Mary Shedden, formerly of The Tampa Tribune and TBO.com, has joined the staff of Health News Florida, a multi-platform reporting project of WUSF Public Media.
Shedden, a 20-year veteran journalist, most recently covered the health-care system for the Tampa Tribune, where she worked for eight years. Before that, Shedden worked for Florida Today and the Gainesville Sun.
Patients and their lawyers face a potentially steep increase in the cost of obtaining copies of their medical records following action by the Florida Board of Medicine on Friday.
The board, meeting in Orlando, voted unanimously to raise the cap on charges for copying to $1 a page "or actual cost," whichever is less. It makes no difference whether the copies are paper or electronic.
The new charges will not take effect right away, because the board has to start all over again on the rule-making process. That typically takes months.
Florida Supreme Court justices who will decide whether medical marijuana will come up for a vote next November kept asking the same question over and over in a hearing Thursday morning:
What is the difference between a "disease" and a "medical condition" (and should the state leave it up to physicians to decide)?
The ballot language -- limited to a brief summary of the six-page amendment --says a "yes" vote would allow "the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases..." The title would be: "Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions."
If you weren't looking for it, you might miss it, sitting between a nail salon and a discount grocery store in a shopping plaza that seems to have an endless parking lot. Tucked in the plaza is a multi-million dollar medical clinic.
"The model is all inclusive, where you can come and get everything taken care of in one place," said Mark Kent, CEO of CAC-Florida Medical Centers, a subsidiary of health insurance giant Humana.
At least 10 whales that beached themselves have already died, according to reports relayed from the remote scene. They were part of a pod of more than 30 pilot whales that all seemed to be headed for shore.
The scene is a place called Highland Beach, accessible only by boat, and there's no cell phone coverage. Linda Friar, who works at Everglades National Park several miles away, has been in touch with the rescuers by radio.
Gov. Rick Scott stopped in St. Petersburg Wednesday to promote a new state program for doctors in training.
The legislature this spring set aside $80 million to expand medical residency programs at hospitals across the state, including All Children’s Hospital in St.Petersburg. That hospital and nine others in the Tampa Bay region are eligible to receive $13 million of the total.
Even though Florida’s Legislature turned down federal funds to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, leaving billions of federal dollars on the table, the state's health insurance program for the poor continues to grow.
Less than three weeks remain for uninsured Floridians to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act if they want coverage as of Jan. 1. So navigators were relieved to find the federal health website running smoothly on Monday.
Even when a Medicare Advantage plan wins the federal top-quality 5-star rating, it isn’t necessarily the right choice for every beneficiary, according to a cost-sharing analysis from HealthMetrix Research.
Medicare beneficiaries who want to shop for a better deal have only until Saturday, Dec. 7, when open enrollment for 2014 coverage ends. That's the last day to enroll in a Medicare Advantage (managed-care) plan or just a prescription-drug plan.
And it matters. Some Part D plans are changing the drugs they cover -- or boosting the price -- while some of the Medicare Advantage plans are changing the doctors and hospitals in their network.
Commercial health insurers could be an alternative to the balky Healthcare.gov if the White House grants a request from eight Democratic senators, including Florida Sen. Bill Nelson. If the wish is granted, it could mean a huge influx of new customers for Florida Blue.
Another day brings another delay for the federal health law known as the Affordable Care Act.
On Friday, the Obama administration announced that, starting next year, it is pushing back the start of the sign-up period for those buying individual and small business insurance until mid-November, rather than mid-October. That will give insurance companies some extra time to set their premiums, given this year's difficulties.
And, as some analysts point out, the delay may also ease some political concerns for Democrats.
Consumer groups, hospitals and insurers are clamoring for Florida to take the $51 billion in federal funds that have been offered to the state over the next decade to provide health coverage to the working poor. But those who are tuned in politically -- even those who desperately want it to happen -- say it’s very unlikely in 2014.
By the time U.S. Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius arrived at North Shore Medical Center in Miami on Tuesday, Jacquie Basha had already been there for a couple of hours on her quest for health insurance that began seven weeks ago.
