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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 http://health.wusf.usf.edu

Stethoscope and gavel.
wp paarz/Flikr

Several civil legal aid organizations in Florida have filed a federal class action lawsuit against the agencies that operate the state's Medicaid system.

Seven Puerto Rican health care workers say supervisors at a Florida government-run clinic warned them to stop speaking Spanish among themselves or they would get fired.

Why does e-cigarette maker Juul advertise its product on TV when cigarette ads are banned? The short answer: Because it can.

For nearly 50 years, cigarette advertising has been banned from TV and radio. But electronic cigarettes — those battery-operated devices that often resemble oversized USB flash drives with flavored nicotine "pods" that clip in on the end — aren't addressed in the law.

A banner that says Association of American Indian Physicians hangs behind a speaker podium at a Chicago conference.
Courtesy the Association of American Indian Physicians

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, American Indian and Alaska Native people suffer some of the poorest health outcomes in the United States.

But 90% of U.S. medical schools have three or fewer native students.

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. 

TSA agent Robert Henry jumped to his death inside the Orlando International Airport in February. Afterward, agents came forward to say Henry was bullied at work and that Transportation Security Administration has a toxic work environment.

VA doctors and nurses who attend the training at USF Health CAMLS can practice women's health exams on real people trained to act like patients.
Allison Long / USF Health CAMLS

The Department of Veterans Affairs is working with USF Health to train providers to better care for women patients.

The first time Lori Tipton tried MDMA, she was skeptical it would make a difference.

"I really was, at the beginning, very nervous," Tipton remembers.

MDMA is the main ingredient in club drugs ecstasy or molly. But Tipton wasn't taking pills sold on the street to get high at a party.

She was trying to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder, with the help of licensed therapists.

Tipton was given a dose of pure MDMA. Then she lay down in a quiet room with two specially-trained psychotherapists, one woman and one man.

White House YouTube Screenshot

A new Department of Homeland Security rule means immigrants legally in the United States may no longer be eligible for green cards if they use food stamps, Medicaid and other public benefits.

Florida Policy Institute analysts say that’s already having a “chilling effect” on immigrants coming into the country, individuals now worried about applying for medical and housing assistance.

Emphysema is considered a smoker's disease. But it turns out, exposure to air pollution may lead to the same changes in the lung that give rise to emphysema.

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

A political committee seeking to pass a constitutional amendment that would expand Medicaid eligibility has decided to push back the proposal to 2022.

As part of a statewide campaign to increase access to mental health services, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced on Thursday that K-12 students in every public school across six Northwest Florida counties can receive virtual counseling and psychiatric without ever leaving campus.

 

Dr. Anna Giuliano and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor stand at a podium speaking to the press.
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

As most Florida students return to school on Monday, doctors are urging their parents to consider vaccinations beyond those required by the state, like the one for the human papilloma virus.

Doctor sits with patient
iStock

A phase III clinical trial is underway at the University of South Florida for a drug that targets the genetic cause of Huntington’s Disease, or HD, which is described as having a mix of Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.

Health New's Florida's Daylina Miller talked with USF Health neurologist Dr. Juan Sanchez-Ramos about what that means for a disease that has a 50%  chance of being passed down to children.

A man with a beard and wearing a purple shirt holds up a white, plastic applicator that goes into a nostril and sprays a drug that revives people who have overdosed on opioids.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

Pasco County has consistently ranked among the hardest hit areas of Florida throughout the opioid crisis.

But county substance abuse and mental health leaders continue to band together to approach the problem as a community.

New Opioid Law Causes Confusion For Doctors

Aug 6, 2019

Florida lawmakers passed far-reaching health care legislation this year, from trying to import drugs from other countries to regulating plastic-surgery centers. 

Doctor treating a baby
iStock

Health officials have long touted the benefits of breastfeeding.

According to The American Academy of Pediatrics, human milk protects against a variety of diseases.

The "Big Latch-On" is an annual global effort to promote the benefits of breastfeeding to improve infant health. The goal is to educate mothers on best practices and to offer peer support.

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.

U.S. Air Force

Plastic surgery is becoming a public health risk, the chairman of the state’s medical licensing board said during a meeting in South Florida.

South Florida researchers believe they're one step closer to developing a more effective vaccine against HIV, after overcoming a virus that infects monkeys.

Nicknamed the "Death Star," SIVmac239 is a particularly resilient immunodeficiency virus that features the same obstacles that have vexed HIV vaccine researchers over the years: the outer layers around the viruses mutate quickly. It's like the immune system is trying to track a shapeshifter—a defense against the viruses works, and then it doesn't.

Hepatitis A Declared A Public Health Emergency In Florida

Aug 2, 2019

After more than 2,000 cases of reported hepatitis A cases in Florida this year, state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees declared a public health emergency Thursday.

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. 

The University of Miami is leading a national study of aging people with HIV. Researchers will explore the impacts of non-infectious conditions, such as cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, on both women and men with HIV.

Florida Economists Grapple With Medicaid Expansions

Jul 31, 2019

State economists are struggling to come up with estimates of how much it would cost the state and how it would affect Florida’s economy if voters approve a far-reaching constitutional amendment that calls for expanding Medicaid. 

Another 53 Hepatitis A Cases Reported in Florida

Jul 30, 2019

Florida had 53 new hepatitis A cases reported last week, bringing the total number of cases since January to 2,034, according to the state Department of Health. 

When Sonia Anderson got her first Fitbit step tracker, her poor pooch, Bronx, had no idea of all the steps that were coming.

The device — which counts every step Anderson takes and displays those steps on an app — was a Christmas gift from her daughters two years ago. 

Middle school teachers fill out a practice sheet
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

University of South Florida psychologists are using a new $375,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to teach Pasco County teachers how to better identify mental health risk in their students.

Dr. Julie Rickard thought her visit to Wisconsin over the Christmas holiday would bring a break from her day job working in suicide prevention in Wenatchee, Wash.

The visit didn't go as planned. After a tense fight broke out between her mother and another family member, everyone dispersed. Rickard readied herself for the trip back to the Pacific Northwest.

At the airport, she received a call from her mother, Sheri Adler. This was not out of the ordinary — Adler, like many adoring mothers, always calls her daughter after parting ways.

The State Hemp Advisory Committee is trying to kick start Florida’s Hemp industry. One of its first steps is to create rules. Florida’s Director of Cannabis Holly Bell spoke on how that process will move forward.

Tara Tedrow has been chosen to chair the group tasked with creating rules for Florida’s newest industry. During which Tedrow gave a quick rundown of what she does during the first Hemp Advisory Committee meeting.

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