HNF Stories

HNF Stories
8:40 am
Fri March 27, 2015

UCF Proposes New Medical Residencies

The University of Central Florida is proposing adding up to 700 medical residency slots.
Credit University of Central Florida

A decade from now, Florida is expected to be short 7,000 doctors.

The University of Central Florida is looking to tackle some of that.

Deborah German, dean of the UCF medical school, said Thursday the school wants to expand the training doctors get after getting a medical degree. The specialty residencies would focus on psychiatry, surgery and emergency medicine.

And it would offer the opportunity to get new federal money, German said.

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HNF Stories
8:16 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Measles Patient Visited Kissimmee, Sarasota, South FL

The Florida Department of Health has confirmed a measles case in Central Florida.

The measles was diagnosed in an international traveler who stayed at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee March 16 and March 17.

The unidentified traveler spent most of the time in Osceola County, but also visited Miami-Dade, Orange and Sarasota Counties while contagious.

The patient did not attend any theme parks, state health officials said, although there was no initial count of how many people may have been exposed. The traveler was treated in Miami and flew home.

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HNF Stories
7:59 am
Thu March 26, 2015

Health Questions Slow Senate Tax Plan

Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon
Credit Florida Senate

The Senate has lined up a series of tax cuts that could top the House's freshly announced $690 million package.

However, the Senate isn't rushing to move forward with its proposed cuts.

The holdup is that the state could face a $2 billion hit if no agreement is reached in ongoing negotiations between state and federal officials over funding for the Low Income Pool program, which helps pay hospitals for health care for low-income and uninsured patients.

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HNF Stories
6:21 am
Thu March 26, 2015

The Nurse Will See You Now: Expanded Authority Proposal Gets Moving In Legislature

FMA President Dr. Allen Pillersdorf argues against expanded nurse powers in the House Health Innovation Committee on 3/25/15.

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 12:25 pm

A plan to expand the powers of advanced registered nurses hasn’t yet caught on in the legislature, but eased out of a House Health panel Wednesday. The fate of bill remains cloudy, but its sponsor says even if it fails this year—the issue isn’t going away.

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HNF Stories
6:03 am
Thu March 26, 2015

Florida Deadliest State for Cyclists

This memorial 'ghost bike' in downtown Tampa remembers LeRoy "Roy" Collins Jr., a former two-star admiral killed while cycling in 2010.
Daylina Miller Health News Florida

Frank Gilbert has been nudged a few times while riding a bike to work. Nudged is his term for cars bumping into him.

If you close your eyes and think of someone riding a bike to work, you might picture spandex and neon helmets. Maybe jean shorts and a handlebar mustache.

But that is not what Gilbert looks like. Gilbert is middle-aged, wearing khaki pants, a blue blazer and tie while cruising in his recumbent bike four miles to downtown Orlando. The trip takes him through residential streets and across busy highways four days a week.

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HNF Stories
2:50 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Fewer Dying Before 75 in Florida

Credit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Three Tampa Bay counties improved their health score in this year’s annual County Health Rankings, released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Hillsborough County is the 28th healthiest county in Florida, up three places from 31 in 2014’s report. One reason, according to the report, is that fewer people are dying before they turn 75.

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HNF Stories
11:42 am
Wed March 25, 2015

What ‘Attack’ Is More Likely: Alligator or Gun?

AP

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 2:12 pm

Florida is one of 20 states that specifically bans firearms on college campuses, but the Florida Legislature is moving toward allowing guns on campuses.

A group that advocates for concealed carry of firearms on campuses recently told lawmakers that alligator attacks are more common than "attacks" by those with a gun permit.

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HNF Stories
9:09 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Orlando to Get $75M Senior Health Complex

Ken Robinson, (left), president of Dr. Phillips Charities, poses for a photo with Dr. Wayne Jenkins of Orlando Health after signing an agreement to build and operate a senior health complex.
Credit Abe Aboraya / Health News Florida

Dr. Phillips Charity announced today it will build a senior housing and health care complex in southwest Orlando.

Orlando Health will operate a physician practice on site, including primary care and specialists oncology, cardiology, orthopedics and geriatrics. Seniors can live in 180 assisted or independent living apartments. The entire complex is expected to cost $75 million dollars.

Ken Robinson, president of Dr. Phillips Charities, says the physician practice will open next year, and the senior housing will open in 2017.

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HNF Stories
8:34 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Senators Want Outside Prison Oversight

Credit Florida Department of Corrections

Saying that they no longer have trust in Florida’s prison system, some legislators are pushing ahead with a sweeping proposal that would strip Gov. Rick Scott of complete control of the system while creating an independent commission that could investigate future allegations of corruption or problems.

