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 hosted a roundtable in Pinellas Park to discuss Zika.

With 10 new local cases of Zika likely transmitted in the Miami area, local and state officials are doing what they can to keep the state's tourism-friendly reputation intact.

The Florida Department of Health

Florida health officials have identified 10 more people who likely contracted the Zika virus through a mosquito bite in the Miami-Dade County area, bringing the total to 14.

Two more possible non-travel-related cases of Zika virus are being investigated in South Florida, the Florida Department of Health confirmed Wednesday.

Ebyabe (Wikimedia Commons)

  Florida environmental regulators passed new rules Tuesday that will increase the levels of some toxic chemicals allowed in Florida's water.

Advocates for expanding Medicaid are saying the stakes have never been higher, especially in Hillsborough County.

The Commonwealth Fund

Florida cities are losing ground on key health care indicators, according to a report released today.

The researchers say one reason for the decline is the state's decision to not expand Medicaid.

  Though congress is still battling over Zika funding, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is handing out $25 million to states to fight the mosquito-borne illness.

Associated Press

Opioid abuse was among the most pressing issues that state legislatures around the country dealt with during 2016, according to a report by Pew.

As many states struggle to deal with the epidemic, Florida is ahead of the curve.

Georgetown University

Since 2014, Florida’s Medicaid program has been run not by the state but through private insurance companies. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune has written about problems with the managed care system and a recent report from Georgetown University surveyed pediatricians to determine how they feel about the system.

Wikimedia Commons

In the hours and days following the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, thousands of people around the state lined up to donate blood for the victims.

But gay men who had sex in the past year were prohibited from giving blood because of a federal policy.

SPENCER PARTS / WLRN

The first case of Zika-related microcephaly was confirmed today in a child born in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Health.

The child’s mother is from Haiti and had a travel-related case of Zika. She came to Florida to deliver the baby, authorities said.

The department of health is connecting the mother and child with services through its Early Steps program.

“It is heartbreaking to learn that a baby has been born with Zika-related microcephaly in our state and my thoughts and prayers are with the mother and child,” Gov. Rick Scott said in a release.

United States Marine Corps (Wikimedia Commons)

When it comes to health care in Florida, it pays to shop around.

The cost of a common MRI can vary by thousands of dollars depending on where you go to get it.

According to a report by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, Florida's system for delivering Medicaid to children is among the worst in the nation. 

Google Maps

  The Hillsborough County Health Department issued health advisories for three public beaches today.

Elevated levels of bacteria were found in the water at Simmons Park, Picnic Island and Davis Island.

Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

When the sewer system in St. Petersburg became overwhelmed by rain from Tropical Storm Colin the city had to pump sewage into Tampa Bay.

St. Pete Beach had the same problem and pumped sewage into Boca Ciega Bay.

USF Health

Five medical groups are joining forces to form the Tampa Bay Health Alliance to increase access to high quality, efficient health care.

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

A South Tampa doctor who is was blamed for the deaths of three people in a Pinellas Park pill mill case was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Monday, according to the Tampa Bay Times. 

Edward Neil Feldman, 76, faced multiple counts in a drug and financial conspiracy after authorities said he used his Pinellas Park practice to prescribe pain medication to patients who didn’t need it, according to the Times.

In a move that might actually help health care costs become more transparent, some hospitals are starting to give patients detailed information about what their upcoming visits will cost in an attempt to get them to pay ahead of time, according to the website Modern Healthcare. 

Albuminarium

The number of pregnant women in Florida with the Zika virus climbed from nine to 36 following new federal guidelines outlining how the cases will be counted.

ProPublica

A database set up by ProPublica detailing the prescribing habits of doctors around the country may be luring the wrong audience, the publication recently reported.

Associated Press

Prescription drug costs are not only a problem for consumers. Health care providers are worried about it too.

The Associated Press

Twelve health centers in Florida will get more than $10 million from the federal government to renovate, expand and increase capacity to serve underserved patients, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced this week.

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