Green Eyeshade Awards - Specialized Site: Health News Florida
Health News Florida: Journalism for a Healthy State from WUSF
Health News Florida is the only news publication dedicated to covering health issues in the nation’s fourth largest state. We hold health care policy makers, power brokers and practitioners accountable. And our independent reporting, online and at WUSF-FM, emphasizes how issues of cost, quality and health care access affect all Floridians. Founded in 2006, Health News Florida joined WUSF Public Media in September 2012.
1. Jan. 8, 2013—Legislative Analysts Told Scott His Medicaid Estimates Are Wrong (But He’s Using Them Anyway)
The state’s chief economist has warned the staff of Gov. Rick Scott that his Medicaid cost estimates are wrong, but Scott keeps using them anyway, according to e-mails obtained by Health News Florida.
Outcome: (State later revised the estimates, and Scott ended up changing his position on Medicaid expansion to endorse it.)
2. Jan. 31, 2013 - 950 FL Pharmacies Called High-Risk Compounders
Almost 950 Florida-licensed pharmacies engage in “sterile compounding,” the type of high-risk drug-making that led to a deadly fungal meningitis epidemic last year, according to a Department of Health survey …It’s going to be a daunting task to check them all, judging from the survey report and interviews with pharmacists and health department officials.
Outcome: State Board of Pharmacy enacted new rules requiring sterile compounders to get special permits; but the Department of Health failed to get the law changed during the 2013 session, as HNF reported on June 7:
Who Forgot to Fix Compounding Law?
3. Feb. 21, 2013 - Body-Builder Accused of Playing ‘Doctor’
Alisa Jaffe of Boca Raton makes a living as a financial advisor. At 49, she’s a sensible, savvy woman. But four years ago, when she felt bone-tired all the time, she paid $13,000 to a “doctor” who said his two-year wellness program could restore her to health. Months later, she would discover the real cause of her fatigue: a tumor. But he wouldn't give her money back.
Outcome: The pseudo-doctor was arrested for practicing medicine without a license; he pleaded no contest. The physician who signed his prescriptions was disciplined by the Board of Medicine.
4. Aug. 8, 2013 - Unlicensed Pharmacies Selling Compounded Drugs Online
with sidebar: Online Drugs: ‘Everyone Does It’ (radio story, audio and transcript)
An unlicensed pharmacy business based in Largo is using websites to sell performance-enhancing drugs for body-builders and controversial hormone treatments to extreme dieters in apparent violation of Florida laws.
Outcome: The business has moved to an unknown location. The doctor who wrote the prescriptions is under state investigation.
5: Oct. 10, 2013 - HealthCare.gov: Waiting, Hoping
Florida's online health insurance Marketplace has been open for business since Oct. 1. But more than a week later, people are still having trouble with HealthCare.gov, the website consumers use to shop for health plans. This story lists the plans and prices by county – a feature not covered by other news outlets.