News

Pages

HNF Stories
9:08 am
Mon July 6, 2015

State Sees Sharp Spike In Number Of Children In Foster Care

 The number of Florida children in the state's foster-care system has reached its highest level since 2008 --- driven by both a spike in the number of kids being removed from their homes and a drop in the number being discharged after a stint in foster care.

In the last 24 months, the number of children in what's known as out-of-home care has reached 22,004 statewide, up from 17,591 in 2013.

Read more
HNF Stories
9:03 am
Mon July 6, 2015

Miami Judge Sentences 5 In $25M Medicare Scheme

Five people have been sent to federal prison for their roles in a $25 million Medicare fraud scheme that involved people from Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic posing as U.S. patients.

The sentences imposed last week by a Miami federal judge ranged from 15 months to four years. The five defendants are among 10 who have pleaded guilty after they were charged last year in a 36-count grand jury indictment.

One person, 70-year-old Jose Eloy Sanchez, remains at large and is believed to be in Nicaragua.

Read more
HNF Stories
9:00 am
Mon July 6, 2015

Court Rules Against Some Malpractice Damage Caps

 A Florida court has ruled that caps on certain damages in medical malpractice lawsuits do not apply in personal injury cases.

The Legislature in 2003 established $500,000 limits on non-economic damages for such cases. Last year, the state Supreme Court ruled they don't apply in medical malpractice cases involving wrongful death.

Read more
Health News Florida
8:56 am
Mon July 6, 2015

Abortion Wait Period Back On Hold

Credit Associated Press

In the latest move in a legal and political battle, a circuit judge has issued an order blocking a new law that requires women to wait 24 hours before having an abortion in Florida.

After a hearing by conference call on Thursday, Leon Circuit Judge Charles Dodson granted a motion by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights to vacate a stay that had allowed the 24-hour waiting period to remain in effect.

Read more
Health News Florida
8:24 am
Mon July 6, 2015

Millions In Free Clinic Funds Vetoed

Credit Associated Press

Gov. Rick Scott single-handedly vetoed funding for a 10-page list of local and statewide projects that legislators hoped to included in the state’s 2015 budget. The cuts totaled $461 million from the $78 billion state budget.

One area where Scott’s cuts hit particularly hard: health care for the poor. Among his bigger cuts was $9.5 million for the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, which supports free and low-cost clinics that provide health-care to low-income communities across the state.

Read more
HNF Stories
9:04 am
Thu July 2, 2015

Special Session Over, Spotlight On Hospitals Continues

The commission also met in Tampa on June 17.
Credit Lottie Watts / WUSF

A panel formed by Gov. Rick Scott to examine the finances of hospitals and other parts of the health-care industry held its first meeting Wednesday since the end of two legislative sessions dominated by those issues, as Scott signaled he would continue pushing for changes.

The governor's Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding met in Jacksonville to hear from local hospitals --- and particularly UF Health Jacksonville --- and to consider data on executive compensation and the quality of care around the state.

Read more
HNF Stories
6:28 pm
Wed July 1, 2015

Loved Ones Remembered With Cremation Jewelry

Nelson Jantzen memorialized his deceased wife, Dianne, by incorporating her ashes into this fused glass pendant. The ashes are sealed inside the cat's face.
Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

 When someone dies, a lot of people honor the memory of a loved one with a funeral.

Those who chose a traditional casket burial spend about $7,000 or more. A service that includes a cremation costs about a third of that.

But there’s a growing number of people who want to remember their loved ones long after the funeral ends in a different way.

One Tampa Bay area artist creates a memorial with a non-traditional twist.

Read more
Health News Florida
9:12 am
Wed July 1, 2015

Armadillo Blamed In FL Leprosy Case

Credit Associated Press

Health officials in Flagler County have reported its first case of leprosy in at least 15 years, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. According to health officials, the Flagler patient is an outdoorsman who was exposed to an armadillo -- which is the way most leprosy infections occur. This case follows reports of four cases of leprosy in neighboring Volusia County in recent months.

Read more
HNF Stories
9:11 am
Wed July 1, 2015

Written Consent No Longer Needed For HIV Test

A new law in effect July 1 makes it easier to get an HIV test in health care settings.
Credit WMFE

A new Florida law kicking in today makes getting an HIV test easier. Doctors no longer need written consent to give patients an HIV test in health care settings, like doctor’s offices and hospitals.

The law could have a big impact in Florida, which has more new HIV infections than anywhere else in the country.

Jesse Fry is a policy analyst with the AIDS Institute in Tallahassee. He said an estimated 18,000 Floridians have HIV and don’t know they have the virus, according to the institute. 

Read more
HNF Stories
8:54 am
Wed July 1, 2015

Vaccine Access Expands At Pharmacies

Credit WMFE

Floridians will be able to receive more vaccines at their local pharmacies under a law that takes effect Wednesday.