The Florida Senate appears ready to approve the far-reaching bill, but so far Republicans in control of the House appear reluctant to go that far in shaking up the agency that has come under fire for suspicious inmate deaths and poor conditions.

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HNF Stories
8:19 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Plan Boosts Child-Protection Reforms

Rep. Gayle Harrell, R-Port St. Lucie
Credit Florida House of Representatives

A House panel Tuesday approved a proposal aimed at tightening the sweeping reforms that lawmakers placed into Florida's child-welfare system last year.

The House Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee unanimously approved a bill (PCB FCSS 15-02) that would tweak the new law, which passed after a series of child deaths due to abuse and neglect.

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HNF Stories
7:22 am
Wed March 25, 2015

UM Health Care Conference Highlighted "Disruptive Innovation"

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 7:25 am

The University of Miami School of Business hosted its yearly health care conference Monday. The main topic of discussion was “disruptive innovation,” which organizer and professor Steven Ullmann says means "to disrupt how we do health care provision in this country."

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HNF Stories
7:21 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Centers For Medicare And Medicaid Want To Partner With Florida To Lower Health Care Costs

Patrick Conway, chief medical officer for the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services, speaking with Donna Shalala, president of University of Miami at the university's annual health care conference this year.

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 8:10 am

The Florida Legislature is debating on whether to expand Medicaid.

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HNF Stories
7:17 am
Wed March 25, 2015

State Lawmakers Trying To Untangle Charlotte's Web

Non-euphoric marijuana was supposed to be available January 1 of this year.

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 5:46 pm

With another challenge of the Department of Health’s medical marijuana rules filed, state lawmakers are trying to untangle the mess that has become of last year’s so-called Charlotte’s Web law.  The Senate Regulated Industries committee took up the matter Tuesday.

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HNF Stories
7:16 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Florida Senate Passes Gun Evacuation Bill

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 6:01 pm

The Florida Senate has passed a measure allowing people to carry guns during a mandatory emergency evacuation without a concealed carry permit. The measure pit some Democrats against one another on the Senate floor Tuesday.

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HNF Stories
9:23 am
Tue March 24, 2015

DCF Worker On Trial for Sexual Battery

Jason Conrad Montgomery
Credit Polk County Sheriff's Office

A Polk County jury will begin to hear the case of a Department of Children and Families case worker accused of threatening to take a woman’s children unless she had sex with him, the Ledger of Lakeland reports. 

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HNF Stories
8:33 am
Tue March 24, 2015

5 Years of Obamacare and FL Leads Enrollment

The Affordable Care Act turns five this week, and Florida leads the nation in the number of consumers buying health insurance.

While about 1.6 million residents already have signed up for coverage, the number signing up for Obamacare could grow even more, thanks to income tax season.

Floridians who didn’t buy health insurance off the federal HealthCare.gov marketplace for this year are getting a second change buy coverage. Kind of.

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HNF Stories
7:33 am
Tue March 24, 2015

APD's "iBudget" System Getting an Overhaul

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 6:16 pm

After a flurry of court hearings taking aim at the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the agency must now rewrite some of their rules on how disability funding is allocated. A workshop held today on the iBudget is just one small step in a much longer narrative.

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HNF Stories
7:31 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Bill Creating Needle Exchange Pilot Program Passes First Senate Panel

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 6:38 pm

A bill establishing a needle exchange pilot program in South Florida to help reduce HIV/AIDS is now starting to move in both chambers of the Legislature, after passing its first Senate committee Monday.

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HNF Stories
7:24 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Lawmakers Eye Bill To Ban Contact Lens Price Floors

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 6:24 pm

Many contact lens manufacturers are imposing what’s called a Unilateral Pricing Policy on contact retailers.  It lets manufacturers set a minimum price for their product. If retailers drop below that price, they risk losing the ability to continue selling that company’s contacts. Sen. Tom Lee (R-Brandon) says there are other products that fall under similar pricing agreements, but none quite like contacts.

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HNF Stories
8:23 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Transgender Youth Affected By Bathroom Bill

Transgender teen Jazz was the inspiration for a children's book. Florida's single sex bathroom bill, decried by the transgender community, would also affect schools.

Megan cracks open the book, and begins reading to her daughter.

“I am Jazz,” she starts. “For as long as I can remember, my favorite color has been pink.”

That’s Megan, an Orlando mother reading a children’s book to her 5-year-old. We’re not giving Megan’s last name or the name of her daughter to protect the child’s identity.

Her daughter wears a green shirt with shiny rhinestones, a grey skirt and ballerina slippers.

She’s a little shy around the reporter until Jazz, in the book, says she’s not like her friends. Jazz has a girl brain and a boy body.

