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

Senate Targets Insurance Claim Denials

Feb 9, 2018

Health insurers and health-maintenance organizations would be banned from retroactively denying claims if they verified eligibility at the time of treatment and provided authorization numbers, under a bill that moved forward Thursday in the Florida Senate.

Senate Poised To Pass Needle Exchange Expansion

Feb 9, 2018

The Senate is inching closer to approving a bill that would allow hospitals, clinics, medical schools and substance-abuse treatment programs to begin offering needle-and-syringe exchange programs to reduce the spread of diseases such as HIV.

Tobacco settlement money used to prevent people from smoking has been extremely successful.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is continuing to prepare for a potential lawsuit against opioid manufacturers.

A proposal to redistribute hundreds of millions of dollars away from safety-net hospitals and toward increasing base Medicaid payments at all hospitals drew opposition Wednesday in the Florida Senate.

Lawmakers Poised To Pass 'Pregnancy Support' Measure

Feb 8, 2018

The Florida Legislature for more than a decade earmarked funding in the state budget for “pregnancy support services.”

Florida lawmakers want to restrict certain abortions for women in their second trimester. Judges in other states have struck down similar laws as unconstitutional. But legal concerns are not slowing the bill down. A warning, this story may be distressing to some.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Tampa Wednesday talking about efforts to combat the nation's opioid crisis.

‘Remote’ Pharmacies Plan Gets Senate OK

Feb 7, 2018

The Senate Health Policy Committee gave unanimous approval Tuesday to a bill that would create in law so-called “remote dispensing site pharmacies” and allow managed-care plans to use them in meeting network adequacy requirements.

House Panel Targets 'Sober Homes'

Feb 7, 2018

Florida would require additional background screening for operators of controversial recovery residences known as “sober homes,” under a bill that cleared a House panel Tuesday.

The Florida legislature is again considering banning fracking—the process of extracting oil and natural gas underground. Lawmakers have tussled over the issue in recent years, but proposal sponsor Dana Young says the process is too dangerous to allow in Florida.

After several news stories highlighted that Publix routinely denies employees access to  HIV prevention medication and growing outcry on social media, the grocery store chain announced a change of course Tuesday.

On its official Twitter account, Publix said it will now cover Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)--a medication that reduces the risk of catching of HIV. Florida leads the country in new HIV cases. 

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There has been concerns for years over a disproportionate number of cancer cases among former and current students, faculty and staff at a Bradenton high school. That has led the Manatee County School Board and Board of Commissioners to request a study from the Florida Department of Health.

Bayshore High School has been in operation since 1962, but the district’s electronic records of students only go back to 1985 and to 1993 for the staff.

The Florida House has passed a bill making it easier for law enforcement to return firearms to certain gun owners without a court order.

The Florida House has passed a bill making it easier for firearm dealers to pay for background checks.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s grassroots Poor People’s Campaign ended as soon as it started. But, nearly 50 years later, the coalition is reforming across the nation. A group in Florida has formed its own sect of the campaign, one of 32 states. And on Monday, at a press conference, the group announced its new objectives. 

A proposal to allow unused prescription drugs to be donated to low-income patients is advancing in the Florida Legislature. Florida already allows cancer drugs be donated.

Florida House members are considering cutting funding for programs that supply patients with a powerful addiction-fighting drug.

A Jacksonville addiction specialist says that move could make it harder to stem the opioid epidemic.

Lawmakers Blast Agency Over Marijuana Rules

Feb 6, 2018

A joint legislative oversight committee delivered a public shaming to Florida pot czar Christian Bax on Monday, repeatedly chiding the state health official and others as they sat silently while the panel shredded regulations intended to carry out a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

Groups Warn Against ‘Premature' Workers' Comp Changes

Feb 6, 2018

After lobbying the Legislature to makes changes to the workers’ compensation insurance system for the past 18 months, business leaders are backing off this year.