Abe Aboraya

Health News Florida Reporter

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.

Contact Abe at 407-273-2300 x 183 on Twitter @AbeAboraya or by email

Orlando Health

The incoming CEO of Orlando Health will take over an eight-hospital system that’s once again profitable when he starts his new job.

But there are still challenges facing the CEO of Florida’s second-largest hospital system.

David Strong got his start in health care mopping surgery floors in high school.

He’s now president of Rex Healthcare in North Carolina, which was recently named a top-100 hospital by Thompson-Reuters. He also created a fund to spur investments in health care innovation.

Strong says his first job at Orlando Health will be to listen.

TheFreshStopBus.com

The promise of a new year often comes with a familiar resolution: eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and get healthy.

But for the 23.5 million Americans living without easy access to a grocery store, eating healthy isn’t easy.

One Central Florida nonprofit this week started bringing a mobile farmer's market into neighborhoods that need it.

Orlando Health has chosen a new president and CEO.

David Strong will take over as CEO of the $2.1 billion health care system in April.

Orlando Health Board Chairman Dianna Morgan said they choose Strong out of a dozen candidates because of his focus on patient satisfaction and his reputation with doctors.

“Really creating an environment where it makes it very easy to practice,” Morgan said. “Those are really the things we heard over and over again.”

State officials are meeting in Orlando this week to hash out new rules for a form of medical marijuana that doesn’t get you high.

The so-called Charlotte’s Web bill was passed over summer, and the Florida Department of Health was supposed to have rules in place by January 1 to implement the law.

But now a judge’s ruling on a controversial provision of the regulations is causing a do-over.

Competition to become Florida’s first medical marijuana supplier is fierce.

Orlando Health’s board of directors is about to offer the job of CEO to someone new.

Regardless of who it is, analysts say one thing is for sure: that chief executive will likely earn more than $1 million in salary and benefits to run the state’s second-largest hospital system of eight hospitals and more than 1,700 beds.

www.healthcare.gov

A program that rewards or punishes health care providers for providing better, cheaper care is expanding. The federal government announced 89 new organizations this week, including five in Florida.

Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs, are groups of doctors and hospitals which agree to coordinate care for Medicare patients.

If they save money, the ACOs then split the savings with the federal government.

  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services this week announced 89 new ACOs. That brings the total to 424 across the U.S.

Fourteen people have been indicted over their links to a deadly meningitis outbreak – including two Central Floridians.

New England Compounding Pharmacy Inc. was blamed for the 2012 outbreak that sickened 678 people and killed 64, including 25 infections and three deaths in Florida. The charges include racketeering, conspiracy and second degree murder.

Winter Park residents and pharmacy owners Carla and Doug Conigliaro are among the 14 former owners or employees of a Massachusetts pharmacy charged Wednesday by federal prosecutors in Boston.

Abe Aboraya / Health News Florida

George Dawson has the rough hands of a carpenter and a grizzly grey beard. He’s on his hands and knees pulling weeds out of a red mulch flower bed at the Orlando VA Medical Center’s administration building.

“This community service ain’t too bad,” Dawson said. “I joked when I said Becky had me under the lash. It’s not hard. You just gotta do what you’re responsible for.”

Dawson is clean and sober, and a small business owner: He repairs and resells broken pallets. Thirteen months ago, it was a different story.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A holiday party that sickened 55 office workers in Maitland this week has been reported to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The luncheon put 20 people in the hospital, including a pregnant woman.

If the Maitland outbreak happened in 2013, it would have ranked No. 8 on Food Safety News’ list of top 10 largest outbreaks.

Here’s how foodborne illness lawyer and Food Safety News publisher Bill Marler put it:

Some sexual assault victims in Central Florida will now be able to get low-cost treatment closer to home.

That’s because of an agreement between the local Planned Parenthood and Victim Service Center announced this week. Planned Parenthood’s new Kissimmee clinic is now part of a referral agreement with Victim Service Center, which runs the local 24-hour rape crisis hotline.

Victims of rape and sexual assault will get access to free initial and follow-up screenings for STDs like HIV, as well as reduced-cost emergency contraception.

Taber Andrew Bain, via Flickr Creative Commons

Some Central Florida hospitals are ramping up plans to get patients signed up for insurance - when they come to the emergency room.

Both Florida Hospital in Orlando and Orlando Health are expanding a program that puts federal health care marketplace navigators in the hospital during the open enrollment season under way.

Trained counselors are already in place at five Orlando Health locations, said Tom Yoesle, the chief operating officer of revenue management for Orlando Health.

The former director of Scotland’s National Health Services said the U.S. health care system would benefit from further integration.

Derek Feeley, speaking at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s national forum on quality improvement, said the U.S. should blur the lines between health care and social services.

Feeley imported the U.S. model for patient safety.

Abe Aboraya / Health News Florida

If Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell has a chance, she wants to talk with Florida leaders about expanding Medicaid in Florida.

Burwell was at Florida Hospital in Orlando Tuesday promoting open enrollment on the federal HealthCare.gov insurance exchange.  

She said in an interview with Health News Florida that she’s trying to understand why Florida’s legislature has decided to not expand the government health coverage for the poor. She said she’s open to talking about Medicaid expansion with legislative leaders and Governor Rick Scott.

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