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.

Florida Current

Two kinds of eye doctors -- optometrists and ophthalmologists -- have returned to the Legislature to resume their 30-year-old turf war, which has generated a lot of heat and campaign contributions.

Channel 10 News

One of the largest treatment programs in the world, Narconon, claims to have incredibly high success rates. But it also uses techniques that mental health professionals call “quackery” and caused, according to one family, the death of their daughter, 10 News in Tampa reports.

Broward Bulldog

Broward Health Commissioner David Di Pietro said the healthy system could owe up to $100 million in civil liability related to a federal investigation, according to the Broward Bulldog.

Florida Senate

After hearing complaints from “safety net” and teaching hospitals, the Senate’s Health Policy Committee is asking the Agency for Health Care Administration to give more options for implementing a new Medicaid payment plan. Right now, the new diagnosis-related group payment formula would mostly benefit for-profit hospitals, Miami Herald’s Naked Politics blog reports.

After he fired six shots in his home -- aiming at rats, he said --76-year-old Thomas Judd of Tampa was “Baker Acted,” taken to a crisis center for an involuntary mental health examination. As usual, he was found to be suffering from schizophrenia.  His guns were taken away.

But now Judd has his guns back, after a proceeding in Hillsborough Circuit Court, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

CBS Miami

A team from the American College of Surgeons says Florida shouldn’t approve any more trauma centers, at least not until there’s a better way to determine whether they’re needed, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

After hearing from the independent panel, Surgeon General John Armstrong didn’t say whether he would take the advice. The panel will share more of its recommendations with the state in about eight weeks.

For insurers and the agents who sell their products, this is a time of great uncertainty, of racing to prepare for something that remains ill-defined: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. By October, if they want to be available for sales to individuals and small firms, insurers must be prepared to market themselves on an online website, even as they continue to market to large employers. Agents hope to figure out a role for themselves where they can still make a living.

WellCare Health Plans announced Tuesday that the state has approved expansion of its Staywell Medicaid plan into an additional 25 counties.  The expansion places WellCare in the position of being the only Medicaid managed care contractor offering plans in all 67 Florida counties, the company said.

Some of the counties that will be added have not previously offered a managed-care plan to Medicaid patients, the release said.

The Tampa-based company offers two Medicaid HMOs in Florida: Staywell and HealthEase.

No state income tax. Warm weather. Lots of fitness trainers. And cash-only medical clinics with no state regulation.

Florida's pediatricians are gaining national recognition for their one-sided struggle against the National Rifle Association and the "Privacy of Firearm Owners" law signed in 2011. That law forbade physicians from asking patients whether they have guns and ammunition at home.

Family practitioner Bernd Wollschlaeger of Miami, pediatricians Judy Schaechter and Tommy Schechtman,  the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and other medical societies sued Gov. Rick Scott soon after he signed the bill.

The Department of Health gave its approval to two HCA-owned trauma centers on the same day it held a workshop to discuss the impact of such facilities on the community.