Health News Florida http://health.wusf.usf.edu en Oust Politicians Who Refuse to Expand Medicaid http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/oust-politicians-who-refuse-expand-medicaid <p>Because Florida Republican officials are refusing federal Medicaid dollars, about 1.3 million low-income Florida residents will not get health-care coverage.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Obamacare pays the full cost of expanding Medicaid for the first three years. After that, the federal government pays 90 percent of the cost.</span></p><p>A family of four could qualify for Medicaid earning up to $32,000 per year. Salaries to 400 percent of HHS federal poverty guidelines would qualify for subsidies.</p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:23:52 +0000 Dr. Marc Yacht 6195 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Next Halifax Trial Focus: Bed Flipping http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/next-halifax-trial-focus-bed-flipping <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The second phase of a whistle-blower case brought against Halifax Health will focus on patient admissions and whether the hospital improperly charged Medicare for their stays, according to the <a href="http://www.news-journalonline.com/article/20140416/NEWS/140419594?Title=2nd-part-of-Daytona-hospital-lawsuit-deals-with-Medicare-stays"><em><strong>Daytona Beach News-Journal.</strong></em></a></span></p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:22:59 +0000 Health News Florida Staff 6196 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Scott, GOP Govs Blast Medicare Advantage Cuts http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/scott-gop-govs-blast-medicare-advantage-cuts <p style="margin-right: 13px; margin-bottom: 13px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: georgia; font-size: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); line-height: 1.4em !important;">Three Southern Republican governors are writing President Barack Obama to complain about newly announced Medicare Advantage payments.</p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:03:42 +0000 Associated Press 6194 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Group: Med Mal Cap Amendment Needed http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/group-med-mal-cap-amendment-needed <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Following a Florida Supreme Court decision that struck down caps on certain awards in medical malpractice lawsuits, the members of a 2002 task force that supported those caps are calling for a constitutional amendment that would place the caps on solid footing.</span></p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:49:19 +0000 Associated Press 6193 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Breaking Down ACOs http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/breaking-down-acos <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">One of the main ways the Affordable Care Act seeks to reduce health care costs is by encouraging doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to form networks which coordinate patient care and become eligible for bonuses when they deliver that care more efficiently.</span></p><p>This carrot-and-stick approach encourages the formation of Accountable Care Organizations in the Medicare program.&nbsp; ACOs have become one of the most talked about new ideas in Obamacare, because providers make more if they keep their patients healthy.</p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:04:30 +0000 Jenny Gold of Kaiser Heath News 6192 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Is Obamacare A Success? We Might Not Know For A While http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/obamacare-success-we-might-not-know-while After months of focusing on how many people have or haven't signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, we now have a rough total (7.5 million), and everyone's keen to get to the bigger questions: How well is the law working? How many of those who signed up have paid their premiums and are actually getting coverage? How many were uninsured before they signed up? Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:40:00 +0000 Julie Rovner 6190 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Is Obamacare A Success? We Might Not Know For A While After Losing A Leg, Woman Walks On Her Own — In 4-Inch Heels http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/after-losing-leg-woman-walks-her-own-4-inch-heels Returning to watch the Boston Marathon was never a question for Heather Abbott. After losing her leg in the bombing last year, watching the race is just one item on a long list of things she did before and intends to do again. Also on that list: wearing 4-inch heels.<p>"Sometimes, I think: Why am I doing this to myself? Because I could just wear regular flat shoes," Abbott says. Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:37:00 +0000 Tovia Smith 6191 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu After Losing A Leg, Woman Walks On Her Own — In 4-Inch Heels This HMO Can Be Fixed: New CEO http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/hmo-can-be-fixed-new-ceo <p>Florida Healthcare Plus, a financially struggling Medicare Advantage plan, has brought in a new CEO who's an experienced senior-products executive and turnaround artist.