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Hospital administrators and Democratic lawmakers are still trying to persuade Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida House on an alternative to Medicaid expansion.

A coalition called "A Healthy Florida Works" is urging the lawmakers to accept a revamped proposal from the Florida Senate. They met today at the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce.

A doctor and eight employees of a South Florida medical clinic are facing manslaughter, racketeering and other charges in what authorities say was a massive pill mill operation.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced the arrests Wednesday as part of a five-year investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Agency and in conjunction with the Office of Statewide Prosecution.

A new study from The Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that 13 percent of Florida's 18 thousand foster youth are living in group homes instead of with a family.   That's just under the national average of 14 percent.

WUSF's Lisa Peakes spoke with the foundation 's Tracey Field about Florida's ranking.

Two Valencia College students in Orlando have filed a lawsuit alleging students were "browbeat" into having pelvic ultrasounds performed on them.

Valencia College hasn’t been served the lawsuit, filed late last week, but defended its use of student volunteers.

Under pressure from U.S. safety regulators, Takata Corp. has agreed to declare 33.8 million air bags defective, a move that will double the number of cars and trucks included in what is now the largest auto recall in U.S. history.

The recalls of passenger-side air bags, previously limited to high-humidity states along the Gulf Coast such as Florida, are now expanded nationwide by 10.2 million vehicles. 

A new study shows that 13 percent of Florida's 18,000 foster youth are living in group homes instead of with a family.

A national report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation revealed 57,000 of the 400,000 foster children in the U.S. live in group placements. Colorado had the highest number at 35 percent.

These placements have been shown to be harmful to a child's opportunities to develop strong, nurturing attachments. Those who grow up in group placements are also at greater risk of being abused and being arrested.

A new report released by the U.S. Coast Guard says more Floridians are involved in boating accidents than anywhere else in the nation.

There were close to 700 accidents and 70 deaths on boats last year statewide.  

Two top Florida legislators today spent hours meeting behind closed doors in a last-minute push to reach a deal on health care and a new state budget.

Although no deal was reached, Sen. Tom Lee, a Brandon Republican, said that a “fair amount of progress” was made during the discussions between the House and Senate budget chiefs at the Capitol.

“It was super productive,” said Rep. Richard Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican. “I think today we moved the ball down the field tremendously. We are moving to resolution.”

AHCA Ends VA Hospital Access Lawsuit

May 14, 2015

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration on Wednesday dismissed a nearly year-old lawsuit aimed at giving state inspectors access to federal Veterans Affairs medical centers and documents.

AHCA and two individual plaintiffs filed a notice in federal court in Tampa that they were dismissing the case, and U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell formally approved the dismissal. The federal government fought the lawsuit, arguing last year that the U.S. Constitution's "Supremacy Clause," bars states from regulating federal activities without consent.

The Tampa company that runs the Ironman World Championship triathlon has agreed to forfeit to federal authorities more than $2.7 million obtained in lotteries since 2013.

According to a sworn complaint by World Triathlon Corp. filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa, the company illegally charged triathletes for a chance to win the opportunity to compete in the Ironman World Championship, held each October in Hawaii.

Skyway Bridge Memorial Will Be Unveiled Saturday

May 8, 2015
State Archives of Florida

May 9 marks the 35th anniversary of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge accident that killed 35 people.

A memorial for the victims will be unveiled Saturday at 11 a.m. at Blackthorn Memorial Park in St. Petersburg.

Bill DeYoung of St. Petersburg , who wrote a book about the Skyway disaster, is behind the effort to build a memorial.

"We did a fundraising campaign and raised all the money in about a month, from the community. The state didn't pay for anything, I should say, and the whole cost was about $10,000,” he said.

Pier Park Plan on Tap for St. Petersburg Waterfront

May 8, 2015
RogersPartners Architects

After years of delays and backflips, St. Petersburg City Council members finally agreed on a new design to replace the 1970's-era inverted pyramid on the city's waterfront.

Council members voted Thursday to authorize contract negotiations with the designers of Pier Park. Only one member, Wengay Newton, voted against the plan, saying the public needed more time to weight in for either Pier Park or the runner-up for the $46 million project, called Destination St. Pete Pier.

If all goes according to plan, the new pier will hold its grand opening in the spring of 2018.

Florida is asking a judge to order the Obama administration to keep giving the state millions for its hospitals.

The state on Thursday asked a judge to impose an injunction on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, alleging the state is illegally being forced to expand Medicaid in order to get low-income pool hospital funds. Governors in Texas and Kansas are also supporting Florida's litigation.

Gov. Rick Scott is heading to Washington to try to convince the Obama administration to release federal funds for hospitals that treat low-income and Medicaid patients.

The Republican governor wants an extension on the more than $1 billion funds that expire next month. But the federal government wants states to expand Medicaid, arguing it's more efficient to give people money to help buy health insurance than to pay hospitals for caring for the uninsured retroactively.

AP

  The Florida Highway Patrol says a man is recovering from minor injuries after he got out of a vehicle following a crash, stumbled backward and fell some 30 feet off an approach to the Sunshine Skyway bridge.

Troopers say 43-year-old Reginald D. White of Bradenton stopped on Interstate 275 after a tire blew out on his SUV on Sunday night. As he changed the tire, White lost his balance and fell backward, over a barrier wall and into the water below.

Retired surgeon West Palm Beach resident Ben Carson declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination Monday, resting his longshot bid on his vision of the nation as "a place of dreams" where people can thrive when freed from an overbearing government.

Carson, the only African-American in the race, spoke in front of hundreds of people at Detroit Music Hall, a few miles from a high school that bears his name. A choir singing the chorus from Eminem's "Lose Yourself" set the stage.

During the recently-concluded legislative session, Senate President Andy Gardiner constantly warned about the threat to the state's hospitals if they were to lose more than $1 billion that now comes from the federal government.

There's a good reason Gardiner understands hospitals: he works for one.

Kansas, Texas To Back Scott In 'LIP' Lawsuit

May 4, 2015

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will file a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Gov. Rick Scott in a lawsuit against the Obama administration stemming from negotiations about extending the Low Income Pool program, Scott's office announced Monday.

The annual session of the Florida Legislature limped to a premature end Wednesday amid finger-pointing and threats of possible lawsuits.

The House abruptly adjourned a day earlier, with leaders contending there was no reason to remain at the Capitol as long as they continue to have a stalemate with Senate leaders over a new state budget and health care.

A ban on Florida judicial candidates personally raising campaign funds, which supporters said was a key element in reforming the state's court system after a series of scandals in the 1970s, was upheld Wednesday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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