Over a long period of daily attempts with the web site, she had opened an account, shopped for a policy and gotten a price. Finally, with the help of health care navigators on duty for the Sebelius visit, Basha got her health insurance.
John Petrila's health policy class at the University of South Florida is full of undergraduate students glued to their smartphones, tablets and laptops. A perfect place, he reasoned, to test the Healthcare.gov website.
“These folks are savvy. Every person in here is a tech savvy person whose used to being online,” Petrila said. “No one's in here thinking, ‘Well, what's the Internet?’ If these folks can't navigate this website, then that's a serious problem."
Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 9:25 am
Florida has rejected an offer of more than $50 billion over 10 years from the federal government to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. So the question remains: how will health care be funded for more than a million low-income Floridians? This week on Florida Matters, a panel discussion that was held last week at Stetson University College of Law to discuss the options. It was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative.
A Lake Worth family doctor accused of sadistic “punishment therapy” that involved handcuffs, blindfolds, whips and other implements of torture apologized repeatedly to the Board of Osteopathic Medicine, which met in Tampa on Friday. But that was not enough to persuade board members that Dr. David Simon could safely continue to practice.
The board rejected a settlement that the state Department of Health had negotiated with Simon's attorney. It included a reprimand, $10,000 fine and two years' probation.
A South Georgia lab that runs drug screens on urine samples from Florida and three other states has been paying doctors cash rebates for the tests they order, according to internal documents obtained by Health News Florida.
Veritas Laboratories LLC in Tifton, which conducts complex tests that can bring hundreds of dollars in insurance reimbursement, keeps $100 and sends the rest to the doctor, the documents show.
Sen. David Vitter, R-La., cast the lone vote in opposition to a bill designed to tighten government oversight of pharmacies that custom-mix prescription drugs, a measure to make lawmakers disclose which of their aides are enrolling in the president's new health care program as part of an ongoing effort to discredit "Obamacare."
The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to advance a bill designed to tighten government oversight of pharmacies that custom-mix prescription drugs, in the wake of last year's deadly meningitis outbreak tied to contaminated pain injections.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A year after a meningitis outbreak from contaminated pain injections killed at least 64 people and sickened hundreds, Congress is ready to increase federal oversight over compounding pharmacies that custom-mix medications.
Before the bill gets to President Barack Obama for his signature, it first has to clear a hurdle put in its path by Louisiana Sen. David Vitter in his ongoing campaign to discredit the president's health care overhaul. A test vote is scheduled for Tuesday evening.
More than half of the Medicare Advantage plans available for enrollment now in Florida for 2014 coverage earned a rating of at least four stars out of five, according to data organized by Avalere Health.
Four Florida plans -- all sponsored by Cigna -- earned the coveted five-star rating: three plans in Bay County and one in Miami-Dade. There were no five-star Advantage plans available in 2013 anywhere in Florida.
WellCare Health Plans is forecast to remain No. 1 in Florida Medicaid managed care enrollment next year after winning a challenge to a state contracting decision affecting patients in northeast Florida.
According to a new report from the Wall Street firm Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., WellCare's enrollment at the completion of the statewide Medicaid managed-care rollout will likely edge out that of Centene Corp., which does business in Florida as Sunshine State Health Plan.
Thirty or so attendees at St. Mary Primitive Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla., gathered on a recent evening to hear a presentation by the Obamacare Enrollment Team on their options to get insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
"If anybody is interested in getting enrolled, we can get you enrolled tonight," they were told.
Signs outside the church looked official: A familiar, large "O" with a blue outline, white center and three red stripes.
An estimated 2.3 million men and women have served during the nation’s last 12 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. And as they transition out of the military, the veterans will need care for immediate and long-term conditions like post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.
And many from health care professionals to retired military are concerned that the neglect of past veterans is not repeated with this new generation.
First, it was Florida's elected officials who went after President Obama's Affordable Care Act, filing suit against it and blocking it in any way they could. Now it's the private sector -- albeit unwittingly.
The data center host for Healthcare.gov, Verizon Terremark, has its world headquarters in Miami. It has gone down three or four times this week (accounts differ) -- most memorably while Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was testifying before Congress on Wednesday.