</p><p></p><p></p><p>Susan Rawlings Molina, who arrived at the Coral Gables-based company in January, says she was recruited for the task by her predecessor, Ray Quirantes. Although the company has been losing money, she told <em>Health News Florida</em> Tuesday afternoon, its investors have provided adequate capital and want to make it a success.</p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 04:57:09 +0000 Carol Gentry 6189 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu This HMO Can Be Fixed: New CEO Risks Of Popular Anxiety Drugs Often Overshadowed http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/risks-popular-anxiety-drugs-often-overshadowed When actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died of an overdose in February, the New York City medical examiner ruled that his death was the result of "acute mixed drug intoxication." Heroin, cocaine and a widely prescribed class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, or benzos, were found in his system.<p>The drugs first burst onto the scene in the 1950s and '60s and quickly became known as "<a href="http://www.med.umich.edu/psych/faculty/metzl/07_Metzl.pdf">mother's little helper</a>," the mild tranquilizer that could soothe frazzled housewives' nerves. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 21:29:00 +0000 Susan Sharon 6188 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Risks Of Popular Anxiety Drugs Often Overshadowed With Some Drug Combinations, Overdose Might Be In The Prescription http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/some-drug-combinations-overdose-might-be-prescription Transcript <p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>The dangerous practice of mixing benzodiazepines and opiates doesn't just lie with people like Sayra Small, who was abusing heroin. New research suggests that part of the problem may lie with primary care doctors who are prescribing a mix of benzos for anxiety and opioids for pain.<p>Those are the findings of Dr. Sean Mackey. He joins us now. He is the chief of pain medicine at Stanford School of Medicine. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 20:15:00 +0000 NPR Staff 6186 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Despite Worries, Boston Survivor Heads Back To The Start Line http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/despite-worries-boston-survivor-heads-back-start-line At last year's Boston Marathon, Carol Downing was just a half a mile from the finish line when bombs exploded and injured two of her daughters. This year, she's going back to complete the race.<p>More than 36,000 runners hope to cross the finish line for the Boston Marathon this year. Downing plans to be among them. But she's worried.<p>"There's definitely some fear of going back," Downing says. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 19:14:00 +0000 editor 6185 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Despite Worries, Boston Survivor Heads Back To The Start Line Ex-Pres. of Medicare Plan Arrested http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/ex-pres-medicare-plan-arrested <p>Haider Ali Khan, patriarch of the now-defunct Quality Health Plans Inc., has been arrested and charged with more than a dozen felonies involving health-insurance fraud, state officials said.</p><p>Khan, who was president of the Tampa-based Medicare plan before it closed, turned himself in to Leon County Jail officials on April 3 and was released on $150,000 bond, according to the state Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). His arrest came 20 months after that of his son and daughter, both of whom were also executives in the company.</p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:32:38 +0000 Carol Gentry 6184 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Details On Abortion Coverage Still Elusive In Some Health Plans http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/some-health-plans-details-abortion-coverage-still-elusive If you bought health coverage through one of the online insurance marketplaces, you might have a tough time determining whether your plan covers abortion services.<p>Though Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/01/242174176/which-plans-cover-abortion-no-answers-on-healthcare-gov">got an earful</a> from members of Congress about the problem at a hearing last November, little's been done yet to clear up the confusion in some states.<p>Both opponents and supporters of abortion rights agree that the logical place to include abortion Tue, 15 Apr 2014 16:50:00 +0000 editor 6183 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Details On Abortion Coverage Still Elusive In Some Health Plans Locked Units Out of Trafficking Bills http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/locked-units-out-trafficking-bills <div>Bills in the House and Senate that would help victims of human trafficking are moving forward, but without a controversial provision that would have allowed judges and social workers to have under-age victims held involuntarily in "safe houses," the <a href="http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20140411/ARTICLE/140419924/0/manage?Title=-Lock-down-provision-out-of-trafficking-bill&amp;tc=ar"><em><strong>Sarasota Herald-Tribune</strong></em></a> reports.