HNF Stories

HNF Stories
3:11 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Florida Matters Preview: Attorney General Debate

Left to Right: Al Ruechel (Bay News 9), Ybeth Bruzual (News 13) and Adam Smith (Tampa Bay Times) moderate the only debate among the three candidates for Florida Attorney General: Pam Bondi (incumbent, Republican), George Sheldon (Democrat) and Bill Wohlsifer (Libertarian).

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 3:14 pm

Florida's candidates for attorney general met for their first and only debate earlier this month in the studios of Bay News 9.

We will bring you the highlights of the debate, co-moderated by the Tampa Bay Times, this week on Florida Matters on Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 26  at 7:30 a.m. on WUSF 89.7 FM.

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HNF Stories
9:02 am
Mon October 20, 2014

CDC to Talk Ebola with Florida Hospitals

 Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will hold a conference call today on Ebola preparedness and training with Florida hospitals.

Gov. Rick Scott said Saturday that the call scheduled Monday afternoon will provide guidance for proper use of personal protective equipment, safe handling of medical waste and effective clinical strategies within hospitals.

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HNF Stories
7:52 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Rick Scott Says Following CDC Guidance Might Be Wrong

HE HAS DEMANDS: Gov. Scott wants more federal help to keep Ebola out of Florida and also a ban on travel from West Africa.

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 4:05 pm

 Gov. Rick Scott opened fire on the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Fort Lauderdale on Friday, accusing the agency of starving Florida of the information, equipment and even the testing kits the state needs to be safe from the deadly Ebola virus.

"The CDC has not fulfilled any of Florida's requests," Scott said angrily. "We are now asking publicly to support us in these important efforts for our state."

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HNF Stories
4:39 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

Questions Help Hospitals Guard from Ebola

All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg

Step inside All Children's Hospital and you're greeted with three things: hand sanitizer, tissues and masks decorated with little cartoon Band-Aids with legs, feet and smiles. "Dirt Squirt Alert!" a sign says. "Stop the spread of germs that make you and others sick!"

A sign at the check-in counter calls on people to immediately tell the triage nurse if 

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HNF Stories
4:00 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

The Fight Over Distribution Of Low-THC Marijuana Moves To Administrative Law Court

Charlotte's Web is a non-euphoric marijuana oil. Florida's law allows doctors to order similar products to treat patients who suffer from specific symptoms.

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 5:52 pm

Opponents of the Department of Health’s proposed rules for distributing low-THC marijuana began a legal challenge this week.  Implementing the new “Compassionate Use of Marijuana” law has been a rocky, contentious ride that doesn’t appear to be easing.

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HNF Stories
9:18 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Nurses Union Demands Better Ebola Training

Nurses gather in Tampa's Ybor City to demand proper training on how to deal with Ebola.
Credit Bay News 9

Nurses from National Nurses United gathered in Tampa's Ybor City on Wednesday to stage a "die-in."

It was a dramatic way to get the public's attention with the hope that hospitals would get the message that the time to prepare to fight Ebola is now.

Pasco County ICU nurse Louise Easty said she thinks some hospitals are making efforts to get up to speed, to where they need to be. 

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HNF Stories
8:49 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Sickest Medicaid Kids in 'Chaos,' Doctors Say

Florida pediatricians who care for severely disabled children  say the state's overhaul of Medicaid has left  kids, parents and caregivers in turmoil.

Extremely fragile children, including some with tracheostomies and feeding tubes, face barriers in access to specialty care, physical therapy, home medical supplies and other urgent needs, the pediatricians say.

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HNF Stories
8:45 am
Thu October 16, 2014

FL to Spend Millions on Ebola Preparation

The nation's Ebola crisis has yet to reach Florida, but state officials want to spend millions to prepare for a possible outbreak.

This week, top health official asked for permission to redirect money from federal grants to buy full body suits for health care workers who may have contact with any potential victims of the virus.

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HNF Stories
8:59 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Scott's Child Abuse Deaths Claim Questioned

Gov. Rick Scott
Credit Associated Press

Republican Gov. Rick Scott repeatedly tells voters that abused and neglected children are safer under his leadership than when his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist was governor, but an Associated Press examination of that claim shows that campaign claim may be an exaggeration.

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HNF Stories
2:13 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Colleges Duck Public Records Law Via Corporations

The University of Central Library, Orlando
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The business of Florida's 12 public universities is supposed to be public like any other state agency. Salaries, contracts, policies and other university business records are supposed to be subject to Florida's expansive Sunshine Law, which mandates that most government actions be open to scrutiny.

