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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

A gun bill that’s had some problems in the Florida Senate this legislative session has passed its first House committee.

Nursing Home Generator Battles End After Changes

Jan 24, 2018

Four months of legal wrangling over requirements that nursing homes and assisted-living facilities install backup generators and have 96 hours of fuel on site came to an end Tuesday.

The nation-wide opioid epidemic is getting worse. According to Florida's Department of Law Enforcement, there were nearly 6,000 opioid-related deaths in our state in 2016--a 35 percent increase from 2015. While there is no single solution, Naples' David Lawrence Center is using a grant to use a different approach to combat the problem.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. In Florida – which has the third-highest number of trafficking reports of any state – the response includes training for health care professionals, who often encounter victims in their work but miss the signs.

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission convenes every twenty years to review proposals to the state constitution. A proposed bill of rights for nursing home residents has proven contentious. 

Florida House Looks To Spend $50 Million On Opioid Battle

Jan 24, 2018

The Florida House wants to target $50 million toward opioid treatment and prevention in the upcoming year and spend about $1 million on a statewide prescription-drug database, the top House health-care budget writer said Tuesday.

The Florida House is ready to take up two familiar healthcare reform measures Wednesday. Supporters say both bills will make care more accessible and more affordable. The plans face uphill battles in the Senate.

The month of January is dedicated to raising awareness of human trafficking. But, the Florida House and the Senate want to make awareness a year round effort.

When lawmakers arrived at the Florida Capitol on Monday, they found thousands of cutouts of brightly-colored children's hands hanging in the rotunda, signifying the start of Children's Week.

Senate Taking Up Florida Forever, Child Marriage

Jan 23, 2018

The Florida Senate on Wednesday is expected to take up a bill that would set aside $100 million a year for the Florida Forever program and a proposal that would place a statue of civil rights leader and educator Mary McLeod Bethune in the U.S. Capitol.

Doctors Wary Of Painkiller Prescription Limits

Jan 23, 2018

Surgeons complain it’s too restrictive for patients who undergo major heart surgery or hip replacement. Emergency room doctors gripe they don’t have the time or resources to comply. And pharmacists say it needs to be tweaked.

Florida lawmakers appear to be fast tracking a controversial bill that seeks to regulate the state’s pregnancy crisis centers. The measure that wades into the abortion debate has already passed the Florida House and is now heading to the Senate floor.

A particularly bad flu virus is burning through Florida and health officials say people can still protect themselves—and others.

“Getting vaccinated can prevent flu in yourself, but it also may prevent flu in people who you are not infecting,” says Dr. Brendan Flannery, an epidemiologist with the influenza division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Especially for young children or people who are at high risk of flu, it's very important that people around them are vaccinated.”

The number of legal immigrants from Latin American nations who access public health services and enroll in federally subsidized insurance plans has dipped substantially since President Donald Trump took office, many of them fearing their information could be used to identify and deport relatives living in the U.S. illegally, according to health advocates across the country.

A New York-based company has purchased a Central Florida pot operation for $43 million in cash and stock, amid expectations that the industry will explode following the voter-approved legalization of medical marijuana more than a year ago.

Florida lawmakers are looking to ensure genetic tests won’t affect eligibility for insurance coverage. The House Health and Human Services Committee unanimously passed a measure preventing insurance companies from using genetic information when making policy decisions.

Licensed Florida nurses may soon be eligible to practice in 27 other states without the red tape of getting additional licenses.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi on Thursday said Florida could soon pursue legal action against manufacturers and distributors of opioids.

Central Florida is seeing a spike in flu cases. Florida Hospital’s urgent care Centra Care locations saw 1,200 cases last week.

House Bill Takes Aim At Prescription Costs

Jan 18, 2018

Pharmacists would be required to advise people about the costs of prescriptions and whether the retail prices of drugs are lower than cost-sharing requirements imposed by insurers or HMOs, under a bill approved unanimously Wednesday by a House health-care panel.

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