</div><div> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:54:24 +0000 Health News Florida Staff 6180 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Feds' Action Puts Pressure on FL http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/feds-action-puts-pressure-fl <p>Changes in the funding formula for Medicaid that will take many millions of dollars away from large safety-net hospitals such as Jackson Memorial and Tampa General are getting lawmakers' attention, now that it's clear the federal government isn't going to pull the state's fat out of the fire.</p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:52:19 +0000 Health News Florida Staff 6182 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Medicare HMO in Trouble? http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/medicare-hmo-trouble <p>Federal officials have imposed a fine on Florida Healthcare Plus, a Medicare Advantage plan based in Coral Gables, for failing to notify members of upcoming changes in the plan by the deadline last fall, just before&nbsp; open-enrollment season.</p><p>Meanwhile, the plan seems to have retrenched, with some of its offices closing around the state. Calls to Florida Healthcare Plus offices in Orlando, Jacksonville and West Palm Beach drew recorded messages that said those numbers were no longer in service.</p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:58:43 +0000 Carol Gentry 6181 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu ACA Spending Below Projections http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/aca-spending-below-projections <div>The cost of the Affordable Care Act is about $5 billion a year less than originally projected, mostly because insurance premiums were lower than expected, the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/health_care/cbo-deficits-to-drift-lower-on-lower-health-costs/2014/04/14/704770a2-c413-11e3-9ee7-02c1e10a03f0_story.html"><strong>Congressional Budget Office</strong></a> said Monday. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:06:44 +0000 Health News Florida Staff 6179 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Highest Court May Consider Scott’s Appeal http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/highest-court-may-consider-scott-s-appeal <div>The U.S. Supreme Court will meet privately on Friday to decide &nbsp;whether it will hear an appeal filed by Gov. Rick Scott on state employee drug testing, the <a href="http://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu/post/high-court-weighs-scott-s-drug-testing-requirement-state-workers"><em><strong>News Service of Florida </strong></em></a>reports. Scott filed the appeal in January after a lower court threw &nbsp;out &nbsp;his executive order that all state employees undergo random urine screens. Opponents of the order say that it violates the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:01:00 +0000 Health News Florida Staff 6178 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Voodoo Dolls Prove It: Hunger Makes Couples Turn On Each Other http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/voodoo-dolls-prove-it-hunger-makes-couples-turn-each-other A lot of us know what can happen when we get hungry. We get grumpy, irritable and sometimes nasty.<p>There's even a name for this phenomenon: "Hangry, which is a combination of the words hungry and angry," says psychologist <a href="http://www.comm.ohio-state.edu/people/the-lantern-soc/userprofile/67.html">Brad Bushman</a> from Ohio State University.<p>Many studies have suggested that low blood sugar may be the underlying cause of hunger-induced crankiness. But most of those studies were performed with strangers in the laboratory. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 07:25:00 +0000 Rob Stein 6175 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Voodoo Dolls Prove It: Hunger Makes Couples Turn On Each Other The 7.5 Million Insured Through Obamacare Are Only Part Of The Story http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/75-million-insured-through-obamacare-are-only-part-story Want to know how many people have signed up for private insurance under Obamacare? Like the health care law itself, the answer is complicated.<p>The Obama administration is tracking the number of plans purchased on HealthCare.gov and on the state exchanges, and this month reported that it had exceeded expectations by signing up <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/04/11/wonkbook-what-the-resignation-of-kathleen-sebelius-means/">7.5 million</a> people. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 07:24:00 +0000 editor 6176 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu The 7.5 Million Insured Through Obamacare Are Only Part Of The Story Where's The Whole Grain In Most Of Our Wheat Bread? http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/wheres-whole-grain-most-our-wheat-bread We've all heard the advice to eat more whole grains, and cut back on refined starches.<p>And there's good reason. Compared with a diet heavy on refined grains, like white flour, a diet rich in whole grains — which includes everything from brown rice to steel-cut oats to <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/10/02/227838385/farro-an-ancient-if-complicated-grain-worth-figuring-out">farro</a> — is linked to lower rates of heart disease, certain cancers and Type 2 diabetes.