HNF Stories

HNF Stories
9:02 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Watching Health News, for You

For years, Health News Florida has been sharing the state’s top health news with you, via our daily eAlert. We wake up early every day, keeping tabs on the latest developments on stories from Miami to Marianna, and Tallahassee to Tampa.

Read more
HNF Stories
10:37 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Suspended Medicare HMOs Still Listed

Many Florida shoppers at Medicare.gov will find Day Break and Sunrise among their lowest-priced HMO options. But if they call to enroll in either one, they’re out of luck.

Florida Healthcare Plus, a small Coral Gables company that sponsors the two Medicare Advantage plans, is under state and federal suspension, unable to sign up new members during the current open-enrollment season for Medicare, Oct. 15-Dec. 7. Being frozen at this time of year can be a death sentence for such plans.

Read more
HNF Stories
9:07 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Health Director Tackles Ebola Facts, Fiction

Credit Megan Milanese

Hillsborough County's Health Department director is going of the offensive to combat fears about Ebola.

Douglas Holt said that concerns have grown since two health care workers in Texas tested positive for the disease after treating a man who died from it. 

But the real threats to U.S. safety in regard to Ebola are fear and panic, he said. The key to controlling the outbreak is early identification, isolation, and identification.

Read more
HNF Stories
9:54 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Public Doubts Hospitals Can Handle Ebola

Most Americans have some confidence that the U.S. health care system will prevent Ebola from spreading in this country, but they're not so sure their local hospital can safely handle a patient, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.

Amid worry here, most Americans say the U.S. also should be doing more to stop Ebola in West Africa. Health authorities have been clear: Until that epidemic ends, travelers could unknowingly carry the virus anywhere.

Read more
HNF Stories
9:29 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Slain Kids Told DCF They Feared Mom

In the months before a Volusia County man shot his three children, his wife's drinking seemed to be tearing the family apart.

According to documents released Tuesday by state child welfare officials, Cynthia Mohney was stumbling drunk at times, repeatedly slapped the children and they were increasingly afraid of her.

It was her disturbing behavior that brought child protective investigators to the home in June and recommended she seek substance abuse treatment. Two of the children even told investigators they felt safer with their father.

Read more
HNF Stories
9:27 am
Thu October 23, 2014

FL Hospitals Battling Infections

Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  While Ebola stokes public anxiety, more than one in six hospitals — including some top medical centers — are having trouble stamping out less exotic but sometimes deadly infections, federal records show.

Nationally, about one in every 25 hospitalized patients gets an infection, and 75,000 people die each year from them—more than from car crashes and gun shots combined. A Kaiser Health News analysis found 695 hospitals with higher than expected rates for at least one of the six types of infections tracked by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Read more
HNF Stories
8:35 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Depression An Evolutionary Process

USF psychology professor, Jonathan Rottenberg, will participate in the 22nd Annual Festival of Reading with his book about depression.
Basic Books Publishing Company

Psychology Professor Jonathan Rottenberg wants to change the way people think about depression, a condition the World Health Organization estimates affects 350 million people around the world.  The University of South Florida professor uses mood science research to challenge the current model of depression -- that it is a chemical imbalance. This approach doesn't explain why antidepressants don't work any more effectively than when they were first introduced, he said.   Instead, his theory, featured in 

Read more
HNF Stories
9:43 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Poynter to Host African Journalists After USF Cancels

Credit The Poynter Institute

The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg will host a group of African journalists after their original hosts, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg's Department of Journalism and Media Studies, canceled over concerns of the spread of the Ebola virus. 

The visit is part of the Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists, which brings 100 international journalists to the United States each year. 

Read more
HNF Stories
9:00 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Rubio Proposes Ebola Visa Ban

Credit AP

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, will propose legislation to temporarily ban visas into America for people coming from African nations known to have Ebola.

Under the Florida senator’s plan, citizens of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia could not obtain a visa to come to the United States until those countries get the virus under control.

Rubio pointed to recent success in Nigeria, which has been declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization.

Read more
HNF Stories
7:20 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Health Issues Big in Only Attorney General Debate

In the one and only debate among the candidates for Florida Attorney General, health issues came up again and again. Highlights featured in WUSF’s weekly public affairs show Florida Matters include discussions of medical marijuana, pill mills and the so-called “stand-your-ground” law.  

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 Wed October 22, 2014 9:20 am

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

Read more
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.

Read more
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 Tue October 21, 2014 6:36 am

 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."

Read more
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 

Read more
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.

Read more
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. 

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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. 

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more

Pages