Carol Gentry

Health News Florida Special Correspondent

Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four  decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.

After serving two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia, Gentry worked for a number of newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times), the Tampa Tribune and Orlando Sentinel.  She was a Kaiser Foundation Media Fellow in 1994-95 and earned an Master's in Public Administration at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 1996.  She directed a journalism fellowship program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for four years.

Gentry created Health News Florida, an independent non-profit health journalism publication, in 2006, and served as editor until September, 2014. She and Health News Florida joined WUSF  in 2012. 

Gentry retired in the summer of 2017. Contact Health News Florida Editor Julio Ochoa at 813-974-8633 or by e-mail.

Ways to Connect

When appendicitis struck a young mother vacationing in St. Pete Beach eight years ago, she was rushed to Palms of Pasadena Hospital. There, Dr. Ernest Rehnke removed her appendix.

Wikimedia Commons

Three patients at a Florida clinic went blind after receiving eye injections of stem cells derived from their own abdominal fat, according to a report Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

For 18 years, Florida’s voice for expanding health-care coverage has been a group known as Florida CHAIN.

But now two of CHAIN’s former employees are launching their own non-profit, called Florida Consumer Health Alliance. That has set up a power struggle among former colleagues.

CDC

Influenza season is at its peak nationwide, and Florida is no exception. That's obvious on the map at the Centers for Disease Control website.

Dr. Ben Mac-Ryan Spivey, an Ocala dentist who was suspended and heavily fined in 2012 based on complaints from at least 10 patients, completed his probation only to find himself in trouble again.

wp paarz / Flickr

When an individual goes up against a multibillion-dollar company, odds of prevailing are slim.

But every now and then, justice smiles on the little guy. It’s smiling on Tampa internist Jose Ignacio Lopez, who won $1.5 million in a slander suit against a global health-finance powerhouse.

Humana, Florida’s largest Medicare managed-care company, says it will lay off hundreds of employees in April, including 328 in Florida.

Of those, 260 are in the Tampa Bay area, according to Humana spokeswoman Nancy Hanewinckel.

Mount Sinai Medical Center

Cardiologists in mainstream medicine were so sure that chelation therapy for heart disease was bunk that Dr. Gervasio Lamas raised eyebrows when he decided to explore the question in a clinical trial.

As StatNews describes in a profile of the Miami Beach physician, Lamas got so little support he had to finance the trial in part with a second mortgage on his house.

The Commonwealth Fund

Florida saw an “impressive” drop in the rate of uninsured adults in 2014 and 2015, the first two years of full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to a study released Wednesday.

Google Maps

South Miami Hospital has agreed to pay the federal government $12 million to settle charges that it knowingly allowed and billed for unnecessary medical procedures on thousands of patients.

Over a five-year period, Florida’s Medicaid program overpaid private HMOs an estimated $26 million in monthly premiums for enrollees who had already died, according to a federal audit released Tuesday.

Chloe Harris

A blood treatment that was popular 75 years ago but faded away when antibiotics came along may be making a comeback with the increasing popularity of “integrative medicine.”

Florida House of Representatives

Florida’s most vocal advocacy group on health issues will lay off all five of its employees next month as an indirect result of the Republican sweep in the Nov. 8 election.

Florida CHAIN

Florida CHAIN, the state's most active group urging health care for all, says it will lay off all five staff members at the end of next month because it has lost a key source of funds.

The hottest trend in health care these days may be “integrative medicine,” which claims to blend the best ideas from alternative medicine and conventional practice.

But there is vast disagreement on what the best ideas are. And it’s not clear who will decide.

YouTube

Stephanie Sofronsky was just 23, close to graduation from Florida Atlantic University, when she learned she had lymphoma.

She didn’t want to believe it. So she sought a second opinion from Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa and a third opinion from Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, state records show. Moffitt double-checked with the National Cancer Institute. 

YouTube.com

Controversial Sarasota urologist Ronald E. Wheeler has withdrawn from an agreement that would have settled state charges of malpractice against him, according to the Department of Health.  

Florida Hospital

Hospitals in Florida and most other states have made progress in reducing preventable “readmissions,” the unplanned return of patients within a month of discharge, federal officials say.

YouTube.com

An outspoken Sarasota urologist, whose unusual practice style brought him under state investigation four years ago, has signed an agreement that includes suspension from practice.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

Members of the Florida Board of Medicine asked the state to provide a law enforcement officer at its future meetings after an enraged Brandon woman, screaming obscenities, tried to accost her former physician during a hearing in Tampa on Friday.

Submitted

Most of Steve Kenan was laid to rest in St. Petersburg after his unexpected death in 2013. But not his heart.

That organ, preserved in formaldehyde, has traveled more than 1,000 miles to be studied by pathologists in three states. So far, they can’t agree on what killed him; was it his chronic heart condition or a medical mistake?

Insurers are seeking double-digit rate increases for 2017 health plans that will be sold to individual Floridians under the Affordable Care Act, a reflection of increasing medical costs and the end of a safety net for insurers.

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.

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. 

Florida Board of Medicine

A Florida doctor held criminally negligent in the fiery deaths of a child and his grandmother in a hyperbaric chamber has lost his medical license, seven years after the tragedy made international headlines.

The Florida Board of Medicine revoked the medical license of Dr. George Daviglus and those of four other physicians on Friday at a disciplinary hearing in Altamonte Springs. 

Associated Press

For most hospitals in Florida, Medicare is changing the way it pays for hip- and knee-replacement operations to ensure that patients get the right care at the right time at the right price for taxpayers. 

Suarez Urology

Twelve years ago, right after getting a diagnosis of prostate cancer, Carl Sola of Homestead flew with his wife to the Dominican Republic for a treatment he couldn't get in the United States.

His friends warned him not to risk an unproven procedure, one his insurance didn’t cover. 

Barry Gutierrez/NPR

The Florida Legislature has killed a measure that would let doctors increase what they charge patients for copies of medical records to $1 a page.

FDA: Florida Stem Cell Clinic Violates Law

Feb 8, 2016
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

A South Florida clinic that promotes controversial stem-cell treatments for a wide range of ailments is among the centers receiving a written warning that it is violating federal public health laws.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

A final report from Gov. Rick Scott’s Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding is recommending that Floridians should be able to find out ahead of time what it will actually cost before going into the hospital for non-emergency treatment.

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