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

The FDA has issued an advisory and recall for all liquid drug products made at Davie-based drug company PharmaTech. This is the second recall in the last 10 months, including products widely used by infants and toddlers.

The first contamination advisory was issued after Burkholderia cepaci was found in the drug company's water system. B. cepacia,  a bacteria known to cause pneumonia in people with weakened immune systems and cystic fibrosis, among other diseases, has potentially serious effects. The contaminated water was used during the manufacturing of each liquid medication.

When Florida lawmakers approved a last-minute budget in special session earlier this year, $20.4 million in federal funding for mental health services expired with no plans to make up for it.

Now, mental health and substance abuse facilities across the state are looking at slashing services—sometimes in half—because of the surprise de-funding.

A second Miami judge has ruled that recent changes to Florida's Stand Your Ground self-defense law are unconstitutional.

The waning of Zika outbreaks in the Caribbean and South America has helped slow the spread of the mosquito-borne virus in Florida this year, according to health officials.

Florida hospitals recently learned that an agreement between the state and federal governments will provide them with up to $1.5 billion to cover care for people who can’t pay.

But local governments will have to put up $559 million in matching funds before hospitals can access all of that money.

Steube Returns With Gun Bills For 2018 Session

Aug 14, 2017

Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube, who filed a string of firearm-related bills that died during the 2017 legislative session, has reintroduced two — focused on courthouses and private businesses — as lawmakers begin submitting bills for the 2018 session.

Law enforcement has been cracking down on corruption in South Florida’s drug treatment industry. State and federal officials have arrested more than 30 people for running scams in rehab centers or sober homes in the past year.

But the facilities are often filled with recovering drug users from out-of-state. And when the homes shut down, the residents frequently wind up on the street.

A sentencing hearing in a Medicare fraud case against a prominent Florida eye doctor separately accused of bribing New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez was postponed Thursday at the last minute.

President Trump says he is ready to declare the nation's opioid crisis "a national emergency," saying it is a "serious problem the likes of which we have never had." Speaking to reporters at the entrance to his Bedminster, N.J., golf club, where he is on a working vacation, Trump promised "to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis."

Hospice care is for the dying. It helps patients manage pain so they can focus on spending their remaining time with loved ones. But in recent years, nearly 1 in 5 patients has been discharged from hospice before he or she dies, according to government reports.

Florida's Department of Health has licensed two additional medical marijuana treatment centers.

The mother of a Manatee County girl found dead in a freezer has been sentenced to 65 years in prison.

Lawmakers To Again Consider `Direct Primary Care'

Aug 10, 2017

After the issue stalled in the Senate at the end of this spring's legislative session, lawmakers could take up a proposal in 2018 that would clear the way for doctors and patients to enter into “direct primary care” agreements.

The more than 43 million passengers traveling through Orlando International Airport each year will now have access to free CPR training. The American Heart Association debuted its first hands-only CPR kiosk there Wednesday.

The Trump administration's own actions are triggering double-digit premium increases on individual health insurance policies purchased by many consumers, a nonpartisan study has found.

Role-playing games like "Dungeons and Dragons" have risen in popularity in recent years, even being featured on hit shows like Netflix's "Stranger Things." But a Tampa Bay area mental health therapist is putting a new spin on it.

One in five women report having experienced rape, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Florida State University doctoral candidate Wayne Rivera says that means many people know a sexual assault survivor, whether they realize it not.

"The way I'm defining it at least, which includes friends and partners. Most people tend to know a victim. Maybe they disclose to them or not. But most people will tend to know a victim or survivor," Rivera said.

Why We All Scream When We Get Ice Cream Brain Freeze

Aug 9, 2017

Ah, the brain freeze — the signature pain of summer experienced by anyone who has eaten an ice cream cone with too much enthusiasm or slurped down a slushie a little too quickly.

But have you ever stopped mid-freeze to think about why our bodies react like this?

Well, researchers who study pain have, and some, like Dr. Kris Rau of the University of Louisville in Kentucky, say it's a good way to understand the basics of how we process damaging stimuli.

But first, a lesson in terminology.

State legislators came to Palm Beach County Tuesday to discuss the opioid crisis.

After more than four decades as a journalist, Health News Florida’s founder and former editor Carol Gentry is retiring from WUSF Public Media.

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