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

Steve Messam describes his city, Belle Glade, as having two main exports:

"Sugar," he said, "and wide receivers."

Local lore has it that National Football League standouts -- including Super Bowl-winning wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Santonio Holmes -- hone their speed by chasing rabbits through burning fields, as controlled fires strip sugarcane of excess leaves in preparation for the harvest.

Donald Trump came into office promising to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something more affordable that would cover everyone. But members of congress couldn't agree on what that should be.

Plan Would Aid First Responders With PTSD

Jan 17, 2018

A Senate panel on Tuesday gave the nod to a bill that would help first responders receive workers’ compensation insurance benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder without accompanying physical injuries.

Senate Panel Looks To 'Stem The Tide Of Addicts’

Jan 17, 2018

Doctors would be limited to ordering a maximum of seven days’ worth of potentially addictive medications for patients with acute pain and would have to consult a statewide database before writing the prescriptions, under a sweeping measure approved Tuesday by a key Senate committee.

House Panel Backs Plan For New Birth Options

Jan 17, 2018

Women with low-risk pregnancies would not have to deliver at hospitals to get epidurals or to have cesarean sections, under legislation overwhelmingly approved by a House panel Tuesday despite safety concerns raised by Florida hospitals.

The Florida Legislature didn’t waste a moment during its first week when it came to addressing the opioid addiction crisis that is exploding across the state.

Everglades National Park is a World Heritage site, and it’s under siege from drought, invasive species and sea-level rise. 

Attorney General Pam Bondi wants new laws to protect people who report sexual misconduct; Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam wants to make sure the state is prepared for a higher-than-normal risk for wildfires; and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis wants to expand worker compensation benefits for first responders so that it includes coverage for post-traumatic stress disorder.

As Hurricane Irma bore down on Florida, Gov. Rick Scott gave out his cellphone number during a conference call with administrators of the state's nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Anti-Smoking Campaign Could Be Trimmed

Jan 16, 2018

Nearly 12 years after Florida voters overwhelmingly agreed to guarantee funding for an anti-smoking advertising and education campaign, a state panel this week approved a proposal that would ask Floridians to reconsider the commitment when they go to the polls in November.

Florida may agree to permanently fund anti-abortion pregnancy centers under a bill passed by the Republican-led House.

Medical Malpractice Revision Moving Toward November Ballot

Jan 16, 2018

Florida voters may be asked in November to weigh in on medical malpractice.

House Eyes Workers' Compensation Fee Cap

Jan 12, 2018

Fees for attorneys who represent claimants in workers’ compensation insurance cases would be capped at $150 an hour under a bill the Florida House considered Thursday.

Florida has the second highest number of for-profit stem cell clinics in the United States, and a new proposal by a Tampa lawmaker would crack down on those that prey on elderly and vulnerable Floridians.

Medicaid Work Requirement Unlikely In Florida

Jan 12, 2018

While the Trump administration signaled willingness this week to allow work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries, the Florida Legislature is unlikely to move ahead with such a mandate this year.

Doctors at some of the largest U.S. hospital chains admit they went overboard with opioids to make people as pain-free as possible, and now they shoulder part of the blame for the nation’s opioid crisis. To be part of the cure, they’ve begun to issue an uncomfortable warning to patients: You’re going to feel some pain.

President Donald Trump’s mental fitness has been called into question ever since he announced his candidacy. Partially based on early morning Twitter tirades, people on the internet have assigned various mental illnesses to the president; from mood disorders to personality disorders. The trend causes discomfort for those living with mental illness and the people who treat them. 

Wildlife managers in Florida say they want to remove roaming monkeys from the state in light of a new study published Wednesday that finds some of the animals are excreting a virus that can be dangerous to humans.

The state is disputing a report that found funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program in Florida will run out in February if Congress doesn't act.

On a recent Tuesday morning, Emy Martinez walked around a couple of blocks in Overtown, looking for used needles to deposit in the sharps container in her backpack.

She didn’t find any.