Health News Florida Staff

Health News Florida is the only news publication dedicated to covering health issues in the nation’s third largest state.

We hold health care policy makers, powerbrokers and practitioners accountable. And our independent reporting, online and on public radio, emphasizes how issues of cost, quality and health care access affect all Floridians.

Founded in 2006, Health News Florida joined WUSF Public Media in Tampa in September 2012. In October 2014, Health News Florida expanded its coverage by adding reporters at public radio stations WLRN in Miami, and WMFE in Orlando.

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Failures by a Tampa assisted living facility to follow its policies helped lead to an 81-year-old man’s death a state investigation found, according to the Tampa Bay Times. 

Alexandre Carvalho (Oxitec)

Some pesticide being used to kill mosquitoes and fight the spread of Zika in Miami-Dade County is also harmful to honey bees, birds, some fish and people, according to the Miami Herald.

The insecticide naled has been approved for use in the United States since 1959 but is banned by the European Union, the newspaper reports.

Florida officials have been slow to partner with federal officials on the investigation of locally-transmitted Zika cases, according to Reuters.

The number of newborns who are physically dependent on drugs in Florida has nearly doubled since 2010, according to The News-Press.

WellCare Health Plans has made an offer for the Medicare Advantage insurance plans that Aetna plans to shed, according to Reuters.

Doctors accused of sexual abuse are allowed to continue practicing medicine in Florida, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Some are even allowed to keep their licenses after they admit to sexual misconduct on a patient, according to an investigation by the newspaper.

A decade-long lawsuit over Florida’s Medicaid program has cost taxpayers millions, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Private insurance companies that say they were underpaid by Florida’s Medicaid system over the past two years delivered a $433 million bill to the state this month, according to the Miami Herald.

WMFE

The University of Florida and University of Central Florida had planned to announce a partnership in the acquisition of Sanford Burnham, according the Orlando Sentinel

TAMPA BAY TIMES AND SARASOTA HERALD TRIBUNE

Florida will spend $58 million more next year on mental health care, with $16 million addressing staffing and safety deficits in the state’s mental hospitals, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

Most of the remaining money will go to two competitive grant programs that communities can apply for if they agree to provide matching funds, according to the Herald-Tribune.

Health data breaches have affected more than 3.7 million people so far this year and Florida has the most victims with 2.73 million, The News-Press in Fort Myers reports.

Two Fort Myers companies -- 21st Century Oncology and Radiology Regional -- accounted for 2.7 million of the total, the newspaper reports.

A group of physicians in the Tampa Bay is working with insurance companies to keep patients healthy and out of hospitals, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

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.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commissioners in Palm Beach County have agreed to lower the fee for sexually transmitted disease tests from $159 to $58, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Commissioners made the change to encourage more people to get tested, the Sun Sentinel reports.

The fee charged by the health department also includes an office visit, medical assessment, lab services and antibiotics, the newspaper reports.

WMFE

Water quality in the Indian River Lagoon is slowly improving after “brown tide” algae killed thousands of fish in March in the Banana River near Marritt Island Cocoa Beach, according to Florida Today.

Water quality data taken over the past month shows improvement, the newspaper reports.

Jason Redmond / AP

Reductions in federal funding for Medicaid are adding to the financial strain in Bay County in Florida’s panhandle, according to the Panama City News Herald.

The Associated Press

The Florida Department of Health says its dramatic drop in the number of new cases of HIV can be attributed to duplicate cases and changes to the way they are counted, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

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As Bayfront Health St. Petersburg transformed from a non-profit hospital losing money to a slimmed down for-profit venture with corporate headquarters in Tennessee, it reduced the amount of charity care the hospital provides, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

YouTube.com

 A medical resident at a Miami hospital has been fired after a video posted on YouTube showing her hitting and screaming profanities at an Uber driver went viral. The Miami Herald reports that Jackson Health System officials have fired fourth-year neurology resident Anjali Ramkissoon, who was placed on administrative leave after the January incident.

More than a year after being hit with multiple lawsuits alleging Medicare fraud, Ocala-based cardiologist Dr. Asad Qamar has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

Coming up at noon on Friday, April 22, the Florida Roundup on WLRN in Miami will feature a conversation about PriceCheck with founder Jeanne Pinder and Health News Florida reporter Sammy Mack.

You can livestream the show from anywhere at WLRN.org or on 91.3 FM in South Florida.

Trying to get a handle on what makes PriceCheck different from other looks at health care costs? Here are some frequently asked questions before you start searching our database.

Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans, Inc. appointed Darren Ghanayem as its senior vice president and chief information officer, according to a news release from the company.

Previously, Ghanayem worked at Anthem as vice president of business transformation, according to the news release.

WellCare covers about 900,000 Floridians in the Medicaid and Medicare programs. It also is among the largest publicly traded companies in Tampa, with more than 5,000 employees.

Sarasota Police Department

A former psychiatric technician at a Sarasota mental health hospital has been convicted on six counts of lewd or lascivious battery and one count of lewd or lascivious molestation of juvenile female patients, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports.

The Florida Department of Health employee who oversaw directors and administrators at county health department statewide is being replaced, Politico Florida reports. DOH interim director Celeste Philip has named Paul Myers to replace Kim Barnhill, who is on administrative leave, according to Politico Florida

The embattled chairman of the Broward Health Board of Directors resigned Thursday, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

Broward Health

The chairman of the board at the embattled Broward Health Hospital District is challenging Gov. Rick Scott's decision to suspend him from the post, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

The Florida Department of Health is pushing back against the Tampa Bay Times for criticizing a revision in the number of the new HIV cases in the state.

Florida Department of Health

Former Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong has been given a job within the Department of Health, Politico Florida reports.

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