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.

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.

Downpours from Hurricane Hermine forced wastewater facilities in at least 15 communities around the Tampa Bay area to release millions of gallons of sewage onto residential streets and into water bodies over a seven day period that ended Tuesday.

Oxitec

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday again rejected a Zika funding bill that the House passed in June.

Google Maps

A Tampa firefighter who lives in Pinellas County is the first person with a locally-transmitted case of Zika in the Tampa Bay area.

WLRN

  Transparency is the new buzzword in health care with consumer demand fueling changes to state laws and giving birth to websites that publish prices for medical procedures.

WUSF partnered with WLRN in Miami to launch their own database called PriceCheck. But we're not the only game in town.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

  With the first locally-transmitted case of Zika in Tampa Bay the question on everyone’s minds is where?

Rep.  David Jolly, who represents Pinellas County, is pushing for an answer.

Oxitec

State officials are investigating Pinellas County’s first non-travel-related case of Zika virus, according to a release from Gov. Rick Scott’s office.

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

  The Tampa Bay area's first medical marijuana dispensary opened Thursday morning and it will only be a matter of weeks before another local shop opens.

Julio Ochoa/WUSF

There is only one confirmed case of travel-related Zika in Sarasota County, but that didn’t stop a large crowd of people from bringing their concerns to a forum about the virus.

Moffitt Cancer Center

  Mindfulness meditation is designed to settle and ground you in the present moment.

That's something that Carole Kinder had a difficult time with after her husband was diagnosed with cancer.

Healthcare.gov

Next year Aetna will stop offering health insurance on the Affordable Care Act's public exchanges in Florida and 10 other states.

The move leaves Floridians with fewer choices and ever increasing rates.

Google Maps

Eight people face charges after authorities say they received $157 million in fraudulent insurance claims as part of a scheme involving prescription compounding pharmacies in Pasco County and the Miami area.

Between Oct. 2012 and Dec. 2015 the suspects are accused of submitting $633 million in fraudulent reimbursement claims for prescription compounded medication to Medicare, Tricare and private insurance companies, authorities said.

Office of Gov. Rick Scott

When students head back to school in South Florida, they’ll get supplies they don't typically see.

The state will deliver mosquito repellent to school districts, colleges and universities in hopes of stopping the spread of Zika.

National Institutes of Health

  Researchers say a vaccine for the Zika virus will not be available until at least 2018.

And that's with various trials being fast-tracked as the number of people believed to be infected by mosquitoes in Florida climbs.

Florida Department of Health

  Now that Zika is being transmitted in Florida, epidemiologists expect to see pockets of Zika outbreaks to crop up around the state.

Florida Department of Health

Pregnant women are being asked to stay away from the Wynwood neighborhood in Miami.

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Zika-related travel warning for pregnant women to an area just north of Downtown Miami after 10 more people were suspected of getting the virus locally.

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