Pharmacists are already able to administer vaccines that fight some viruses, like influenza and shingles, but the new measure (HB 279) would add several others, including shots targeted at measles, mumps and rubella; tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (or whooping cough); and human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease that can cause cancer.

The new law will also allow pharmacy interns to be certified to give vaccines.

Read more
HNF Stories
7:21 am
Wed July 1, 2015

‘Right to Try’ May Be Hard to Implement

The Goldwater Institute has created a website to convince drug companies and the Food and Drug Administration to cooperate with states that have Right to Try laws.
RighttoTry.org

While the “Right to Try Act,” which aims to give dying patients the right to try unapproved experimental drugs, is law in Florida as of today, its implementation isn't so clear.

In theory, the Right to Try law allows terminally ill patients access to drugs that have passed first-phase clinical trials and are going through later-stage trials as part of a new drug application to the Food and Drug Administration.

Read more
HNF Stories
3:17 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

Judge Blocks Abortion Waiting Period Law

A Florida judge is blocking a new state law that requires women to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion.

Tallahassee Chief Circuit Judge Charles Francis on Tuesday blocked the law today, a day before it was scheduled to take effect.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit after Republican Gov. Rick Scott signed it into law. They argued that the law violates the right to privacy guaranteed in the state constitution by interfering with the right of women to undergo the procedure.

Read more
HNF Stories
8:28 am
Tue June 30, 2015

Fake Service Animals Could Lead to Jail

Credit Wikimedia Commons

A new Florida law taking effect July 1 will make it a misdemeanor to pass off an unqualified pet as a service animal.

The law, proposed by state Rep. Jimmie Smith, R-Inverness, will make misrepresenting a dog as a service dog a second-degree misdemeanor. The offense is punishable with up to 60 days in jail and 30 hours of community service for an organization that services people with disabilities, to be completed in less than six months.

Read more
HNF Stories
8:13 am
Tue June 30, 2015

Eye Doc Awaiting Trial May Be Released

Credit Associated Press

A Florida doctor charged with corruption alongside New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez appeared closer to being released from jail Monday as an agreement about his bond solidified.

A hearing in federal court in West Palm Beach ended with no formal decision on Dr. Salomon Melgen's release, but U.S. Magistrate Judge James Hopkins said he hoped to issue an order Wednesday in the Medicare fraud case.

Hopkins ruled last month that Melgen should be held until he stands trial in the Medicare case, which is separate from corruption charges he faces with Menendez in New Jersey.

Read more
HNF Stories
8:05 am
Tue June 30, 2015

Florida Asks to Resume Executions

Credit California Department of Corrections

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is asking the state Supreme Court to allow officials to execute a man convicted of murdering four people in Orlando.

Bondi asked the court Monday to lift the stay on the execution of Jerry Correll now that the U.S Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a sedative that is used in lethal injections in Florida.

She also said in a statement the U.S. Supreme Court ruling should allow the state to move forward with future executions.

Read more
HNF Stories
10:44 pm
Mon June 29, 2015

Insurance Regulators To Cap HIV Drug Costs

Credit MGN Online

Florida insurance regulators will start reviewing health plans for discriminatory practices after three insurers were accused of charging higher prices for HIV drugs.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation announced it will review 2016 plans available on HealthCare.gov in Florida for possible discriminatory practices in their coverage of all prescription medications, and will also limit patient cost-sharing of HIV medications to reasonable co-pays.

Read more
HNF Stories
9:03 am
Mon June 29, 2015

More With SNAP Buying From FL Farmers

Credit Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons. / WMFE

Food stamp recipients in Florida are buying a lot more from farmers and farmers markets.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says expanding access to fresh produce for SNAP recipients has been a top priority.

Redemptions under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly the Food Stamp program, have ballooned since 2008 by more than a thousand percent.

Amy Rupert-Secol is chief vegetable officer at Homegrown, a Central Florida food co-op. She says even more could be done to get low-income families to shop local.

Read more
Health News Florida
9:02 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Chiropractor Caught In PIP Clinic Scam

Credit Florida Department of Financial Services

A clinic owner who used his license as a chiropractor to get around state licensing requirements has been charged

Read more
Health News Florida
8:58 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Children's Medical Network Challenged

Credit Florida Department of Health

The families of four Florida children with special health-care needs have filed a challenge to a new state process that removed them from a program providing services to medically fragile kids.

On Thursday, attorneys for the families filed an administrative challenge to the Florida Department of Health's process, contending that the agency has been screening youngsters out of the Children's Medical Services Network without accepting public input or following other rule-making requirements.

Read more
Health News Florida
8:49 am
Mon June 29, 2015

Child-On-Child Sexual Abuse Highest In Broward

Credit Broward Sheriff's Office

Broward County reported more child-on-child sexual abuse incidents in 2014 than any other county in Florida, the

Read more
HNF Stories
6:00 pm
Thu June 25, 2015

Living With HIV a Rollercoaster

Will Blair was diagnosed with HIV May 20, 2014. He says the last year has been a roller coaster.
Abe Aboraya Health News Florida

Will Blair can describe his family in three words: southern, conservative, Baptist. 

