HNF Stories

HNF Stories
4:41 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Seniors Tackle Diabetes Before Diagnosis

Seven graduates of the St. Petersburg YMCA Diabetes Prevention program and their Instructor Lois Huyghue
Mary Shedden

It’s graduation day at the St. Petersburg YMCA, and Ruth Neal and her classmates are taking a victory lap.

The past 16 weeks, they've talked nonstop about counting fat grams, portion control and the value of being active 150 minutes a week.

“I’m going to stick with it, because I want to be as blessed as my mother was. One hundred and six years old when she passed. I want to be just as blessed,” the 71-year-old from St. Petersburg said of her newfound weight loss and exercise routine.

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HNF Stories
9:05 am
Wed October 1, 2014

FL Lawmaker Target of Food Advocates

Americans like to talk about food, and they certainly like to eat. But they don't normally think about food policy when they vote.

A group of food advocates is trying to figure out how to change that. They're putting money and organizational effort into elections for the first time, including an effort this fall to defeat Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., over his drive to increase work requirements for food stamp recipients.

The push against Southerland is a test of how to make food policy stick in the political arena ahead of the 2016 presidential and congressional races.

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HNF Stories
8:55 am
Wed October 1, 2014

VA Secretary Visits Florida Facilities

VA Secretary Robert McDonald.

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 8:33 am

The new Secretary of Veteran Affairs is in Florida today to hear from veterans and talk to VA employees about his initiative to restore trust in the VA and eliminate the backlog of claims and long waits for health care.

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HNF Stories
8:54 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Medicare Open Enrollment is Fast Approaching -- Here's What We Know So Far

Medicare beneficiaries who want to make changes to their prescription drug plans or Medicare Advantage coverage can do so starting Oct. 15 during the Medicare's program’s annual open enrollment period. There will be somewhat fewer plans to pick from this year, but in general people will have plenty of options, experts say.

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HNF Stories
8:40 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Miami-Dade Moms Among The Highest In C-Section Rates

Karolina Salas had two unplanned C-sections because the doctor told her it was necessary for the baby.

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 10:25 am

Although the World Health Organization recommends Cesarean rates stay between 10 and 15 percent, last year almost half of all babies born in Miami-Dade County were delivered by C-section.

That’s a 49-percent rate.

According to the Florida Department of Health, the cesarean rate in Miami-Dade County has been steadily growing during the past decade. 

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HNF Stories
8:32 am
Wed October 1, 2014

USF's Sunshine State Survey on Crime and Environmental Issues

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 8:29 am

 USF's school of Public Affairs and Nielsen's latest results on their annual Sunshine State Survey was released today, asking how Floridians feel about crime and environmental issues.

USF Political Scientist Dr. Susan MacManus said 46 percent of Floridians are in favor of making current gun laws more restrictive, while a slight majority see no reason to do so.

"This question really reflects racial, ethnic, gender and age divide in the state," she said.

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HNF Stories
8:06 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Chikungunya Spreading in Latin America

Credit Wikimedia Commons

An excruciating mosquito-borne illness that arrived less than a year ago in the Americas is raging across the region, leaping from the Caribbean to the Central and South American mainland, and infecting more than 1 million people. Some cases already have emerged in the United States.

While the disease, called chikungunya, usually is not fatal, the epidemic has overwhelmed hospitals, cut economic productivity and caused its sufferers days of pain and misery. And the count of victims is soaring.

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HNF Stories
7:30 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Governor Scott Weighs In On Troubles Surrounding Florida Prisons

Gov. Scott speaking to reporters last week, following a Jacksonville Jobs announcement.

Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 5:52 pm

Governor Rick Scott is weighing in on the troubles surrounding the state’s prison system. The Florida Department of Corrections has been in the news lately for prison firings, allegations of inmate abuse, and the latest: threatening to cancel their contract with private inmate health care provider.

During a recent stop in Jacksonville, Scott told reporters he’s aware of the problems in the system and he says Corrections’ Secretary Mike Crews is taking care of it.

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HNF Stories
4:59 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Tougher Compounding Rules Finally Law

Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Stricter regulations in the state’s compounding pharmacy industry take effect Wednesday -- two years after a national outbreak of fungal meningitis killed 64 people, including seven in Florida.

In 2012, when the New England Compounding Center outbreak happened, the state had hundreds of unregulated, non-resident facilities providing these specialized medications to Floridians. Now, the state will require permits for any pharmacies outside state boundaries that want to ship medications in state.

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HNF Stories
3:36 pm
Mon September 29, 2014

4 Years Of Lessons Learned About Drugmakers' Payments To Doctors

ProPublica's Dollars for Docs

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 5:15 pm

On Tuesday, the federal government is expected to release details of payments to doctors by every pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturer in the country.

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HNF Stories
9:04 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Report: Scott's Inspector Told of Cover-up

Credit Florida Inspectors General Office

A widening scandal focusing on the treatment of Florida prison inmates includes new allegations that Gov. Rick Scott's own top watchdog was warned about the possible cover-up of two suspicious prison deaths but did not do anything.