But that's not always happening. The universities are getting around Florida's open government laws through dozens of private corporations that have been created over the years to oversee everything from athletic programs to dorm construction to salaries.

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HNF Stories
12:50 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Key to Pot Vote: Turnout, Not Political Party

AP

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.

And there’s Crist, no stranger to the well-rehearsed reply.

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HNF Stories
8:53 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Scott, Crist Weigh In on Medicaid Expansion

If former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist gets his old job back, he promises to expand Medicaid to roughly 1 million low-income residents by calling a special session of the Legislature or through an executive order. If Gov. Rick Scott is re-elected, the decision will be once again left to the Legislature with little meddling from him.

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HNF Stories
8:35 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Support Health News Florida During Our Fall Campaign

WUSF General Manager JoAnn Urofsky, Morning Edition host Carson Cooper and Classical WSMR host Russell Gant during WUSF's one week membership campaign.
Credit Mark Schreiner / WUSF

Health News Florida is proud to be a statewide reporting project of WUSF Public Media.

Donate now to WUSF's Fall Campaign. and you will be supporting journalism for a healthy state.

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HNF Stories
7:45 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Eye Surgeon Wins Close Call

Dr. Alan Mendelsohn
Credit myeyesurgeons.com

A letter from the Federal Bureau of Prisons almost cost Alan Mendelsohn his medical practice, only months after resuming it.

The prominent Hollywood eye surgeon, who served 2 ½ years of a four-year prison term on charges of public corruption and tax evasion, was sent to a halfway house in July.  There, residents are required to work during the days but must return each evening.

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HNF Stories
5:29 pm
Sun October 12, 2014

2 Doctors Lose Licenses for Pain Pills

Credit Florida Board of Medicine

Two Gulf Coast physicians lost their medical licenses Friday on similar charges, prescribing large quantities of addictive pain pills in ways the state said endangered the public.

One of them, Dr. Konstantine Yankopolus of Fort Myers, had already been suspended from practice in an emergency order filed by the Florida Department of Health in May 2013. 

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2:18 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Medical Malpractice Ruling Backs Doctors

Lead in text: 
A ruling on the ongoing challenge to Florida's medical malpractice law is a win for groups such as the Florida Medical Association, Jim Saunders of the News Service of Florida reports. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision on Friday says changes made in 2013 to the "ex parte communications" portion of the law does not violate patient privacy, the News Service reports.
  • Source: Usf
  • | Via: News Service of Florida
A federal appeals court Friday upheld part of a controversial Florida medical-malpractice law, saying it does not violate requirements aimed at protecting patient privacy. A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a ruling last year by a Tallahassee federal judge.
HNF Stories
9:27 am
Fri October 10, 2014

After Prison, Surgeon Returns to Practice

Credit Florida Board of Medicine

A 71-year-old Sebring surgeon who completed his prison sentence on an embezzlement conviction will be allowed to resume practice on probation, the Florida Board of Medicine agreed Friday.

In August 2012, Dr. Alfred Massam pleaded guilty in federal court to improperly taking $1.2 million from his medical practice’s employee pension fund, state records show. He served about 17 months at a minimum-security prison camp and three to four months in a halfway house, wearing an electronic monitor, he said at the board’s meeting in Deerfield Beach.

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HNF Stories
12:04 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Your Weekly Dose of Health Humor

Jonny Hawkins

Today marks the return of Cartoonist Jonny Hawkins to Health News Florida page. A test run of his offbeat health humor this summer proved successful. And we're happy to bring him back every Friday.

We hope you enjoy a laugh or two as you end the work week. And as always, let us know what you think of this or any other news here at Health News Florida. We look forward to hearing from you.

Mary Shedden - Editor, Health News Florida

shedden@wusf.org

HNF Stories
9:59 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

FL Medicare Plan Wins 5 Stars

Just in time for Medicare's open enrollment season, a Florida-based HMO has won the federal government's coveted  five-star rating, a rare honor that brings more than bragging rights. Such plans receive the freedom to enroll new members all year long. 

The winner, CarePlus Health Plans Inc., is a subsidiary of Humana Inc., Florida's largest Medicare vendor. Humana did well in the quality ratings, too,  but was outscored by the little plan it bought in 2005.

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HNF Stories
8:47 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Streamlined Marketplace Site Unveiled

Consumers using the federal healthcare.gov website when open enrollment begins next month should expect a faster website with a shorter application form and features making it easier to use on mobile devices, Obama administration officials said Wednesday.

In a briefing with reporters, they showed off a live version of the updated site and said it has already been used to enroll about 20,000 people.

