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Mary Shedden

News Director

Mary Shedden is news director at WUSF Public Media, where she oversees a team of reporters covering 13 counties on Florida’s west coast.

A journalist for more than two decades, Mary arrived at WUSF in 2013, where she worked first as a reporter and then as editor of the Health News Florida journalism collaborative. She became news director in 2015.

Mary’s journalism has been recognized numerous times, including a 2016 national Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio and Television Digital News Association for Health News Florida. Her work also has been honored by the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters, and state and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Before joining WUSF, Shedden spent nearly 20 years at The Tampa Tribune and TBO.com, Florida Today and the Gainesville Sun, where she covered everything from the investigation of a serial killer to retired pro athletes in chronic pain.

Contact Mary at 813-974-8636, on twitter @MaryShedden or by email at shedden@wusf.org.

 

Ways to Connect

Just a handful of Florida Medicare Advantage plans offered for 2015 received below average scores in a federal quality rating system, a breakdown of data by Avalere Health shows.

StoryCorps

Not every friendship starts on the set of a movie.

But that’s how Tampa teen Shelby Ronea and fellow actor Noah Diggs of St. Petersburg met. The pair was among the actors tapped for the Haley Joel Osment film, “Sex Ed,” filmed during the summer of 2013 in Tampa.  The film will be released on November 7th.

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, the 15-year-olds talk with Shelby’s mom, Renea Elmore, about their love for performing and their hopes for the future.

Need an example of how incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott and his Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist, are trying to attract every possible vote?

Ask them about medical marijuana. Neither candidate avoids the issue. But they do play it safe.

  “I’m going to vote against it. But it’s going to be on the ballot. All the citizens of the state have the right to vote whichever way they think,” Scott told Tampa’s Fox 13 News this past June.

The majority owners of a now-defunct Medicare Advantage plan say they were duped by the plan’s accountants, the ones they claim are responsible for the company’s collapse, a new federal lawsuit filed in Orlando says.

It’s graduation day at the St. Petersburg YMCA, and Ruth Neal and her classmates are taking a victory lap.

The past 16 weeks, they've talked nonstop about counting fat grams, portion control and the value of being active 150 minutes a week.

“I’m going to stick with it, because I want to be as blessed as my mother was. One hundred and six years old when she passed. I want to be just as blessed,” the 71-year-old from St. Petersburg said of her newfound weight loss and exercise routine.

Stricter regulations in the state’s compounding pharmacy industry take effect Wednesday -- two years after a national outbreak of fungal meningitis killed 64 people, including seven in Florida.

In 2012, when the New England Compounding Center outbreak happened, the state had hundreds of unregulated, non-resident facilities providing these specialized medications to Floridians. Now, the state will require permits for any pharmacies outside state boundaries that want to ship medications in state.

Spend a lot of time investigating before make a big purchase? Most of us do.

But that's not always the case when it comes to medical treatments or drugs.

Dr. Steven Woloshin and Dr. Lisa Schwartz have been researching the misleading medical and pharmaceutical messages in advertisements and other media for years.

For the first time since 2012, a hospital in Florida is closing its doors.

HCA West Florida announced Tuesday the 38-year-old Edward White Hospital in St. Petersburg will close by the end of November and consolidate services to three nearby hospitals it also owns.

Officials said operating costs at the aging facility continued to grow. And it pointed to a glut of hospital beds in the area: more than 1,000 in southern Pinellas County alone.

There are a lot of stereotypes out there about the millennial generation: they’re disengaged and hyper-focused on technology.

But someday, these 80 million Americans born between 1980 and 1999, will be needing health care. And a lot of it.

Any doubt that Florida’s largest health insurer wants to expand its reach was quashed by its chief executive Wednesday, when he heralded the success of its new umbrella company and outlined ambitious plans for growth.

The Florida Nurses Association is recognizing Health News Florida founder and Editor Carol Gentry for her significant and ongoing role in reporting on the state’s most important health issues.

The 2014 Communications/Media Award is being awarded to Gentry, who for four decades has been reporting on health policy and business, and has been holding industry and government officials accountable.

Two major health care groups have named new Chief Operating Officers for their Florida operations.

Sunday is the final day seniors covered by a now-defunct Medicare Advantage plan can select a different policy.

The state’s Department of Financial Services took over operation of the Physician’s United Plan in early June, when it was more than $13 million in debt and unable to pay many creditors.

