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

Nearly 9,500 Florida Blue customers had excess health insurance payments automatically drafted from their bank accounts this week.

Miami-Dade County plans to hire a full-time entomologist in its increasingly costly fight against the Zika virus.

Gov. Rick Scott has declared a public health emergency across Florida for the opioid epidemic.

More money is needed to stop overdose deaths, Manatee County leaders told state officials during an opioid workshop Tuesday.

House Approves Medical Marijuana Measure

May 3, 2017

The state would have more than a dozen pot operators — with unlimited retail locations — under a proposal overwhelmingly approved by the Florida House on Tuesday.

Compromise Water Measure Heads To Gov. Scott

May 3, 2017

Florida could bond up to $800 million — two-thirds the amount previously sought by the Senate — to speed construction of a reservoir intended to help clean South Florida waterways, under a compromise measure heading to Gov. Rick Scott.

Deadly Fentanyl Drug Ignites Senate Debate

May 3, 2017

Grappling with a deadly drug scourge across the state, Florida senators Tuesday had an impassioned debate about whether the state should require mandatory-minimum prison sentences for fentanyl trafficking.

Deaths from heroin and fentanyl overdoses have more than doubled in unincorporated Orange County.


Spurred by a 60-Minutes investigation, the Florida Legislature is moving to shut down a cottage industry of shady lawsuits that has grown up around the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Funding for a clinic to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans and Pulse first responders has been cut from Florida’s budget.

A spokeswoman says an unknown number of Florida Blue health insurance customers were charged multiple times for their May premiums.

State Workers To See Pay Raises, Pension Changes

May 2, 2017

State workers will be in line for pay raises, although the plan is coupled with major changes in the state pension fund and employee health insurance, under a bill approved Monday by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Funding For State-Level Zika Tracking May End Soon

May 1, 2017

Money that has helped states with Zika tracking and education may end by this summer, putting at risk efforts to better understand the mostly mosquito-borne virus and the devastating birth defects associated with it.


A prominent Florida eye doctor accused of political corruption was convicted of Medicare fraud Friday, increasing the odds that federal prosecutors could pressure him to testify against New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.

Calls are mounting for Gov. Rick Scott to declare of public health emergency in the wake of an estimated 4,000 deaths in Florida last year due to heroin and opioid overdoses.

One Florida city plans to train and equip all its officers with a life-saving drug, Naloxone, so they'll be able to help a drug-overdose victim if they are the first on the scene.

Legislature Moving Closer On Marijuana Plan

May 1, 2017

Eligible patients would not have to wait 90 days to get medical marijuana if doctors recommend the treatment, under a compromise measure ready for a House vote just days before next Friday's end of the annual legislative session.

Florida budget leaders will have to decide how to structure about $651 million in Medicaid cuts for hospitals and also will grapple with issues such as how much money nursing-home residents should keep each month for personal needs.

House Approves Trauma System Changes

May 1, 2017

With little discussion, the House on Friday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would change criteria for approval of new trauma centers in the state.

The House voted 93-24 to support the measure, sponsored by Rep. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City. Hospitals and the Florida Department of Health in recent years have repeatedly tangled in legal battles about whether new trauma centers should be allowed to open.

As legislators work out the details of implementing medical marijuana, pharmacists at the University of South Florida are determining how to deliver it as medication.

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