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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

Judge Blocks Release Of Health Plan Information

8 hours ago

A Leon County circuit judge has issued a permanent injunction to shield from public disclosure information that a Medicaid managed-care plan submitted to state regulators. 

Efforts To Move The Needle On Flu Shot Rates Get Stuck

8 hours ago

It’s free and available everywhere. Yet most Americans skip the annual flu shot ― with the number of dispensed vaccines barely changed in the past decade, despite government removal of cost and access obstacles. 

DeSantis Wants To Delay Health Insurance Changes

8 hours ago

Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to put on hold for another year an overhaul of the health insurance program that provides benefits to more than 366,000 state employees and family members across Florida. 

A new Commonwealth Fund report finds that workers and their families are spending more of their incomes on health care.

A new Commonwealth Fund report finds that workers and their families are spending more of their incomes on health care.

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.

When we hear a sentence, or a line of poetry, our brains automatically transform the stream of sound into a sequence of syllables.

But scientists haven't been sure exactly how the brain does this.

Now, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, think they've figured it out. The key is detecting a rapid increase in volume that occurs at the beginning of a vowel sound, they report Wednesday in Science Advances.

2020 Affordable Care Act Health Plans: What's New

Nov 21, 2019

During Wednesday night's Democratic presidential debate, candidates touched on "Medicare for All," "Medicare for all who want it" and other ways to reform the American health system.

But in the backdrop, it's once again sign-up season for Affordable Care Act health plans.

Despite repeated efforts by Republicans in Congress to undo the ACA, the controversial law's seventh open-enrollment period launched earlier this month to relatively little fanfare. It ends Dec. 15.

A nonprofit program funded in part by local government entities helps low-income Floridians make modifications to their homes to improve health and safety.

Part of the program focuses on making homes safer for children with severe allergies and asthma, like 5-year-old Tampa resident Mario Garcia.

In 6 Months, About 57 Tons Of Smokable Medical Marijuana Was Ordered For Florida Patients

Nov 20, 2019

More than 1.82 million ounces of smokable medical marijuana were ordered for 128,040 patients over a six-month period, a new state report shows.

That translates to 113,922 pounds, or 57 tons, of flower marijuana.

AMA Calls For Total Ban On All E-Cigarette, Vaping Products

Nov 20, 2019

The American Medical Association on Tuesday called for an immediate ban on all electronic cigarettes and vaping devices. 

A poll from the advocacy group National Consumers League shows that 86 % of Floridians think cannabidiol products “should be safe, backed by proven science and work as advertised.”

Veterans will no longer have to pay for medical marijuana cards if bills filed by Sen. Janet Cruz and Rep. Adam Hattersley pass during the upcoming Florida legislative session.

pharmacist with pills
iStock

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.

A new report says as many as 2,776 older Floridians died prematurely between 2014 and 2017 because of the state’s failure to expand Medicaid, second only to Texas, which lost 2,920 lives.

When it comes to global health, the world has made remarkable strides over the past two decades. There has been unprecedented progress vaccinating kids, treating diseases and lifting millions out of poverty. The childhood death rate has been slashed in half since 2000. Adults are living an average 5 1/2 years longer.

Pharmacists Could Get Power To Treat Flu, Strep

Nov 14, 2019

In an attempt to increase access to health care, a House panel on Wednesday approved a proposal that would authorize pharmacists to test patients for --- and treat --- the flu and strep throat. 

From medical professionals to law enforcement to recovering addicts, the opioid crisis has affected people from all walks of life.

At a University of South Florida symposium Wednesday, experts said it will take them all working together to end the opioid crisis.

Overdose deaths related to synthetic opiods like fentanyl increased 1002% nationally between 2011 and 2016, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Manatee County, overdose deaths from January through October of this year doubled compared to the same time period in 2018 - many of which are attributed to fentanyl, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

White and red boxes of Narcan stacked on a table.
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Medicine cabinets at Florida schools could get a new addition: an antidote for people who overdose on opioids such as heroin.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there has been a breakthrough in the investigation into the outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries that has led to the deaths of 39 people and sickened more than 2,000 others.

Investigators announced Friday that they have detected a chemical compound called vitamin E acetate in all the samples of lung fluid collected from 29 patients who were hospitalized after vaping, suggesting a possible culprit for the spate of lung injuries that has swept across the U.S.

Before his double-lung transplant, Tom Saputo thought he had anticipated every possible outcome.

But after the surgery, he wasn't prepared for the price of the 27-mile air ambulance flight from a hospital in Thousand Oaks, Calif., to UCLA Medical Center — which cost more than the lifesaving operation itself.

Lawmakers Could Eliminate Healthy Kids Cap

Nov 6, 2019

A Senate health-care panel on Tuesday agreed to eliminate a $1 million lifetime benefits cap for children enrolled in the Florida Healthy Kids program. 

Kathy Castor (center) poses with a members of  Florida Covering Kids and Families and the Childrens Board of Hillsborough County.
Delaney Brown / WUSF Public Media

People shopping for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act have more options than ever - but one lawmaker is warning that not all plans promise equal coverage.

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.

Neonatal Intensive Care Units help keep premature babies alive, but they can also be very stressful environments. Music therapy can help buffer the jarring lights and sounds to help a baby's brain develop in peace.
Dave Barfield / Tallahassee Memorial Hospital

The March of Dimes has awarded Florida a C- ranking when it comes its rate of premature births, a ranking only slightly worse than the national average.

It's the season to roll up your sleeves, gather your documents, and pick a health insurance plan for 2020. For those shopping for their own plans, HealthCare.gov and the other state exchanges are open for enrollment as of November 1.

When Ellen Buchanan Weiss' son was about a year old, he broke out in a rash — little bumps that appeared to be hives. So Buchanan Weiss did what a lot of new parents do: She turned to the Internet to find images that matched the rash she was seeing on her little boy.

"I'm trying to figure out — would I be paranoid if I went to the doctor at this point? Is that a reasonable thing to do? So I started googling it," says Buchanan Weiss, who lives with her family in Raleigh, N.C.

When adults are feeling stressed out, overwhelmed or tired, many will take a vacation day or personal day off work for a little reset. Some might even take a sick day -- even when they’re not feeling physically ill. Many experts say taking a “mental health day" to tend to one’s psychological and emotional well-being is vital to overall health.

Vaping Illness on Rise in Florida

Nov 2, 2019
Department of Defense

Florida saw the number of reported vaping-related illnesses increase to 78 as of Oct. 26, according to the state Department of Health.

The latest data shows an increase of eight cases this week, according to a News Service of Florida analysis. The number of deaths associated with the lung illnesses remained at one.

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