  

This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, June 30 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 5 at 7:30 a.m.), we take a look at the physics and engineering of extreme roller coasters -- and what they do to your insides – with Jeff Hornick, Director of Design and Engineering at Busch Gardens and Dr. Michael Longley, medical director at Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, about how to keep that adrenaline rush safe.

Florida looks to lose more federal money set aside for Medicaid than any state that has opted out of expanding the health care program for the poor, says a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute.

Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans, Inc. has named Andrew “Drew” Asher as senior vice president, and anticipates he will become Chief Financial Officer in November.

Since 2013, Asher has been CFO of Aetna's Local and Regional Businesses, WellCare said in a statement. Prior to that, Asher also spent 15 years with Coventry Health Care, which was acquired by Aetna, serving as its senior vice president of corporate finance.

Florida lags behind the rest of the country in vaccinating children for the human papillomavirus

Part of the problem started eight years ago, when the HPV vaccine was introduced as a way to prevent a sexually transmitted infection that researchers knew was a major cause of cervical cancer and other disease.

The dirt road and lush tree canopy leading to the Catholic Charities medical clinic is in stark contrast to the bright lights surrounding the nearest hospital.

Here, sirens would be drowned out by choruses of crickets and katydids.

But this refurbished double-wide trailer off a rural highway in Dover is a medical refuge for some agricultural workers and their families.

Mary Shedden/WUSF

If Charlie Crist returns to Florida's governor's office, he plans to sign some executive orders as his first order of business, he said Tuesday in St. Petersburg.

His plan would address areas popular with Democratic voters. Crist would raise the minimum wage for state contractors and promote equal pay for women at companies doing business with the state. He would require the state to hire Florida companies as subcontractors whenever possible.

Home health aides, medical assistants and other workers with less than a four-year college degree account for nearly half of the health care workforce in Florida and across the country, a new Brookings Institute analysis reports.

Health officials say a mosquito-borne illness that had afflicted Floridians who traveled to the Caribbean has now been transmitted within the state.

Florida's largest hospital is also its best, according to the annual U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals ranking announced today.

A lot more Floridians have health coverage compared to a year ago, but the state continues to have one of the nation’s highest uninsured rates, two new studies show.

Unpaid claims. Coverage Denied. Liquidation.

These are not words you want associated with your health insurance company.

Florida’s Department of Health was within its legal right to revamp the state’s system for establishing new hospital trauma centers, an administrative judge ruled late Friday.

Mary Shedden / WUSF 89.7 News

Most of us ponder evacuating when a hurricane approaches.

But at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base, Jim McFadden sends an "Orion P-3" propeller plane and its crew straight into a storm's path.  The Chief of Programs and Projects for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Aircraft Operations Center, McFadden is a veteran of more than 500 such flights.

At a recent hurricane awareness event at Tampa International Airport, he showed WUSF’s Mary Shedden and members of the public around the aircraft nicknamed "Miss Piggy."

A troubled Medicare Advantage HMO now under state receivership has struggled for years to have enough capital available on hand to pay its bills.

A Tallahassee judge on Monday approved the Department of Financial Services' request to take over and liquidate Physicians United Plan Inc., which had offered Medicare Advantage plans since 2005.

Florida’s Department of Financial Services on Friday asked a judge to allow a takeover of the troubled Physicians United Medicare Advantage HMO.

The DFS filed a petition in Leon County Circuit Court to place the Orlando-based plan into receivership because it is insolvent. The company’s May financial statement reported assets of $92.4 million, while liabilities amounted to $105.3 million.

Hurricane season kicks off Sunday. And Florida officials are marking it with a tax-free holiday, starting at midnight.

The sales tax break goes through June 8 and includes items from candles to portable generators worth up to $750.  Bryan Koon, director of Florida's Division of Emergency Management, says it helps residents stock up on batteries, food, even bungee cords.

"That's the intention is to spur people to go out,” he said. “Tell them, ‘Hey, you can save a few bucks and make sure you are taking care of yourself.’ We're really hoping it does that this year."

Adriana DeJesus doesn't remember getting a letter.

Her kids - 6-year-old Angel, and son, Christian – have been covered by Medicaid plans since birth. Her son’s asthma and ADHD keep her regularly connected to his doctors and make her diligent about understanding his health coverage.

But the St.Petersburg daycare worker says she missed seeing a notice that Florida is moving 3.5 million residents in its medical insurance program for the poor to a new managed care system.

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