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

Most people in Florida who get food stamps are required to work in order to keep them.

A bill (HB 23) that’s slated to be heard by the full state House of Representatives would increase the penalties if people fail to meet those requirements. A now-competing bill in the state Senate would strike these penalties.

Senate Looks To Add Medical Marijuana Licenses

Apr 4, 2017

With the bill sponsor saying it "faithfully" carries out a constitutional amendment that voters passed in November, a Senate committee Monday approved a bill that would revamp Florida's medical-marijuana laws.

Safety Net Hospitals Oppose Potential Cuts

Apr 4, 2017

Leaders of safety-net hospitals from across the state gathered Monday at the Capitol to argue against potential cuts in Medicaid payments.

Senate Panel Backs Worker’s Comp Changes

Apr 4, 2017

With the proposal drawing opposition from business, insurance and labor groups, a Senate committee Monday approved a bill that would revamp parts of the workers' compensation insurance system.

The Florida House has voted to expand autism awareness training for law enforcement. Support for the issue amped up this session after a North Miami officer shot at an autistic man he thought was dangerous.

South Florida law enforcement and transportation officials met Friday with airline representatives and officials from the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration to continue analyzing the shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in January.

Five people were killed and six injured when a gunman opened fire in Terminal 2. Dozens more were hurt as they fled in panic from a supposed second shooter. There was only one gunman in the incident.

More Americans are living longer and surviving chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer but that’s led to rising number of neurological disorders, which disproportionately affect the elderly.

A new report from University of South Florida researchers has estimated just how much money those disorders are costing patients and the health care industry -- nearly $800 billion a year.

House Ready To Move On ‘Stand Your Ground’

Apr 3, 2017

After senators quickly approved the proposal, the Florida House could be poised to pass a bill that would shift a key burden of proof in "stand your ground" self-defense cases.

U.S. health officials have begun enrolling volunteers for critical next-stage testing of an experimental vaccine to protect against Zika, the mosquito-borne virus that can cause devastating birth defects in pregnant women.

Polk County soon could have stronger legal power in its fight against BS Ranch and Farm, which recycles human waste, out-of-date foods and mulch into soil that is sold to growers.


Back in 2015, Brazil reported a horrific a surge in birth defects. Thousands of babies were born with brain damage and abnormally small heads, a condition called microcephaly.

Scientists quickly concluded the Zika virus was the culprit. So when Zika returned last year during Brazil's summer months of December, January and February — when mosquitoes are most active — health officials expected another surge in microcephaly cases.

But that never happened.

Florida’s universities say they need more money to hire additional mental health counselors and law enforcement officers. University officials said they’re seeing a dramatic rise in students needing help coping with anxiety, depression and academic stress.

President Trump has appointed Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to a commission to help fight opioid abuse on a national level.

Hospital Funding Decision A Key In Senate Budget

Mar 30, 2017

A Senate panel Wednesday signed off on an initial health and human-services budget proposal that counts on the federal government approving $607 million for a program that sends money to hospitals.

Senate Panel To Consider Workers’ Comp Bill

Mar 30, 2017

As the legislative session nears the halfway point, a Senate committee Monday is slated to take up a bill that would revamp workers' compensation insurance laws.

Daylina Miller/WUSF News

Shirley Otten makes her way down a winding hall way that looks more like an upscale apartment complex than an assisted living facility. When she gets to Lee Dodge's door, she gently opens it to the sound of an excited little Yorkshire Terrier.

A bill that would steer more Florida drug offenders to diversion programs rather than prisons is moving forward.

House Panel Pushes Forward On Medical Marijuana

Mar 29, 2017

Pledging that it is only a start, a Florida House panel gave a thumbs-up Tuesday to a medical-marijuana proposal castigated by supporters of a constitutional amendment that legalized cannabis for a broad swath of patients with debilitating conditions.

A judge has imposed a 10-year prison sentence on a South Florida transgender woman who performed illegal buttocks-enhancements, injecting her clients with toxic materials including tire sealant and superglue and causing one woman's death.

A paralyzed man has regained the use of his arm and hand using a system that decodes his thoughts and controls his muscles.

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