The Miami Herald reported Friday that the governor's chief inspector general received an anonymous letter in Oct. 2012 that included details about prisoners who had died while in state custody.

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HNF Stories
8:48 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Tampa Pedestrian Hit by Ambulance

Credit Wikimedia Commons

A 21-year-old southwest Florida pedestrian was seriously injured when she was struck by an ambulance.

Sheriff's officials say Kimberley Nicole Tate was crossing a Tampa street Sunday morning when she was hit by a Hillsborough County Fire Rescue ambulance. There is no signal or crosswalk at the location.

Authorities said the ambulance was on its way to a call and was flashing its lights and sirens. The ambulance had just slowed down as they approached the intersection and was braking before the crash. The two paramedics stopped and started rescue efforts on Tate.

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HNF Stories
8:46 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Florida, Texas Expand Medicaid – For Kids

Republican lawmakers in Florida and Texas snubbed the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion for adults, but their states did broaden the program this year -- for school-age children.

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8:36 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Prison Health Provider Told It's Failing

Lead in text: 
The winner of a $1.2 billion contract to provide health care to Florida’s prison inmates is being accused of failing to treat patients properly, the News Service of Florida reports. The Department of Corrections says the Missouri-based company Corizon must fix 80 percent of the problems identified in recent audits, or payment will be withheld, according to the News Service.
  • Source: Usf
  • | Via: News Service of Florida
Department of Corrections Secretary Mike Crews is threatening to stop payments to a Missouri-based company that won a five-year, $1.2 billion contract to provide health care to the majority of the state's prisoners, accusing Corizon of failing to provide adequate treatment.
HNF Stories
7:39 am
Mon September 29, 2014

In Wake Of Bell Mass Shooting, Could Fla. Be Considering Another DCF Legislative Fix?

Mourners look at a display of photos during a memorial service at Bell High School for the victims of Thursday's shootings on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014 in Bell, Fla.
AP Photo

Originally published on Fri September 26, 2014 6:55 pm

State child welfare officials are looking into what went wrong in their handling of an investigation of a Florida man who shot himself and his family in North Florida. The Florida Department of Children and Families say they were actually investigating the man weeks before the mass shooting in Bell. So, in the wake of the deadly rampage, could lawmakers be considering another DCF legislative fix?

About a week ago, Don Spirit shot his 28-year-old daughter Sarah and her six kids ranging in age from about three months old baby to 11-years-old.

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HNF Stories
9:05 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Two More Dozier Families Get Answers

Thomas Varnadoe (right) in an undated family photo. Varnadoe died in 1934 at the age of 13 at the Dozier Reform School for Boys.
Lucielle Salomon WUSF 89.7 News

In 1934, 13-year-old Thomas Varnadoe and his brother, Hubert, were sent to the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys for allegedly stealing a typewriter.

In 1944, 12-year-old Earl Wilson went to the reform school in the panhandle town of Marianna, Florida, for allegedly riding in a car a friend stole.

Neither Thomas nor Earl ever returned home -- until now. Science and perseverance are finally giving their families some peace.

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HNF Stories
8:35 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Clinic Accused of Transgender Bias

Credit U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

A Lakeland eye clinic and Michigan funeral home on Thursday became the subject of the first federal lawsuits to protect transgender people in the workplace, accused of illegally firing employees who were making a transition to female.

Lakeland Eye Clinic and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes of Garden City, Michigan, violated federal law by discriminating based on gender stereotypes, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said. It's the first time the agency has sued claiming discrimination against people who are transgender.

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HNF Stories
8:13 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Miami-Dade Teachers Fight For Right To Pump Breast Milk

Monica Howell and her baby, Celeste, in their Miramar home, Sept. 19, 2014. Howell and other teachers are campaigning for Miami-Dade schools to establish policies to allow lactating teachers time and space to pump breast milk.

Originally published on Tue September 30, 2014 6:52 am

When Monica Howell gave birth to her daughter Celeste earlier this year, the Miami-Dade school teacher knew she wanted to breastfeed for as long as possible.

On her first day back in the classroom after maternity leave, Howell carried a new set of supplies: an electronic breast pump, ice packs and storage containers for her milk.

She met with her assistant principal to schedule the times she planned to pump.

"Her reply to me was, 'Absolutely not, we cannot accommodate breastfeeding mothers,'” Howell said.

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HNF Stories
5:28 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Flu Shot Essential for Seniors

Last year, about half of Hillsborough County's Medicare recipients were vaccinated for the flu. But during most flu seasons, adults 65 years of age and older account for 90 percent of all flu-related deaths.

That's why the Hillsborough County Department of Aging is teaming with the National Council on Aging’s “Flu + You” campaign to encourage seniors to get flu shots at the Senior Fun Fest Friday) in Brandon.

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HNF Stories
7:50 am
Thu September 25, 2014

USF to Announce Names of Two More Dozier Remains

Thomas Varnadoe (right) in an undated family photo. Varnadoe died in 1934 at the age of 13 at the Dozier Reform School for Boys.

Originally published on Thu September 25, 2014 10:31 am

University of South Florida researchers will announce Thursday afternoon that they've determined the identities of two more sets of remains buried on the grounds of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys.

