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Health News Florida
11:31 am
Thu October 30, 2014

USF Downtown Tampa Med School 'Bigger Than Baseball'

The proposed downtown Tampa University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine would be 12 stories, with a detached medical office building
Credit USF

A new cluster of University of South Florida medical school buildings planned for downtown Tampa could be "bigger than baseball," Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn told a group of USF trustees today.

Buckhorn was referring to the possibility that the Tampa Bay Rays could eventually move from Tropicana Field to another field of dreams on an empty lot in downtown Tampa.

He spoke during a meeting of the USF Board of Trustees Health Workgroup meeting at USF's Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS), which would be a gallstone's throw from the new complex.

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HNF Stories
9:27 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Floridians Sue Over Red Light Cameras

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Two Florida drivers have filed a class action lawsuit against a private company that ran red light cameras for more than 70 Florida municipalities.

Christopher Parker and Marwa Moussa said in a lawsuit filed Monday that their rights to due process were violated by the Arizona company, American Traffic Solutions.

They say the company was given improper authority for decisions that should have been made by law enforcement officers.

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Health News Florida
9:23 am
Thu October 30, 2014

FL Expects 200K New ACA Enrollees

Credit Healthcare.gov

  More than 200,000 Floridians are projected to sign up for health insurance during the upcoming Affordable Care Act enrollment period beginning November 15th, the Miami Herald reports.

The projection, compiled by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, would raise Florida's total enrollment to about 1,07 million, the Herald reports.

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9:18 am
Thu October 30, 2014

State: Consider Managed Care in Lawsuit

Lead in text: 
State agencies wanting to introduce new evidence into a nine-year-old fight over Florida Medicaid is being criticized by children’s advocates, the News Service of Florida reports. The lawsuit led by the Florida Pediatric Society claims the state does not provide adequate care for kids in the Medicaid program. The Agency for Health Care Administration and Florida Department of Health filed documents asking that the state’s new managed care system should be considered, according to the News Service.
  • Source: Usf
  • | Via: News Service of Florida
With a federal judge possibly close to ruling in the case, plaintiffs' attorneys are objecting to a state attempt to offer new evidence in a lawsuit about whether Florida has adequately provided care to children in the Medicaid program. The lawsuit, which has been spearheaded by the Florida Pediatric Society, was filed in 2005.
HNF Stories
9:00 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Some Southern States Expanding Medicaid

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center has seen its number of uninsured patients drop since the state expanded Medicaid.
Credit The University of Arkansas

The University of Kentucky’s Chandler Hospital has seen its inpatient numbers rise by 5 percent and its outpatient numbers rise by 10 percent since July. But its number of uninsured patients has dropped, from about 9 percent to 2.5 percent.

Prior to this year, says Chandler’s Dr. Michael Karpf, “we were getting paid 10 cents on the dollar” serving low-income patients. “Now we are getting 40 cents on the dollar, so the cost of care for these people isn’t totally covered, but there is a lot more reimbursement. It means we are having very strong bottom lines in the hospital.”

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HNF Stories
12:02 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Impairment Triggers Wrong-Way Crashes

A woman was killed after driving her car the wrong way on southbound I-75 Sept. 22 and striking a tractor trailer in Pasco County.
Florida Highway Patrol

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading causes of injury and death in the United States. And while wrong-way crashes account for a small percentage of the accidents, more than a dozen people have died in an outbreak of wrong-way driving on Tampa-area roads.

"Unfortunately 2014 has been a very tragic year, especially dealing with the wrong way crashes, and we can't really say why this year we've seen such the number we have,” said Sgt. Steve Gaskins with Florida Highway Patrol.

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Health News Florida
9:24 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Lab Makes Potential Alzheimer’s Discovery

A team of scientists in Sarasota has published a new discovery that could be a major breakthrough in Alzheimer’s disease research, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Health News Florida
9:16 am
Wed October 29, 2014

CHS Hospital Improvement Plan Falls Short

Marion County Hospital District trustees say Community Health Systems, a health care company currently leasing Munroe Regional Medical Center, has failed to create a sufficient improvement plan for the hospital, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

Health News Florida
9:12 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Rehab Owner Guilty of Medicare Fraud

The former president and owner of two Florida rehabilitation facilities pleaded guilty to health care fraud and money laundering charges Monday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Laura Leyva was president and owner of American Rehab of Kissimmee, Inc. and American Rehab of South Florida, Inc. from 2007 to 2009. During that time she submitted over $2.5 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.

HNF Stories
7:58 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Florida Monitoring Six for Ebola

Six people who recently traveled from Ebola-affected regions are under twice-daily monitoring by the Florida Health Department. The state continues preparing in case someone tests positive.

No cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Florida, and all six of the people being monitored are considered low-risk. Gov. Rick Scott says just under 100 hospitals have completed special Ebola training, and he hopes more will do so.

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HNF Stories
12:01 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Hospitals Take Leap on Prevention

Nearly half of Florida hospitals have earned an "A" on error prevention in a new report card from a business-backed group concerned about patient safety.

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Health News Florida
9:37 am
Tue October 28, 2014

ACA May Make HIV Meds Unaffordable

While the Affordable Care Act offers insurance for people living with HIV/AIDS, the plans could be too costly, the Miami Herald reports. Prices for 2015 plans won’t be announced until at least next week, but some Floridians won’t be surprised if they can’t afford it, the Herald reports.

