HNF Stories

Florida kids go to the emergency room more often than kids in the rest of the country—even when they have insurance—according to a new analysis from the Health Care Cost Institute.

The researchers at HCCI analyzed three years of insurance company billing information from Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and Kaiser Permanente to look at trends in how children are receiving health care.

They found that children in Florida and across the country are going to the doctor less often, but when they do it’s getting more expensive.

Florida Blue

The insurance company Florida Blue says its rate increases were published too soon on the Obamacare website.

The numbers that were briefly available showed as much as an 11 percent price increase on some plans.

Charles Elmore of the Palm Beach Post first saw the numbers when he was surfing the HealthCare.gov website.

  Florida health care advocates and politicians are making the case that health care access is a religious issue.

Health News Review

  It makes Gary Schwitzer cringe when he sees a network news report about a diet that lets you eat pizza, doughnuts and ice cream while melting away fat.

WLRN

Patients looking for more transparency in health care costs won’t usually find it on the bill from their medical provider.

  

  Pinellas County has its first reported case of Zika virus, the Florida Department of Health said on Monday.

Expert: Pot Is $4.5 Billion Industry In The United States

May 10, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Retails sales of marijuana in the United States are expected to be $4.5 billion this year, but constant changes in state regulations are creating hurdles for business people trying to make money off pot.

A Miami-Dade circuit judge has declared Florida's new death penalty law unconstitutional.

Florida Hospital Tampa.

In an effort to expand services and reduce unnecessary hospital visits, Tampa Family Health Centers opened its first facility connected to a hospital.

The Associated Press

Twelve health centers in Florida will get more than $10 million from the federal government to renovate, expand and increase capacity to serve underserved patients, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced this week.

Thousands In Orlando For International Child Care Conference

May 5, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

More than two thousand researchers, foster parents, and non-profit leaders are in Orlando today and tomorrow to talk about child care. The Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) is hosting the International Child Care Conference at First Baptist Church of Orlando.

Associated Press

The lives of nearly 400 death row inmates hang in the balance during oral arguments Thursday before Florida's Supreme Court, which will ultimately decide if their sentences should be reduced to life in prison.

Hospital, Insurer Clash Over Payment Information

May 5, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

In a battle between a major Jacksonville hospital and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday grappled with questions about how much information the hospital should be required to disclose about its charges for care.

House Bill Would Curb Regulation Of E-Cigarettes, Cigars

May 5, 2016
Ed Andrieski/Associated Press / Associated Press

Vape away.

Increasingly popular e-cigarettes and cigar varieties could be exempt from some government safety regulations if House Republicans have their way. It’s a move that alarms Democrats and public health advocates who argue that it could lead to unsafe products.

Judge Says South Broward Should Get Transplant Programs

May 5, 2016

In a dispute between two public-hospital districts, an administrative law judge Wednesday said the South Broward Hospital District should get approval to open kidney-transplant programs for children and adults.

Humana became the latest health insurer to serve notice that it might leave some Affordable Care Act exchanges next year, creating more uncertainty for customers ahead of this fall's enrollment window and presidential campaign, during which the law is sure to remain a hot debate topic.

Health-care prices are complex and in many ways secret—which can affect how much you end up paying for your health care.

But not everyone agrees on what transparency in health-care pricing should look like.

You can listen to a story about what we mean when we talk about transparency here:

Speculation About Scott As Running Mate Increases

May 3, 2016
Florida Office of the Governor / Florida Office of the Governor

Most of the speculation around Gov. Rick Scott's political future has centered on a bid for the U.S. Senate in 2018, when incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson will be up for re-election and facing a Republican-friendly midterm electorate that helped Scott win two terms in the governor's mansion.

Judge Leaves Open Possibility Of Three Pot Licenses In Northeast Florida

May 3, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Medical marijuana licenses given to two Northeast Florida nurseries by state health officials cannot be challenged by a grower who lost out in the application process, an administrative law judge ruled Monday.

Opioid Epidemic Fueling Hospitalizations, Hospital Costs

May 3, 2016
Associated Press

Every day, headlines detail the casualties of the nation’s surge in heroin and prescription painkiller abuse: the funerals, the broken families and the patients cycling in and out of treatment. Now, a new study sheds light on another repercussion — how this public health problem is adding to the nation’s ballooning health care costs and who’s shouldering that burden.

Florida Heroin, Fentanyl Deaths Skyrocket

May 3, 2016
WMFE

Florida medical examiners have recorded a sharp increase in deaths related to opioid overdoses, especially in South Florida.

 Two years ago the Florida High School Athletic Association, or FHSAA, passed a wildly unpopular mandate, requiring girls lacrosse players to wear head gear. The organization said it was responding to concussion risks -- but critics say policy and public perception of risk are getting ahead of the actual data.

Google Maps

Authorities on Monday released the name of an elderly man who died after possibly being left out in the sun at a Pinellas Park nursing home on Saturday.

More children in Florida had a parent in prison than nearly anywhere else in the country, according to a report released Friday.

NPR

PBS is bringing a nationally syndicated town hall on rising gun violence to central Florida tonight. Northland Church in Longwood will be the scene for the “Armed in America” series.

Pia Christensen/Association of Health Care Journalists

Dr. Vivek Murthy is not only one of the youngest people ever named the U.S. Surgeon General, the 38-year-old also is the first person of Indian descent to hold the post.

But there’s one more thing: he's a Floridian.

When 31-year-old Shannon Lawley died at a Brevard County hospital four years ago, her parents wanted to file a medical malpractice suit. But only spouses or children can sue under Florida law, and Shannon Lawley had neither.

Michael Lawley felt the law was so unfair that he protested to the legislature the year after she died, as Health News Florida reported at the time. 

Real prices for health care are complicated and oftentimes secret. Health News Florida, WUSF and WLRN have launched an online guide to bring clarity to health care costs. PriceCheck Florida is a database of prices of common health care procedures and supplies.

You can search the database, and you can contribute information about the prices you paid.  

This week on Florida Matters (Tuesday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 1 at 7:30 a.m.), we sit down with project founder Jeanne Pinder and Health News Florida reporter Sammy Mack to talk about how the database works and why it’s needed. We also feature a discussion on the impact of health care costs on employer-based insurance.

  The Indian River Lagoon stretches about 156 miles along the Florida's east coast. And it's where Laurilee Thompson has her earliest memories.

“I had a little tiny rowboat when I was 6-years-old . . . There were barnacles and oysters and sea squirts,” the Titusville resident recalled. “You know even just the pilings in  the sea walls were alive. . . the cone Jellies used to come in the spring . . . and you get this big green explosion. There were entire ecosystems just along the sea wall.”

Breast Implants, Tummy Tucks Funded By Identity Theft

Apr 26, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

When some central Florida women wanted plastic surgery they couldn't afford, police say they turned to a 28-year-old woman who used stolen IDs to cover the expenses.

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