The Ledger and a release from Senator Bill Nelson's office say that one is Thomas Varnadoe, 13, who died in 1934, a month after arriving at Dozier.

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HNF Stories
4:11 am
Thu September 25, 2014

Consumer Savvy Critical To Health

Dr. Lisa Schwartz and Dr. Steven Woloshin of the Dartmouth Institute Center for Medicine and the Media.
Credit Dartmouth College

Spend a lot of time investigating before make a big purchase? Most of us do.

But that's not always the case when it comes to medical treatments or drugs.

Dr. Steven Woloshin and Dr. Lisa Schwartz have been researching the misleading medical and pharmaceutical messages in advertisements and other media for years.

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HNF Stories
2:00 pm
Wed September 24, 2014

Orlando Woman Shares Anti-Smoking Message (VIDEO)

Felicita Soto of Orlando is part of the CDC's anti-campaign.

 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a new ally in its graphic anti-smoking campaign.

Even though the CDC's “Tips from Former Smokers” ads are aimed at adults, Felicita Soto of Orlando says she hopes kids will get the message.  She started smoking when she was in the sixth grade. 

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HNF Stories
9:43 am
Wed September 24, 2014

FL Marketplace Adds 4 Insurers

The number of health insurance companies offering plans in the marketplaces this fall will increase by 25 percent, giving consumers more choices for coverage, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced Tuesday.

When the marketplace enrollment reopens in November, 77 new insurers will be offering coverage in the 44 states for which HHS had data, which includes the 36 states that use the federal marketplace and eight states that run their own, the department reported.

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Off The Base
9:17 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Army Ranger Cory Remsburg 'Leads the Way'

Dr. Steven Scott, director of the Polytrauma Center at James A. Haley VA Hospital, talks with his former patient, Army Ranger Cory Remsburg.
Bobbie O'Brien WUSF Public Media

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 12:36 pm

Army Ranger Cory Remsburg returns each year to James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa to show the staff his progress. He was severely injured in 2009 and spent two years recovering at Haley’s Polytrauma Center.

Remsburg was on his tenth deployment when he was injured by an IED in Afghanistan. His teammates found him face down in a water-filled canal with shrapnel in his brain.

He was in a coma when he arrived at the Haley.

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HNF Stories
1:06 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

HCA Closing St. Petersburg Hospital

For the first time since 2012, a hospital in Florida is closing its doors.

HCA West Florida announced Tuesday the 38-year-old Edward White Hospital in St. Petersburg will close by the end of November and consolidate services to three nearby hospitals it also owns.

Officials said operating costs at the aging facility continued to grow. And it pointed to a glut of hospital beds in the area: more than 1,000 in southern Pinellas County alone.

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HNF Stories
8:34 am
Tue September 23, 2014

DCF Investigated Home Where 8 Died

This undated image provided by the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office shows Don Spirit, who's suspected of killing six of his grandchildren, his daughter and himself near Bell.
Credit AP Photo/Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office

Two weeks before a Florida man fatally shot his daughter and six grandchildren, someone called the state child abuse hotline, worried that adults were doing drugs in front of the kids, according to documents released Monday.

Authorities said 51-year-old Donald Spirit called 911 from his mobile home Thursday warning he might hurt himself or others. By the time a deputy arrived, Spirit had committed suicide. And he had killed 28-year-old Sarah Spirit and her six children, including an infant girl born in June.

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HNF Stories
4:20 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Florida Matters Preview: Are You A Savvy Health Consumer?

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 8:26 am

 The last time you felt dizzy or experienced an unusual pain, be honest.  Did you Google it? Or have you ever read a post on Facebook that got you worried about your health?

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HNF Stories
9:54 pm
Sun September 21, 2014

Correction: FL Enrollment Numbers

The number of Floridians who completed enrollment for 2014 in an insurance plan through the federal Health Insurance Marketplace was about 220,000 fewer than the federal government reported in May, according to an August report by the state Office of Insurance Regulation.

Health News Florida reported a different gap in an Aug. 26 article, Obamacare Sign-ups to Increase 23%?

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HNF Stories
6:44 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Millennials: Tech Not Only Health Solution

GuideWell is testing an interactive bathroom mirror, which provides regular health updates and reminders each morning.
Mary Shedden WUSF

There are a lot of stereotypes out there about the millennial generation: they’re disengaged and hyper-focused on technology.

But someday, these 80 million Americans born between 1980 and 1999, will be needing health care. And a lot of it.

That's why the second MediFuture conference this week in Tampa asked a panel of college students for some insight. While the five men and one woman say they may not be using the health care system much now, it's important medicine doesn't assume that technology is all they care about.

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HNF Stories
1:35 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

The Secret Price of Health Care: Transparency

 We’ve been hearing a lot about how health care prices are kept secret in this state.

As WLRN and the Miami Herald have been documenting all this week, the tangle of employers, insurance companies and providers makes shopping for health care and health insurance difficult enough — but underneath that web is a layer of secrecy that prevents consumers from seeing what actually gets paid for care. 

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