Mary Shedden

News Director

Mary Shedden is news director at WUSF.

Since arriving at WUSF in 2013, she has worked as a reporter and as editor of the Health News Florida journalism collaborative.

In the past 20 years, Shedden has told the stories of retired pro athletes in chronic pain, children poisoned by toxic toys, and seniors who nearly overdosed on prescription drugs. 

Her work at The Tampa Tribune and, Florida Today and the Gainesville Sun have been honored by professional organizations including the Society of Professional Journalists, Associated Press Sports Editors, and the Florida Society of News Editors.

A graduate of the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications, Shedden has lived in the Tampa Bay area since 1999.

Contact her at 813-974-8636, on Twitter @MaryShedden or by email

Ways to Connect

The third year of open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act is now under way, and this week on Florida Matters (Sunday, Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m.),  WUSF's Carson Cooper takes a look at some of the changes coming for health insurance in 2016 with Florida Covering Kids & Families Project Director Jodi Ray, Tampa health insurance agent Eric Brown and WUSF News Director and Health News Florida Editor Mary Shedden.

Enrollment is under way for plans on for the third year, and consumers are seeing many changes in the plans companies are offering. It’s not unlike what’s happening to employer-based insurance, which is how about half of all Americans get health care coverage.

  President Barack Obama says he’s worried about rising prescription drug prices, but consumers need to take into account the United States’ role in the development of new medications, he told WUSF in a one-on-one interview.

President Barack Obama this week announced Tampa is part of a White House Healthy Communities Challenge, a 20-city contest where local leaders will try to enroll the most uninsured people within the 3-month enrollment period ending Jan. 31, 2016.

  With the third year of open enrollment under way on, President Barack Obama is focusing his efforts on people eligible to buy policies on the insurance marketplace.

Political battles over expanding Medicaid in states including Florida are important, but not as easy to win, he told WUSF in an Oval Office interview Thursday.

President Barack Obama’s administration is battling its own success with health insurance enrollment.

It’s been nearly three years since Americans started signing up on insurance exchanges like; 17.6 million more people across the nation are covered.

One of the largest hospital systems in the Tampa Bay area is expanding its reach with the purchase of a Polk County hospital.

Wikimedia Commons

Health care has been a hot-button policy issue for years in the Florida Legislature, and it’s starting to look like the session scheduled to start on Jan. 12 will be no different.

It seems Florida lawmakers aren't the only ones who can't agree. Residents also are divided over key economic and social issues, according to the latest release of the Sunshine State Survey.

University of South Florida

Florida’s Surgeon General announced he has been diagnosed with colon cancer and will be undergoing surgery today.

The news from Dr. John Armstrong came late Thursday afternoon, in a statement from the Florida Department of Health. His top deputy will be in charge during his absence.

“As I focus on my recovery, Dr. Celeste Philip will have delegated authority and has my full confidence,” the statement read.

In 2013, Florida had more new cases of HIV than anywhere else in the nation. When it comes to the presence of HIV in Florida, the state’s six largest metropolitan areas could be states unto themselves.

U.S. Army

Baby boomers dominate the nation’s population.

But analysts watching the health care economy say it’s the youngest health care consumers who are shaping the future health care economy.

PwC's Health Research Institute is in its 10th year of evaluating the nation’s health care economy. Lindsey Jarrell, a PwC partner based in Tampa, says health care companies need to pay close attention to trends involving millennials, those Americans born between 1981 and 1997.

An investigation into doctors performing common elective surgeries is placing the spotlight on a Citrus County physician and hospital.

The non-profit news organization ProPublica sorted 2.3 million low-risk procedures on Medicare patients - from hip and knee replacements to back surgery. It published its Surgeon Scorecard on eight different procedures on Tuesday.

U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court decision on health subsidies keeps intact the way more than 1 million Floridians buy and pay for insurance through

People like Phil Ammann. After nearly a decade without insurance, the St. Petersburg resident on Thursday was thrilled by the news. A $300 subsidy means he pays just $93 a month for coverage.

USF Health

Thirty years ago, a HIV-positive diagnosis was a death sentence, and gay men and IV-drug users were most likely to get infected.

Today, the demographics of infection have changed a lot, and advancements in drug treatment that make HIV a "chronic disease" have created a new set of problems.

WUSF’s Florida Matters is sharing stories from the Health New Florida series HIV in Florida: The Rising Tide of Infection.

Covenant Hospice Inc., a non-profit hospice care provider in Southern Alabama and Northwest Florida, will pay more than $10.1 million to the government for overbilling of Medicare, Tricare and Medicaid for hospice services, the Northwest Florida Daily News reports.

