By Carol Gentry
4/2/2009 © Health News Florida

Some patients travel to other countries to get a price break. But how many take their surgeons with them? 

Last month, a Miami-area surgeon and one of his prostate cancer patients flew together to Trinidad so that the uninsured patient could afford the procedure he wanted.

By Gary Fineout
4/1/2009 © Health News Florida

By Christine Jordan Sexton
3/31/2009 © Health News Florida

Calling Miami-Dade County “ground zero” for Medicaid fraud, the Legislature is cracking down on rogue home health agencies, clinics and equipment suppliers in South Florida.

Today, the House Health and Family Services Policy Council will consider a bill (CS/HB 1487) that would prevent any new home health agencies from operating in Miami-Dade and Broward counties until July 2010.

3/30/2009 © Florida Health News
Medicaid Reform could branch off in a new direction under a proposal that could emerge from a House committee this week. It would set up "medical homes" for patients using community health centers, based on the famed Mayo Clinic model of having a whole team consulting on a patient's needs in one site.

By Christine Jordan Sexton
3/27/2009 © Florida Health News

A proposal unveiled by the Senate spending committee on Thursday would cripple -- maybe kill -- the second phase of the controversial “Medicaid Reform” pilot. The Senate budget also would cut Medicaid payments 3 percent to hospitals, nursing homes and HMOs.

However, it would restore funding to the state's Medically Needy program, which helps working families struggling to pay large medical bills. Lawmakers have to revive that program to qualify for federal stimulus money. 

3/29/2009 © Florida Health News

Can a state Medicaid program cut treatments to a child if a doctor says they are medically necessary? Three states, including Florida,  say yes, and made that argument this week before a federal appeals court in Atlanta.

By Christine Jordan Sexton
3/25/2009 Florida Health News

TALLAHASSEE – Nearly 1,000 people, most of them middle-aged women, have signed up for a new state-promoted insurance program that requires participating companies to take all comers. 

Gov. Charlie Crist, who pushed the Cover Florida program last year, said Tuesday that the six insurance companies participating have fielded more than 10,000 calls from interested Floridians and that 952 people had enrolled as of March 15. 

By Carol Gentry
3/24/2009 © Florida Health News

Federal authorities have ordered private Medicare plans to stop paying hundreds of dollars in “referral fees” to sales agents who steer a beneficiary to a company for enrollment. The practice came to light in a Florida Health News article on Feb. 6.

Pill puzzle: flush or crush?

Mar 19, 2009

By Christine Jordan Sexton
3/20/2009 © Florida Health News

A curious ritual occurs once a month at Palm Gardens nursing home in Tampa. 

Administrator Scott Allen, a pharmacist and the supervisor of nursing sort through drawers where painkillers, anti-depressants and other drugs are stored when patients die or leave. Usually they come up with about $5,000 worth.

It takes them about three hours to find all the leftover drugs, remove them from the packaging and fill out the paperwork. Then they dispose of them down the toilet.

By Christine Jordan Sexton
3/19/2009 © Florida Health News

Florida had 5.8 million residents who went without health coverage at some point in 2007-08, nearly 3/4 of them for more than six months, according to a report released today by Families USA.