HNF Stories
9:16 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Scott Defends Order on Ebola Monitoring

Gov. Rick Scott
Credit Associated Press

Gov. Rick Scott defended his decision to monitor anyone coming from Ebola-affected countries, saying Monday it's "the right thing to do" to protect Floridians. 

Appearing beside New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at a campaign event in Wellington, Scott said his executive order would ensure that the state wards off an outbreak and goes beyond actions by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"I want to make sure that ... we don't do what CDC did — they got behind," he said. "We're not going to get behind. We're going to be prepared."

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Health News Florida
9:07 am
Tue October 28, 2014

FL 28th in Workers’ Comp Rates

Florida ranks 28th in the nation for workers’ compensation premium rates, according to The Workers' Compensation Premium Rate Ranking Summary from Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services.

Health News Florida
7:58 am
Tue October 28, 2014

FL Blue Work on Kid Obesity Recognized

Federal officials are recognizing health insurer Florida Blue for its significant improvements in addressing the childhood obesity epidemic.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the Florida Blue Foundation at a ceremony in Cleveland.

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HNF Stories
12:53 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Medicare Plan Fights State Order

Ultimate Health Plans, a scrappy little company north of Tampa, is offering Medicare HMO deals that  sound too good to be true: no premium, no deductible, free gym membership and even cash back.

What's not to like? Ask the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, which suspects the company lacks sufficient funds to pay claims for its 3,000 members. OIR issued a suspension order Oct. 2, but it was  placed on hold when Ultimate invoked its right to a hearing. It can take months, sometimes years, for the hearing process to unfold.

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HNF Stories
12:32 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Most FL Plans Shine in Star Ratings

Credit U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Just a handful of Florida Medicare Advantage plans offered for 2015 received below average scores in a federal quality rating system, a breakdown of data by Avalere Health shows.

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Health News Florida
9:43 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Cities Pass Moratoriums Before Vote on 2

Ahead of a vote on a statewide amendment that would legalize medical marijuana, Boca Raton is poised to approve a city law that would ban the sale or cultivation of marijuana, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

Other municipalities, including  Boynton Beach, North Palm Beach, Lake Clarke Shores and the village of Golf, also are working on year-long bans on marijuana treatment centers. 

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Health News Florida
9:33 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Vet Sentenced for Prescription Fraud

A Pensacola-area veterinarian who was accused of writing prescriptions for thousands of methadone tablets for his ex-wife’s dog -- but was actually giving them to his daughter-in-law -- has been sentenced to 20 months in state prison, the Pensacola News Journal reports.

Health News Florida
9:19 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Boom Coming in New Nursing Homes?

State health care regulators have received 137 letters from companies hoping to open new nursing homes in Florida as a decade-long moratorium ends, as Christine Jordan Sexton with SaintPetersBlog reports.

HNF Stories
8:44 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Ex-Health Worker Gets Prison for ID Theft

A former assistant at a South Florida medical practice has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for stealing patient identities from a hospital database.

A federal judge imposed the sentence Friday on 33-year-old La Toya Yvette Tillman of Hollywood, who pleaded guilty in August to aggravated identity theft.

According to court documents, Tillman was able to steal the identities by accessing the Memorial Healthcare System database through a computer at her medical office. She sold 2,000 of the stolen identities to another person for $1 each.

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HNF Stories
8:32 am
Mon October 27, 2014

HealthCare.Gov EZ Form Not for Immigrants

Credit CuidadoDeSalud.gov

HealthCare.gov's simpler online application is being touted as a big win for consumers. But it can't be used by immigrants in the United States legally and naturalized U.S. citizens, who represent millions of potential new health insurance customers.

That's prompting worries that many Hispanics and Asians will end up in long enrollment queues when the second sign-up season for coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law gets underway next month.

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HNF Stories
5:11 pm
Sun October 26, 2014

Florida Orders 21-Day Monitoring for Ebola

Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is ordering twice daily monitoring for anyone returning from places the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designates as affected by Ebola.

Scott signed the order Saturday, giving the Florida Department of Health authority to monitor individuals for 21 days. Scott said in a press release that his administration had asked the CDC to identify risk levels of returning individuals from specific parts of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, requesting information specifically about the risk level for four people who had already returned.

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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.

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Opinion
8:41 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Your Weekly Dose of Health Humor

Your Dose of Health Humor comes to you every Friday. 

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.

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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.

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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.

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Health News Florida
9:50 am
Thu October 23, 2014

FL Researchers Taking On Ebola

Florida scientists are being tapped in the race to find a vaccine for Ebola.

The Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida will be a subcontractor in a $10 million National Institutes of Health contract to enhance immune responses to viruses such as Ebola and HIV, the Port St. Lucie non-profit research institute announced in a press release.

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Health News Florida
9:38 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Medicaid Expansion Claim: Mostly False

Charlie Crist has been hitting current Gov. Rick Scott hard on his inability to expand Medicaid throughout the election season. During Tuesday's debate, Scott fired back at Crist, asking him why he didn't expand Medicaid in 2010, his final year as governor and the year the Affordable Care Act passed.

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