Still, they did not promise that the website will be glitch-free when it opens for purchases on Nov. 15.

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HNF Stories
7:51 am
Thu October 9, 2014

State to USF: Pick Med School Site to Receive $

Architects' rendering of proposed USF Morsani College of Medicine

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 7:50 am

If the University of South Florida wants more state money to build a new medical school, they first need to decide where they want to build it.

That was the caveat laid down by the Florida Board of Governors' faculty committee at a meeting in Jupiter Wednesday.

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HNF Stories
10:06 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Medicare's Complexity Can Be Scary

Credit U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

As of Nov. 1, I will be on Medicare, which means I have to enroll this month. I should have plenty of company, since open enrollment for 2015 begins Oct. 15.

As a reporter and editor on the health-care beat, I’ve been explaining Medicare to the public since 1976. So people assume that I understand it thoroughly.  

But writing about Medicare is one thing; living it is another. For advice, I called Barbara Katz, a former reporter and lawyer who recently moved to Longboat Key from another state.  She enrolled in Medicare and a supplemental plan six years ago.

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HNF Stories
3:35 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Medicaid Expansion Inspires FL Senate Candidate

Medicaid expansion is an issue in the race for Florida’s Senate District 22, a swing district that covers most of Pinellas County and extends to South Tampa.

"This is an issue that propelled me into the race because I am running against the only senator that voted against the Medicaid expansion,” Democrat Judithanne McLauchlan said.

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HNF Stories
8:34 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Attorneys Ask Feds to Investigate Prison Death

The attorneys who represented Trayvon Martin's family have called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the death of a Florida inmate who had told relatives she feared for her life in prison.

Thirty-six-year-old Latandra Ellington, a mother of four, was found dead last Wednesday at Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala. Attorneys Daryl Parks and Benjamin Crump say a major at the prison told Ellington's aunt she would be looked after during a phone call shortly before her death.

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HNF Stories
8:29 am
Wed October 8, 2014

FL Health Department Confirms 1st Enterovirus Case

The state Department of Health has confirmed the first Florida case of a severe respiratory illness affecting children around the country.

Officials said a 10-year-old girl from Polk County was recovering Tuesday from enterovirus 68. She was treated in Hillsborough County.

The virus causes cold and flu-like symptoms and is considered highly contagious. In infants and young children, the virus can cause difficulty breathing.

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HNF Stories
8:25 am
Wed October 8, 2014

John Morgan Brings Amendment 2 Bus Tour to USF Tampa

John Morgan poses for a selfie with a supporter at USF's Marshall Student Center

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 4:31 pm

Orlando attorney John Morgan -- famous for his TV commercials and for his backing of the medical marijuana amendment in Florida -- stopped by the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida today.

It's part of a campus bus tour he's on this week to get out the youth vote for Amendment 2.

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HNF Stories
8:25 am
Wed October 8, 2014

USF's Sunshine State Survey on Health

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 4:54 pm

USF's School of Public Affairs and Nielsen released more results of their annual Sunshine State Survey today. These are the numbers on how Floridians feel about recreational marijuana.

USF Professor Susan MacManus says two-thirds of Floridians believe that the approval of the medicinal marijuana amendment will lead to legalizing pot, while less than one-third disagree.

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HNF Stories
12:00 am
Wed October 8, 2014

PUP Owners Want $500M from Accountants

Dr. Sandeep Bajaj
Credit Florida Accountable Care Services

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.

Dr. Sandeep Bajaj and Dr. Rohini Bajaj claim the national accounting firm McGladrey LLP is responsible for the financial ruin and liquidation of Physicians United Plan Inc., which had served about 50,000 Floridians until the state took over its operations this summer.

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HNF Stories
8:44 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Candidate Forum Focuses on Health

Credit Lottie Watts / WUSF

Democratic candidates were the only ones to show at a legislative forum organized by the Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative. And each one said Florida needs to take federal funding to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

The participants included Lorena Grizzle (D) – House District 66 candidate; Steve Sarnoff (D) – House District 67 candidate; Scott Orsini (D) - House District 69 candidate; and Judithanne McLauchlan (D) – Senate District 22 candidate.

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HNF Stories
8:45 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Community Confirms 3rd West Nile Case

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Health officials have issued an alert after a third person was diagnosed with West Nile virus in Volusia County.

Officials said in a statement Monday "there is a heightened concern additional residents will become ill."

The alert issued urges residents to take extra precaution to avoid mosquitoes. West Nile is most commonly transmitted to human by mosquitoes.

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