The man who masterminded an $800 million insurance scam that fleeced tens of thousands of investors in one of Florida's all-time largest fraud schemes was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Robert Scola gave Joel Steinger, 64, credit for pleading guilty to avoid a lengthy and costly trial and said Steinger's multiple medical problems — he appeared in court in a wheelchair, with an oxygen tank — argued against the maximum 50-year sentence sought by prosecutors.
When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, it required health insurers, hospitals, device makers and pharmaceutical companies to share in the cost because they would get a windfall of new, paying customers.
But with an $8 billion tax on insurers due Sept. 30 -- the first time the new tax is being collected -- the industry is getting help from an unlikely source: taxpayers.
George Sheldon, a one-time top official in the Obama administration, easily defeated state Rep. Perry Thurston on Tuesday in the Democratic primary for attorney general.
Sheldon moves on to the November ballot, where he will challenge Republican incumbent Pam Bondi and Libertarian candidate Bill Wohlsifer. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Sheldon led Thurston 61 percent to 39 percent.
During a victory speech to supporters, Sheldon vowed during the next two months to draw a contrast between himself and Bondi on issues such as medical marijuana and same sex marriage.
The endangered Florida Panther is experiencing a slight population rebound.
While this is good news for recovery efforts, it’s becoming a problem for ranchers in Southwest Florida. That’s because panthers are killing off livestock such as cattle in large numbers, and ranchers are taking a financial hit.
The number of Floridians enrolled in individual health plans under the Affordable Care Act in June was 866,485, according to new state data compiled from insurers’ reports. The carriers expect enrollment to rise to 1.1 million next year, an increase of 23 percent.
The Office of Insurance Regulation is scheduled to present that and other information on the state's Affordable Care Act implementation Tuesday to the Florida Health Insurance Advisory Board. Made up mostly of industry representatives, it was created to advise state agencies.
Beverly Hires, a former nurse running for Congress in Jupiter, one of the nation’s rare competitive House races, ticks off her problems with the federal health care law: higher premiums, cancelled policies and employers cutting full-time jobs.
“The Affordable Care Act is not making insurance more affordable,” the South Florida congressional candidate said, citing many of the same criticisms as her five GOP opponents in Tuesday’s primary, who are vying for the chance to oust first-term Democrat Rep. Patrick Murphy.
A Central Florida doctor who sent sexually explicit photos and videos to a patient has settled disciplinary charges against him by agreeing to a temporary suspension and a permanent restriction on his practice.
Dr. Tuan Dean, a family practitioner in The Villages, agreed to see only male patients when he returns from suspension, according to documents posted at the Florida Department of Health website. The Florida Board of Medicine earlier this month asked DOH to seek the suspension and permanent restriction through a formal hearing if Dean had not signed the agreement.
Sarasota urologist Ronald Wheeler says he's going to continue doing a controversial prostate-cancer treatment, even though an FDA panel recently voted against it and even though the state could punish him for it.
Because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the French device that Wheeler uses for high-intensity focused ultrasound, called HIFU, he has been treating his patients in Mexico.
Only about one-third of Florida’s Medicaid recipients transitioning into managed care statewide chose their own health insurance plans.
Enrollment for the general population started in May and ended in August. Consumers received a letter in the mail two months before enrollment and were given at least 30 days to choose an insurance plan. Those who did not choose a plan were automatically enrolled into a plan by state health officials.
Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 7:23 am
SeaWorld has decided not to appeal a court ruling that prohibits its trainers from performing with killer whales, the Orlando Sentinel reports, citing a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
A recent report from a watchdog group monitoring the state’s environmental regulators found Florida’s major wastewater dischargers-- including three in Southwest Florida-- are violating clean water laws with little enforcement from state officials.
More than 200,000 Floridians may be eligible to sign up for health insurance under President Obama's Affordable Care Act soon even though enrollment doesn't officially start until November.
Consumers that get married, move, give birth or gain citizenship may qualify for a special enrollment period. They may also qualify if they became unemployed or got a divorce. Enroll America, an ACA advocacy group, released a report Tuesday showing 222,700 Floridians may be eligible to for special enrollment.
Community Health Systems, which operates 24 hospitals in Florida, said a cyber attack took information on more than 4 million patients from its computer network earlier this year.
The Franklin, Tennessee, company said Monday that no medical or credit card records were taken in the attack, which may have happened in April and June. But Community said the attack did bypass its security systems to take patient names, addresses, birth dates, and phone and Social Security numbers.
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.
Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 7:19 pm
The Bay County Jail is experiencing a mental health crisis, leaving resources stretched thin and funds low. The Bay County Sheriffs office is asking the county for an extra $430,000 to hire nine additional officers, but the mental health crisis in Bay County is not an isolated problem.
A federal appeals court recently upheld a Florida law that limits what doctors can tell their patients about gun ownership.
Doctors claim that it’s their First Amendment right to ask any question they want of their patients including questions about guns. The backers of this law say keeping records on whether they have guns in their homes violates their Second Amendment rights.
WUSF's Craig Kopp spoke with a Jacksonville pediatrician and a firearms expert about whether doctors should talk to patients about guns.
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.
But the shots are recommended for 11- and 12-year-old children. And talking about a vaccine tied to sexual activity made some parents and pediatricians squirm.
A Lake Worth family doctor accused of beating, choking and locking up a patient during a year-long sexual relationship should be allowed to continue practicing, a state hearing officer says.
Dr. David Simon should not lose his license over the affair, Administrative Law Judge John G. Van Laningham in Tallahassee wrote late last month. While Simon should not have engaged in sex with a patient – Florida law prohibits that under any circumstances – he has not been in trouble before and deserves probation, Van Laningham wrote.