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.

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.

The Associated Press

  

  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.

Google Maps

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.

Krensavage Asset Management, a New York hedge fund company, is trying to exert greater control over a North Central Florida company that makes surgical implants, the Gainesville Sun reports.  

 

Krensavage nominated four people with extensive management experience in health products and services to RTI’s nine-member board of directors after accusing the company of devaluing its stock, according to the Sun.

 

Florida lawmakers finalizing the state budget have are dealing with a new formula for the federal  Low Income Pool funding model that helps hospitals cover costs for treating the uninsured.

As a nationwide investigation of hundreds of hospitals by the U.S. Department of Justice wraps up, two more South Florida hospitals are among those settling False Claims Act charges.

Broward Health

The Florida Attorney General’s Office has rejected a request from Broward Health’s board to hold private meetings over investigations under way by the FBI and the state inspector general, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

Florida Department of Health

Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong faces another confirmation hearing today, in front of the same group that a year ago refused to back his nomination.

Baptist Health South Florida says it will collaborate with New York-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for the new $400-million Miami Cancer Institute scheduled to open later this year, the Miami Herald reports.

A private investigator says he spent a year looking into wrongdoing at the Broward Health system at the request of its CEO, who died last week from suicide, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

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