“I’m kind of the black sheep,” he said.

Blair was 17 and living in rural Lake County when he came out as gay to the grandparents raising him.

Last year, at 32, he had to come out a second time: as HIV positive.

“It’s hard dealing with letting the people close to you know,” Blair said. “Because some people, even the ones close to you, even though they’re talking to you and you hear the words coming out their mouth, you know that behind what they’re saying is judgment.”

Read more
HNF Stories
2:17 pm
Thu June 25, 2015

Free HIV Tests Being Offered Across Florida

Saturday is National HIV Testing Day. In the lead up, groups across Florida are offering free tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

  Many Florida Department of Health offices are conducting simple blood tests for HIV and syphilis.

Read more
HNF Stories
1:12 pm
Thu June 25, 2015

Scott Drops LIP Lawsuit

Credit The Associated Press

Florida Governor Rick Scott on Thursday said he’s dropping a lawsuit against the Obama administration after federal officials agreed in principle to extend federal hospital funds for two more years.

Scott credited the lawsuit with extending the funds, which had been scheduled to run out at the end of the month. The agreement will fund Florida’s hospital low-income pool, but at a reduced cost. Florida will receive $1 billion this year – about half of what the state had been receiving – and $600 million next year.

Read more
HNF Stories
10:16 am
Thu June 25, 2015

HealthCare.gov Subsidies Safe in Florida

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court decision on health subsidies keeps intact the way more than 1 million Floridians buy and pay for insurance through HealthCare.gov.

People like Phil Ammann. After nearly a decade without insurance, the St. Petersburg resident on Thursday was thrilled by the news. A $300 subsidy means he pays just $93 a month for coverage.

Read more
HNF Stories
8:52 am
Thu June 25, 2015

100,000 Need Power for Medical Devices

Nearly 18,000 Central Florida residents need power for medical devices.

More than 100,000 Floridians depend on electrical power to keep life-saving medical devices running, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The interactive map released Tuesday shows that nationwide, 1.6 million Medicare patients need power for medical devices.

Read more
HNF Stories
8:46 am
Thu June 25, 2015

Court to Rule on Abortion Wait Challenge

Only days before a new Florida law would start requiring 24-hour waits before women can have abortions, a Leon County circuit judge is considering whether to place a hold on the law while a constitutional challenge goes forward.

The law (HB 633), which passed in April, is slated to go into effect July 1. The day after Gov. Rick Scott signed the law, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a constitutional challenge and sought an emergency injunction.

Read more
Health News Florida
8:41 am
Thu June 25, 2015

Hospitals, Florida Blue Reach Agreement

Sacred Heart Health System and Florida Blue approved a new contract that will give members access to the hospital system’s services for the next three years, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

The Panhandle-area hospitals owned by Ascension Health Care sent letters to customers saying they had been unable to reach an agreement with Florida Blue and could part ways by July 1, according to the Daily News.

Read more
Health News Florida
8:34 am
Thu June 25, 2015

Unmarked Graves Found At Hospital Construction Site

Credit www.floridahospital.com

Florida Hospital DeLand will continue construction on a $3.5 million lab after human remains were discovered in unmarked graves, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.

The burial site is thought to contain bodies from residents of a nearby “poor farm,” a place where indigent elderly and disabled residents lived and worked between the 1890s and 1950s, according to the News-Journal.

Read more
HNF Stories
8:23 am
Thu June 25, 2015

Children's Program Boost Makes Budget

After worries about cuts earlier in the year, $13 million is being added to the state’s Early Steps program, which serves babies and toddlers with developmental disabilities or delays.

House and Senate budget negotiators initially agreed on $3 million for Early Steps -- and Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, added $10 million to the program as legislative leaders finished hammering out a $78.7 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Gov. Rick Scott included the program in his final budget, signed Tuesday.

Read more
HNF Stories
6:00 pm
Wed June 24, 2015

Black Straight Men Ignored in HIV Prevention

Charles Williams, co-director of Miami's Generational Cure mentoring program, talks about safe sex with Traivon Harris, left, and Dwayne Jackson, right.
Nadege Green Health News Florida

Charles Williams is sitting at a table with two of the young men he mentors. They get together at least twice a week.

On this day, they’re talking about sex. More specifically,  about protection.

“In the heat of the moment sometimes, a guy doesn't necessarily reach for a condom,” Williams tells Dwayne Jackson, 14, and Traivon Harris, 15. 

The boys get bashful and chuckle at William’s blunt delivery.

But Williams said he has to talk this way about safe sex with his young men. Many young, heterosexual black men don’t consider themselves at risk for HIV/AIDS.

Read more

Pages