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

Vaccine Access Expands At Pharmacies

Jul 1, 2015

Floridians will be able to receive more vaccines at their local pharmacies under a law that takes effect Wednesday.

Pharmacists are already able to administer vaccines that fight some viruses, like influenza and shingles, but the new measure (HB 279) would add several others, including shots targeted at measles, mumps and rubella; tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (or whooping cough); and human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cancer.

The new law will also allow pharmacy interns to be certified to give vaccines.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt a major blow to death penalty opponents, upholding the use of a controversial drug as part of a three-drug execution cocktail. The vote was 5-4, with unusually passionate and sometimes bitter opinions from the majority and dissenting justices.

A Florida judge is blocking a new state law that requires women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion.

Tallahassee Chief Circuit Judge Charles Francis on Tuesday blocked the law today, a day before it was scheduled to take effect.

Florida insurance regulators will start reviewing health plans for discriminatory practices after three insurers were accused of charging higher prices for HIV drugs.

States may continue using a popular but controversial drug in lethal injection executions, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a 5-4 decision.

The right to marry in any state won't be the only gain for gay couples from last week's Supreme Court ruling. The decision will likely boost health insurance among gay couples as same-sex spouses get access to employer plans.

The logic is simple. Fewer than half of employers that offer health benefits make the insurance available to same-sex partners who aren't married. Virtually all of them offer coverage to spouses.

Parents, take note! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's vaccine committee has expanded its recommendation for immunization against meningitis B, a rare but potentially deadly strain of meningitis.

The committee's revised guidance, issued late last week, broadens the group of young people that the CDC thinks should consider getting the shot, and increases the likelihood that health insurance policies will pay for the injection.

Children's Medical Network Challenged

Jun 29, 2015

The families of four Florida children with special health-care needs have filed a challenge to a new state process that removed them from a program providing services to medically fragile kids.

On Thursday, attorneys for the families filed an administrative challenge to the Florida Department of Health's process, contending that the agency has been screening youngsters out of the Children's Medical Services Network without accepting public input or following other rule-making requirements.

More With SNAP Buying From FL Farmers

Jun 29, 2015

Food stamp recipients in Florida are buying a lot more from farmers and farmers markets.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says expanding access to fresh produce for SNAP recipients has been a top priority.

Redemptions under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly the Food Stamp program, have ballooned since 2008 by more than a thousand percent.

Amy Rupert-Secol is chief vegetable officer at Homegrown, a Central Florida food co-op. She says even more could be done to get low-income families to shop local.

More than 100,000 Floridians depend on electrical power to keep life-saving medical devices running, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The interactive map released Tuesday shows that nationwide, 1.6 million Medicare patients need power for medical devices.

Saturday is National HIV Testing Day. In the lead up, groups across Florida are offering free tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

  Many Florida Department of Health offices are conducting simple blood tests for HIV and syphilis.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision on health subsidies keeps intact the way more than 1 million Floridians buy and pay for insurance through HealthCare.gov.

People like Phil Ammann. After nearly a decade without insurance, the St. Petersburg resident on Thursday was thrilled by the news. A $300 subsidy means he pays just $93 a month for coverage.

Gov. Rick Scott vetoed nearly $57 million from the state’s Health and Human Services budget Tuesday, including $9.25 million for biomedical research.

Medicaid health plans, which lost $543 million in the first half-year of Florida’s Statewide Medicaid Managed Care program, have been hoping for major rate relief Sept. 1, when the second year of the program begins.

The Agency for Health Care Administration has proposed a rate increase averaging 6.4 percent for the coming year, ranging from less than 1 percent in the Pasco-Pinellas Counties region to 14 percent in two north Florida regions that cover rural counties.

Poison Ivy came out as a transgender woman to her family in January.

Her grandmother kicked her out of the house. 

“She didn’t want to see me transitioning,” said Poison Ivy, who asked that her real name not be used. “It’s just so hard for her to notice that her grandson, someone that has loved her for a long time is becoming a woman.”

So Poison Ivy moved in with friends. Some of them don’t know what the 18-year-old does for a living.

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