Julio Ochoa

Health News Florida Editor

Julio Ochoa is editor of Health News Florida.

He comes to WUSF from The Tampa Tribune, where he began as a website producer for TBO.com and served in several editing roles, eventually becoming the newspaper’s deputy metro editor. 

Julio was born and raised in St. Petersburg, and received a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University. He earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and worked at a paper in Greeley, Colo., before returning to Florida as a reporter and as breaking news editor for the Naples Daily News.

Contact Julio at 813-974-8633, on Twitter at @julioochoa or email julioochoa@wusf.org.

Gov. Rick Scott has declared a public health emergency across Florida for the opioid epidemic.

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

More money is needed to stop overdose deaths, Manatee County leaders told state officials during an opioid workshop Tuesday.

tharms5 (Flickr)

As legislators work out the details of implementing medical marijuana, pharmacists at the University of South Florida are determining how to deliver it as medication.

WMFE

The drug overdose epidemic has killed thousands in Florida and Gov. Rick Scott is looking for answers.

The state will hold workshops in four counties next week to talk about the problem.

Florida Blue

While other health insurers left the Affordable Care Act’s individual market in the state, Florida Blue is staying put and even turning a profit.

On a recent Tuesday, the weekly produce market co-op at the Woodbrook Estates mobile home community in Lakeland was bustling. 

Google Maps

Bayfront Health is fighting the state over another hospital's request to open a second trauma center in St. Petersburg.  

Suzanne Young

When it rains in St. Petersburg, as much as four times the amount of sewage can flow through the city's wastewater plants.

WMFE

Governor Rick Scott isn't waiting for the federal government to decide the future of the Affordable Care Act. His administration is proposing sweeping changes to the state's Medicaid program.  

United States Marine Corps (Wikimedia Commons)

Health News Florida's database of costs for common health care procedures is growing. PriceCheck now contains thousands of entries for health care providers. We're also getting a lot of feedback from listeners who have stories of their own about navigating the billing process.

Kaiser Family Foundation

People in their 50s and 60s could be hit with higher health insurance premiums and less financial help paying for them under a proposed replacement for the Affordable Care Act.

Google Maps

Northside Hospital in St. Petersburg filed a letter of intent with the state to open Pinellas County’s second trauma center.

Nemours Children's Hospital

When officials at Nemours Children’ Hospital in Orlando tried to establish a pediatric heart transplant center, they learned how restricting a state law regulating the opening of new health facilities can be.

Nemours Children's Hospital

The state on Friday denied a request by Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando to establish a new pediatric heart transplant program.

Academy Prep

Do you know how safe your tap water is to drink? 

When fifth- and sixth-grade students at Academy Prep in St. Petersburg researched that question, they learned the answer could come with some serious health consequences.

Nemours Children's Hospital

A proposal to build a fifth pediatric heart transplant center in Florida is drawing opposition from at least two of the existing programs.

WellCare

Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans, which covers nearly 4 million people through Medicare and Medicaid programs, reported an increase in income last year, according to an earnings report released Tuesday.

Wikimedia Commons

The University of South Florida will use a $1.1 million dollar state grant for Zika research to look at how the virus infects fetuses.

Healthcare.gov

While talk of repeal and replace has dominated the recent conversation about the Affordable Care Act, consumers have quietly been signing up in record numbers.  

City of St. Petersburg

Seven pelicans returned to the waters north of downtown St. Petersburg after recovering from an illness that killed about 60 birds in the same rookery.

The cause of the illness remains a mystery.

healthcare.gov

People are still signing up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act despite its uncertain future.

During an enrollment event at the University of South Florida Tuesday,  people said they were worried about losing their health care.

Andy Teo (Flickr)

Members of the public health community are calling for action on gun violence by shifting the conversation away from gun control.

Moffitt Cancer Center

Researchers at Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center are testing a vaccine to fight breast cancer,  and they say  that it appears to be working for some patients.

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

Spanish speakers in the Tampa area have a new health care provider that they can understand.

Located on West Hillsborough Avenue, CliniSanitas calls itself Tampa's first multicultural medical center.

Florida Kids Count

The quality of health care among Florida's children has improved since 2008, but the state still lags far behind much of the nation.

Tampa International Airport

Travelers to Cuba get something extra with the cost of their tickets -- health insurance.

Cuba doesn't accept American health insurance, so airlines purchase policies for travelers.

Wikimedia

Travelers to Cuba should bring lots of mosquito repellant -- not just for themselves.

The Zika virus is being spread by mosquitos in Cuba, so travelers are being told to bring bug spray to protect themselves.

Suzanne Young

A researcher who tested the water around St. Petersburg for antibiotic resistant bacteria after the city released sewage into Tampa Bay didn't find any.

Image courtesy of Everydayplus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Look closely at a bill from your health care provider, and there's likely a sigh of relief your insurance company negotiated a better rate than the initial charge.

But those negotiations are often secret, and it's hard to compare one insurance company to another.

So how do you know whether they are negotiating the best price?

Suzanne Young

St. Petersburg faces $820,000 in fines from the Department of Environmental Protection for releasing over 200 million of gallons of sewage during summer storms.

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