Everyone thinks HIV happens to someone else.

It only infects men who are having sex with men, they say. Or HIV drug users.

And while that still accounts for about half of all people infected, those who are being diagnosed with this serious sexually transmitted disease don’t fall into simple categories. They’re young and old, straight, gay and transgender, of every race.

All Children's Hospital

It was 1964. The New York World's Fair.

And a young Tony Napolitano saw his first video phone at the Bell Telephone pavilion. The boy marveled that people could connect visually from remote locations.

Fast forward to 2015. Napolitano, now a pediatric neonatologist, is about to make this connection an ordinary part of practicing medicine at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

U.S. Supreme Court

A U.S. Supreme Court decision expected this summer could quickly change how Floridians with insurance through pay for coverage.

Arguments being held in the case of King v. Burwell this week will decide whether low- and moderate-income Floridians and residents in 36 other states can get tax credits for plans they buy through the federal government.

The impact of the ruling could be seen within 30 to 60 days of a decision, said Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University in Virginia.

Aging Nation Tested By Health, Finances

Feb 19, 2015
Daylina Miller/WUSF News

Social Security is turning 80 this year. 

And Medicare is hitting the big 5-0. 

These aging government programs - and the challenges brought on by the enormous Baby Boomer generation - underscored Thursday's discussions at the first of five White House Conference on Aging regional gatherings. 

National Cancer Institute

The number of doctors practicing psychiatry and general surgery is expected to reach critically low levels in the next 10 years, according to a new study from the state’s teaching hospitals.

Credit Daylina Miller / WUSF News

Tanya Villanueva Tepper was thinking wedding plans -- not widowhood -- the morning of September 11, 2001.

Her fiancé, a New York City firefighter, was among the thousands killed when the Twin Towers were attacked. She was forced to learn how to live every day without her Sergio.

Valentine’s Day, she said, was especially painful. Reminders to buy roses, chocolates or jewelry for that special someone were everywhere. And for those whose spouses and partners have died, all that commercialized romance just plain hurts.

Brian Blanco

Jamie Harden knows firsthand how Florida Legislative leaders feel about Medicaid expansion.  

Last year, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce asked him to join BayCare Health System President Steve Mason at a meeting with legislators and lobby to expand the state’s health insurance program for the poor.

Harden, a Tampa sign company president, said it didn’t go well.

Brian Blanco

Florida's Legislature has twice turned down proposals to provide health insurance for nearly 1 million state residents.  And the new House Speaker on Wednesday said he had “no plans” to expand Medicaid for the people caught in the so-called coverage gap.

But still state business leaders – and some mayors – continue to rally and aim to take another swing at it when the Legislature convenes March 3.

Florida’s Legislature may consider revamping the state’s Baker Act law that oversees the involuntary commitment of people thought to be a danger to themselves or others, the News Service of Florida reports. Bills filed in both the House and Senate would look at the amount of time individuals are screened, and may consider using remote, telemedicine consultations to evaluate patients, the News Service reports.

The Agency for Health Care Administration will close field offices in West Palm Beach, Alachua and Panama City this summer, as part of the department's increased use of managed care, the News Service of Florida reports. It joins shuttered offices in Tallahassee and Ocala, which closed last year, according to the News Service.

Plans to cut $4.2 million from this year's Early Steps budget were put on hold Friday by the Department of Health, the News Service of Florida reports. Department officials told a House subcommittee last week that federal budget cuts were to blame, while some lawmakers said they heard the state's move to a third-party claims administrator was the real cause, the News Service reports. Also in Tallahassee last week, Gov. Rick Scott announced plans to invest $8 million for the state's Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

Florida's Supreme Court is criticizing insurance agents and others trying to help families of nursing home residents apply for Medicaid assistance, the News Service of Florida reports. A Florida Bar committee asked the court to rule on what it calls an unlicensed practice of law, while critics say the Bar is too broadly defining the role of Medicaid planners, the News Service reports.

The ongoing debate over Florida's limited-use medical marijuana law lurched forward with the naming of a rules-making committee of growers and other interested parties, the News Service of Florida reports. Five growers, state officials and a Colorado-based medical marijuana are among the participants on the 12-person panel.

Taber Andrew Bain, via Flickr Creative Commons

Florida’s safety-net hospitals stand to lose 15 percent of the money it receives from Medicaid next year, if state and federal officials don’t renew an agreement to cover care for poor state residents.