Ryan Benk

Ryan Benk is originally from Miami, Florida and came to Tallahassee to attend Florida State University. He worked on Miami Dade College’s Arts and Literature Magazine- Miamibiance Magazine and has published poetry and a short film called “The Writer.” He’s currently working as the Newsroom’s Researcher while finishing his Creative Writing Bachelor’s Degree at Florida State University. When he’s not tracking down news, Ryan likes watching films, writing fiction and poetry, and exploring Florida.

The Florida Legislature’s health budget chiefs are proposing deep cuts to the state’s largest spending priority: health care, including large decreases to hospital funding.

Jacksonville’s University of Florida Health could be one of the hardest hit because it treats a large number of low-income patients.

But the Senate’s budget leader is confident the cuts will be offset with the renewal of a federal program covering the costs of indigent health care.


At least six competing plans ranging from the most restrictive to the most permissive expansions of medical marijuana in Florida are working their way through the state Legislature. And the division is wearing down the patience of state residents, who overwhelmingly supported the measure.


After battling for years over how to make healthcare more accessible and affordable, Florida lawmakers landed on a compromise. Instead of expanding Medicaid to cover more people, they decided during last year’s session to attack the cost of care directly, creating a database to make procedure pricing transparent.

Updated 2/28 3:06 p.m.

Jacksonville City Council members heard concerns Monday from Springfield residents about a proposed legal settlement between the city and two disability-rights nonprofits.

The settlement, in part, mandates the city approve a permit for an apartment complex for the disabled and chronically homeless,  at 139 Cottage Ave., or face a battle in court.


Florida patients could soon have access to more information about the average costs of their prescription drugs.


Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is asking the city council to approve emergency funding for new gun identification technology.

The Integrated Ballistic Identification System uses a shell casing’s “fingerprint” to track down a shooter faster than ever. The new tech is expected to cost the city $250,000.


Eight female activists from Jacksonville are calling on state and federal officials to keep the Affordable Care Act intact. That’s as Republicans in Washington are talking about repealing and replacing the health care law.


The Jacksonville City Council is asking for conservation dollars to clean up First Coast waterways.


Health professionals from several Jacksonville hospitals are launching a project to train thousands of people to recognize the signs of mental illness, which can help reduce harmful stigma and get people connected to treatment faster.

But Florida’s lack of mental healthcare resources is still a hurdle.


Florida is making a database of medical procedures and the average price patients should expect to pay for them.

Members of the House Health and Human Services Committee got a preview of what it may look like Tuesday.


Jacksonville has long been a magnet for health-care companies, and Tuesday another large one announced it’s opening for business in Duval County.

New York’s largest health provider — Northwell — is bringing 500 new jobs to Jacksonville’s Southside.


A Northeast Florida state senator is trying to get more environmental dollars flowing toward the St. Johns River.

He’s proposing $35 million more for projects along the river that flows from Central Florida to Jacksonville.


A Central Florida marijuana dispensary made its first delivery to a Jacksonville patient Tuesday — the same day a constitutional amendment goes into effect that will make more types of medical cannabis available to Floridians.

Knox Medical is one of a handful of Florida dispensaries that have been allowed to open under a 2014 law.

A recent Harvard study concluded Jacksonville residents could save close to $40 million in health care costs annually if the city were to tax sugary drinks.

Researcher Steve Gortmaker said the tax would help cut down on obesity.


A Duval County mental health care program is set to begin treating patients in March, five months ahead of schedule.

The nonprofit in charge of creating the “central receiving system” is raising money to qualify for a $15 million state grant. But it’s not waiting to reach that goal before opening doors to patients.


Florida Governor Rick Scott is hoping a better working relationship with Washington, D.C. will bring about a solution to the state’s ongoing battle over health care funding.


U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Ann Bartuska was led through a maze of raised garden beds on a lot nestled in the middle of a Westside neighborhood Tuesday.

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Hospital and insurance executives Thursday reminded First Coast lawmakers that even the smallest changes to policy could affect millions of patients.


Duval County’s delegation to the state Legislature elected new leadership Wednesday. Republican Rep. Jay Fant will now serve as the delegation’s chair.

Several women who are suing two Jacksonville plastic surgeons for botched breast implant surgeries are now accusing the doctors and implant manufacturer of fraud.

The women believe implant maker Allergan signed off on phony warranty claims by Doctors Mark and Loren Clayman.


Jacksonville is ground zero for a new statewide initiative to make Florida 20 percent healthier by the next presidential election.


The fate of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law is uncertain after the election of Republican Donald Trump, who campaigned on a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

But not everyone is sweating the uncertainty.


Florida voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state’s constitution expanding the availability of medical marijuana.

That’s two years after lawmakers passed the state’s first medical cannabis law.


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State medical authorities revoked the medical license of an “integrative medicine” doctor Thursday for his role in the death of a college student from untreated cancer.

Members of a national anti-abortion organization called Created Equal are barnstorming battleground states in the final days of the election. It made a stop in downtown Jacksonville Monday.


A new state telehealth panel met in Jacksonville Tuesday to begin studying the state of distance medicine in Florida.


Governor Rick Scott is ordering the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to investigate massive sewage spills after hurricanes Hermine and Matthew.

In the first half of last year alone, 174 died of opioid overdoses in Duval, Nassau and Clay counties.

Stigma continues to deter some addicts from seeking help, but a new Northeast Florida partnership is seeking to change that.


Florida health care regulators are considering doing away with a rule limiting the number of trauma centers that can set up shop in each region.


A Jacksonville corrections officer is out of the job after admitting to using illegal drugs and trying to cheat a drug test.

Officer Lisa Davis was arrested and charged Monday.


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