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.

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.

Tampa General Hospital president and CEO Jim Burkhart abruptly resigned Tuesday, officials said.

The hospital released few details about Burkhart's resignation. His name and biography have been removed from the hospital's website. 

Burkhart came to Tampa General nearly four years ago from Shands Jacksonville Medical Center where he was president and CEO.

“We appreciate all that Jim has done during his time here,” John Brabson, Tampa General’s board chairman, said in a release.

Moffitt Cancer Center

Promising new treatments are providing hope that a cure for some forms of cancer may be within reach.

Researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center are using one form of immunotherapy and awaiting FDA approval for another. 

Moffitt Cancer Center

The Moffitt Cancer Center is planning a 10-year, $800 million expansion driven by a promising new cancer treatment called “immunotherapy,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.

healthcare.gov

On the day after the election, 100,000 people enrolled in the Affordable Care Act. It was the largest single-day enrollment period up to that point.

Tobacco Free Florida

Fewer people are smoking now than ever before.

Tobacco Free Florida, which was created a decade ago, can take some credit for that.

Suzanne Young

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has rolled out a plan that he hopes will keep more sewage from flowing into Tampa Bay.

Google Maps

It's been a difficult week for Bayfront Health System's parent company. Shares of Community Health Systems fell 50 percent last week, and the company reported a $79 million third-quarter loss on Tuesday.

healthcare.gov

Open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces begins Tuesday and the state says the average premium increase in Florida is 19 percent.

But the news is not be as bad as it sounds for most consumers.

ResearchGate

A former researcher at Moffitt Cancer Center had 19 studies retracted from a medical journal after it was found the same data were used to represent different experiments.

Florida’s Surgeon General wants to know how Miami-Dade County is spending state funds in combating the Zika virus.

The Commonwealth Fund

With open enrollment for health insurance getting underway in workplaces, odds are employees around Florida are seeing yet another increase in their premiums.

Seniors who like their Medicare choice this year, shouldn't assume it will be the same next year.

A doctor in your network this year could be out of network next year. The same goes for a prescription drug that is covered this year.

Seniors who aren't comparison shopping during Medicare open enrollment, could see their costs increase.

Colleen Krepstekies with the AARP says her agency can connect seniors to organizations that can help them navigate the enrollment process.

HHS.gov

As it enters its seventh year, the Affordable Care Act is facing challenges, leading some to speculate that the law will have to change in order to survive.

Google Maps

Members of Pinellas County's legislative delegation say the early closure of a sewage plant is a main reason why the city of St. Petersburg had to release millions of gallons of partially treated sewage into Tampa Bay during Hurricane Hermine.

At a delegation workshop Tuesday city officials explained that the Albert Whitted plant near downtown could still be running today, but closed in April 2015. At the time, city officials told the state another sewage plant in the southwest part of the city could handle the additional load.

Robert Neff (Flickr)

St. Petersburg has a plan to minimize sewage spills during major rain events and the Department of Environmental Protection wants to ensure it follows through.

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