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HNF Stories
7:55 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

Senate Health Panel OKs Consumer Bills

Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville
Credit WLRN

Bills aimed at helping patients save money on contact lenses and confront fewer hurdles in access to drugs passed the Florida Senate Health Policy Committee on Monday. The panel also passed a bill to crack down on rogue clinics that escape state oversight by taking only cash.

Here are details:

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HNF Stories
8:22 am
Mon March 23, 2015

Homeless Pose as Patients, 4 Charged

Attorney General Pam Bondi

Four people are being charged with Medicaid fraud for allegedly recruiting homeless people to pose as patients.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced the arrests on Friday.

Bondi's office alleged that the owner of an Orlando clinic and three of her associates would offer gas cards and temporary housing to homeless men and women who then posed as patients.

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HNF Stories
2:15 pm
Sun March 22, 2015

House, Senate Healthcare Dispute Shows Up In $4B Gap In Spending Plans

Matt Ross, 23, is one of more than 800,000 Floridians stuck in what's called the Medicaid coverage gap. The Medicaid issue is diving the Florida legislature as it tries to craft a budget.

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 5:33 pm

Continued uncertainty over federal health funding is causing budget pains in the Florida legislature. The House and Senate have a $4 billion  gap in their proposed spending plans for the upcoming fiscal year—and that’s largely due to disagreements over the biggest part of state spending: Medicaid.

The first floor of the Capital is swarming with people dashing back and forth—some pushing frantically at the slow-running elevators, others giving up—and dashing up the stairwells instead. Off to the side, is 23-year-old Broward resident Matt Ross.

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HNF Stories
2:15 pm
Sun March 22, 2015

Criminologist Doesn't Sweat Campus Guns

Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker, wants college campuses armed

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 5:28 pm

A Florida State University expert says statistics are on the side of Republican lawmakers who want to allow concealed weapons on campus.

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HNF Stories
2:14 pm
Sun March 22, 2015

Bill Allowing Victims To Secretly Record Abusers Passes Florida House

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 6:03 pm

A bill allowing victims of sexual and physical abuse to secretly record their attackers to use as evidence in court passed the Florida House.

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HNF Stories
2:12 pm
Sun March 22, 2015

DCF Chief Mike Carroll Gets Initial Ok In Recent Senate Hearing

DCF Secretary Mike Carroll during a recent confirmation hearing in the Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee Thursday.

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 6:15 pm

The head of Florida’s child welfare agency is now on the path to getting confirmed by the full Senate, after initial approval from a Senate panel this week.

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HNF Stories
2:02 pm
Sat March 21, 2015

Medical Students Meet Their Match

USF medical student Chris DeClue announces his residency at USF in diagnostic radiology on National Match Day, Friday, March 20. Senior Vice President of USF Health, Charles Lockwood, held the mic.

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 8:18 am

With visibly shaking hands, University of South Florida medical student Chris DeClue opened his envelope.

The sound of rustling paper echoed through the speakers.

“USF. Diagnostic radiology,” he said as the crowd erupted into cheers.

Friday was National Match Day and 128 USF students, the school’s largest ever medical class to celebrate,  gathered at Ulele, a restaurant near downtown Tampa, to find out where they're going to do their post-graduate medical training.

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HNF Stories
6:23 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Health Plan for Legal Immigrant Kids Stalled

A bill that would extend low-cost KidCare health insurance to roughly 25,000 children of legal immigrants has gotten further in the Florida Senate than ever before, but remains stalled in the House.

The proposal (HB 829/SB 294) would eliminate a five-year waiting period for lawfully residing immigrants to qualify for KidCare, a subsidized insurance program that serves children from low- and moderate-income families.

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HNF Stories
5:55 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Access-to-Drugs Bill Gains Steam

Mari Velar
Credit Facebook.com

Mari Velar, who has lupus and osteoporosis, has bones as fragile as butterfly wings. 

To keep them from breaking, she depends on an IV drip of a bone-strengthening fluid, which costs a lot more than pills. Whenever she has a new plan or new doctor, she has to switch to the cheaper therapy until she begins to itch.

“In order to appease the doctor, I have to try the drug and show them the hives and prove to them that I cannot take the drug,” says the 54-year-old Tampa woman.

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HNF Stories
12:40 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

UCF Student’s “Iron Man” Arm Goes Viral

Alex Pring received his first 3D arm from University of Central Florida enrgineering students last summer.
University of Central Florida

A video that’s gone viral shows Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr. giving a young Central Florida boy, Alex Pring, a bionic arm that looks like Iron Man’s. That arm was made by a non-profit group called Limbitless.

Its founder, Albert Manero, is a University of Central Florida engineering graduate student and a Fulbright Scholar working toward his PhD.

He spoke with 90.7’s Nicole Creston.

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