Julio Ochoa

Health News Florida Editor

Julio Ochoa is editor of Health News Florida.

He comes to WUSF from The Tampa Tribune, where he began as a website producer for and served in several editing roles, eventually becoming the newspaper’s deputy metro editor. 

Julio was born and raised in St. Petersburg, and received a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University. He earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and worked at a paper in Greeley, Colo., before returning to Florida as a reporter and as breaking news editor for the Naples Daily News.

Contact Julio at 813-974-8633, on Twitter at @julioochoa or email

Moffitt Cancer Center
Thomas Iacobucci

An investigation by Moffitt Cancer Center found that its CEO, director and four researchers did not report their participation in a Chinese program that was paying them tens of thousands of dollars.

Daylina Miller/WUSF News

A Trump administration proposal that would allow states to apply for Medicaid block grants likely won’t have much of an impact on Florida’s program, unless the state decides to expand Medicaid.

The state is quietly closing offices that provide help to people applying for food stamps and Medicaid in several Florida counties.

Patients would get expanded access to prescription drugs under a bill in the Legislature that allows pharmacies to operate medication-dispensing kiosks.

Six people received minor injuries when two cruise ships, including one traveling out of Tampa, collided near the port of Cozumel, Mexico.

Florida House of Representatives

House Speaker Jose Oliva is calling for further investigation into the Moffitt Cancer Center and its ties to China after the center’s CEO, director and four researchers announced their resignations on Wednesday.

the campus of Moffitt Cancer Center
Moffitt Cancer Center

Updated at 3 p.m. ET:

The president and CEO of Moffitt Cancer Center resigned on Wednesday amid an investigation into Chinese efforts to influence or compromise U.S. researchers.

Rep. Jackie Toledo speaks during a press conference in Tampa
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

A Tampa lawmaker is hoping to lower drug prices and improve care for Floridians by regulating companies that serve as middlemen in the health care industry.

Nearly 700,000 uninsured Floridians are eligible for free health insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ budget proposal, released last month, provides Floridians with some insight into his health care priorities for 2020.

Red tide appears to have receded from much of the Tampa Bay area this week.

Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew stands at a podium
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

Floridians suffering from substance abuse disorder or mental illness will have access to housing support in six counties when a Medicaid pilot program begins next month.

pharmacist with pills

State lawmakers are turning to charity to help uninsured patients get their medications.

A bill with bipartisan support would allow pharmacists, doctors and health care facilities to donate unused prescription drugs to a state repository that could be accessed by indigent, uninsured or under-insured patients.

Damian Fernandez
Eckerd College

Eckerd College in St. Petersburg announced the selection on Monday of its fifth president.

Gov. Ron DeSantis in a Palm Harbor Walmart
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

The State of Florida is now providing consumers with more information about health care costs.

Governor Ron DeSantis visited a Walmart in Palm Harbor on Monday to announce the launch of a website where people can go to find prices for common services.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Red tide has returned to the Tampa Bay area.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported that a bloom of the organism that causes red tide was detected over the past week off Sarasota and Pinellas counties.

Respiratory irritation was also reported in Sarasota.

Red tide was first detected off Collier county in late September and slowly made its way north to Lee and Charlotte counties.

The hepatitis a vaccine
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

This week on Florida Matters, we discuss the concerns of more than 2,800 cases of hepatitis A being diagnosed in Florida so far this year. It has become one of the worst outbreaks of the liver disease in the country.

The hepatitis a vaccine
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

Pinellas and Pasco counties are starting to see significant declines in the number of hepatitis A cases that are being diagnosed each month, the state’s surgeon general told a panel of senators on Tuesday.

hand on top of hand

Nearly 100 nursing homes and assisted living facilities were evacuated along Florida's East Coast ahead of Hurricane Dorian.

Laura Macia and her son
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

Freestanding emergency rooms are popping up all around the Tampa Bay area -- nine have opened in the past three years alone.

Health care companies are using them to reach more consumers, appealing to patients with promises of easy access to hospital-level care. But patients and insurers are finding the convenience comes at a cost.

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

If you thought September was hotter and dryer than average, you were right.

The National Weather Service says the month was the hottest September in the Sarasota/Bradenton area and the second hottest in Tampa.

Children playing in school
Annie E. Casey Foundation

The percentage of children living in high-poverty neighborhoods in Florida has decreased 8 percent since the Great Recession, according to a new study from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Agency for Persons with Disabilities

State leaders are proposing changes to a Medicaid program that serves disabled people in order to save money. But advocates say any funding cuts to the services could end up costing the state even more money in the long run.

Abe Aboraya / WMFE

After 12 people died when a nursing home lost power following Hurricane Irma, the state required all such facilities to have generators.

pharmacist with pills

Florida sent federal officials a detailed plan for how the state proposes to safely import prescription drugs from Canada and other countries on Friday.

The Southwest Water Reclamation facility in st. petersburg
Julio Ochoa/WUSF

St. Petersburg again is facing problems over its ability to treat sewage during big storms.

A new command center at Tampa General Hospital is saving the hospital money and reducing the time patients spend at the facility.

The Kaiser Family Foundation study found among people with large employer coverage, an average of 22 percent of emergency room visits in Florida result in at least one out-of-network charge.
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

Florida is one of nine states that have taken on unexpected health care bills by passing comprehensive regulations. 

map of states that expanded access to medicaid.
American Cancer Society

Florida is not doing enough to prevent cancer or care for those who get it, according to a new report from the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society.

Health department gives a hepatitis A shot to a person in Gulfport.
Julio Ochoa / WUSF Public Media

Florida is dealing with the state's worst hepatitis A outbreak in years and the Tampa Bay area has been hit the hardest. Health officials in Pinellas County are using a new method to combat the virus, which attacks the liver.