 27, 2016

Speakers at a health-care "summit" said Tuesday that expanding access to care for more Floridians could save the state money.

The two-day Florida Health Care Affordability Summit, sponsored by the business group Associated Industries of Florida, included lawmakers and experts addressing topics ranging from controlling drug costs to expanding treatment options through technology.

Scott, Atwater Remain In Standoff On Insurance Chief

Apr 27, 2016

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater refused to go along with Gov. Rick Scott's nominee for state insurance commissioner on Tuesday, maintaining an impasse over a high-profile appointment that they must jointly support.

Scott and Atwater, with just over a month until the start of the 2016 hurricane season, will make a third attempt at settling their differences Friday, with Scott putting forward two additional applicants --- David Altmaier and Rich Robleto, both deputy commissioners with the Office of Insurance Regulation --- for the state Cabinet to interview.

Arguments Set In Dispute Over Immigrant ER Care

Apr 27, 2016

An appeals court will hear arguments June 7 in a long-running dispute between the state Agency for Health Care Administration and more than two-dozen hospitals about Medicaid payments for providing emergency care to undocumented immigrants.

The 1st District Court of Appeal scheduled the arguments Monday in the hospitals' challenge to a ruling last year by an administrative law judge, according to an online docket. The case has involved major hospital systems across the southern part of the state and the Tampa Bay area, such as Lee Memorial Health System, the North Broward Hospital District and hospitals that are part of the Tenet Healthcare system.

Beginning in July, if you have health insurance and go to an in-network hospital but a doctor who is not in your insurance plan’s network helps you, you aren’t supposed to get a surprise bill.

The latest Hospital Safety Scores released by the not-for-profit watchdog Leapfrog Group show less than 25 percent of general, acute-care hospitals in Florida earned an A.

Last year, nearly half earned As.

Supreme Court Blocks Abortion Law

Apr 25, 2016

A divided Florida Supreme Court temporarily blocked a state requirement that women wait 24 hours before receiving an abortion, cheering abortion rights supporters and drawing new complaints of judicial activism from the law's backers.

Scott Interviews Insurance Commissioner Candidates

Apr 25, 2016

Two days after Gov. Rick Scott professed support for his lone finalist to be the state's next insurance commissioner, the governor interviewed four others who have applied for the position.

Morgan Fires Back At Sembler Over Medical Marijuana

Apr 25, 2016

A rematch is shaping up between Orlando attorney John Morgan and Tampa Bay developer Mel Sembler over Amendment 2, a ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Florida.

Rising Number Of Florida Children Skipping Out On Shots

Apr 25, 2016

The number of children showing up to school with their required shots is dropping according to the Florida Department of Health.

While death rates from heart disease declined in Florida during the last five years, Volusia County saw a 9 percent increase in deaths.

It's been nearly two years since the Department of Veterans Affairs came under fire for the amount of time veterans had to wait to see a doctor. The agency scrambled to find a fix, including allowing vets the option of seeing a private doctor via a program they call Veterans Choice.

In coming weeks, the White House is expected to finalize key new rules on overtime pay that could benefit an estimated 6 million lower-paid salaried workers. Workers' advocates say it's a long-awaited change. Most employer groups vocally oppose the new rules, because they might have to raise their minimum salaries, pay overtime — or limit their workers' hours.

Much of the debate has pitted workers against employers.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among Florida’s youth, and a newly signed law aims to promote youth suicide prevention training in schools.

Sen. Nelson Calls For More Zika Funding

Apr 21, 2016

Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson is calling on Congress to approve Zika response funding.

Because of a new law, Florida patients won’t have to pay for medical care by doctors outside their insurance network if the service was performed at an in-network hospital.

The law effectively bans a practice called “balance billing.” But emergency room doctors say the new law misses the mark.


Impasse Remains Over Insurance Commissioner

Apr 21, 2016

Palm Harbor resident Jeffrey Bragg and state Rep. Bill Hager, R-Delray Beach, have been asked back to interview again with the Florida Cabinet for the state insurance commissioner job next week.

Court Rejects Legal Restriction In Workers-Comp Cases

Apr 21, 2016

In a potentially far-reaching decision, an appeals court Wednesday struck down a state law that restricted a police officer from paying a law firm to help her pursue workers-compensation insurance benefits.

Pages