<br /> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 07:22:00 +0000 editor 6177 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Where's The Whole Grain In Most Of Our Wheat Bread? Scott Sowing Confusion on Medicare: PolitiFact http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/scott-sowing-confusion-medicare-politifact <p>Gov. Rick Scott has done a very good job of confusing the public, particularly Medicare beneficiaries, about what is happening in the government program for the elderly and disabled and about and how it relates to the Affordable Care Act, <strong><a href="http://www.politifact.com/florida/article/2014/apr/09/political-attacks-governors-race-make-medicare-cla/">PolitiFact says</a></strong>.</p><p></p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 03:53:54 +0000 Health News Florida Staff 6174 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Scott Sowing Confusion on Medicare: PolitiFact Feds Compromised; FL Should, Too http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/feds-compromised-fl-should-too <p><strong><a href="http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/feds-ok-22b-hospitals-med-schools?nopop=1">Re: Feds Approve $2.2B for Hospitals, Med Schools</a></strong></p><p>The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which allowed a three-year extension of Florida’s Statewide Medicaid Managed Care program, approved only a <em>one-year </em>extension of the Low Income Pool (LIP). The LIP provides the state with additional federal Medicaid funding that hospitals can use to address the issue of uncompensated care for uninsured patients.</p><p></p> Tue, 15 Apr 2014 02:46:01 +0000 Health News Florida Staff 6173 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Feds Compromised; FL Should, Too Gene Linked To Alzheimer's Poses A Special Threat To Women http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/gene-linked-alzheimers-poses-special-threat-women A gene associated with Alzheimer's disease appears especially dangerous to women and may be one reason that more women than men are diagnosed with the disease.<p>The gene, known as APOE4, increases the risk of developing Alzheimer's in both sexes. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 22:00:00 +0000 Jon Hamilton 6172 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Gene Linked To Alzheimer's Poses A Special Threat To Women Why Babies Cry At Night http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/why-babies-cry-night Somewhere between bliss and exhaustion. That's how the first few months of parenting often feel, as sleepless nights blur into semicomatose days.<p>Most of us chalk up a baby's nighttime crying to one simple fact: He's hungry.<p>But could that chubby bundle of joy have a devious plan?<p>Harvard University's <a href="http://www.oeb.harvard.edu/faculty/haig/Home.html">David Haig</a> thinks so. Last month the evolutionary biologist offered up a surprising hypothesis to help explain those 2 a.m. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 18:55:00 +0000 editor 6171 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Why Babies Cry At Night Modern Medicine May Not Be Doing Your Microbiome Any Favors http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/modern-medicine-may-not-be-doing-your-microbiome-any-favors There are lots of theories about why food allergies, asthma, celiac disease and intestinal disorders like Crohn's disease have been on the rise. Dr. Martin Blaser speculates that it may be connected to the overuse of antibiotics, which has resulted in killing off strains of bacteria that typically live in the gut.<p>Blaser is an expert on the human microbiome, which is the collection of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes that live in and on the body. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:17:00 +0000 editor 6170 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Modern Medicine May Not Be Doing Your Microbiome Any Favors Why Do More Latina Teens Get Pregnant? http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/why-do-more-latina-teens-get-pregnant Transcript <p>CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST: <p>I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. There has been a lot of progress in reducing the number of teen pregnancies over the last few decades. Rates have declined across all ethnic groups. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:35:00 +0000 editor 6169 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Getting Enough Vitamin D: More Than Milk And Sunshine http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/getting-enough-vitamin-d-more-milk-and-sunshine Transcript <p>CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST: <p>I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Some surprising news now about vitamin D. According to two major reviews in the British Medical Journal published last week, people with low levels of vitamin D could be more likely to die from cancer, heart disease and a number of other illnesses.<p>Now, you may think of vitamin D as the sunshine nutrient, and we do produce it when we're exposed to the sun. Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:35:00 +0000 editor 6168 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Patients Often Win If They Appeal A Denied Health Claim http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/patients-often-win-if-they-appeal-denied-health-claim Federal rules ensure that none of the millions of people who signed up for Obamacare can be denied insurance — but there is no guarantee that all health services will be covered.<p>To help make sure a patient's claims aren't improperly denied, the Affordable Care Act <a href="http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rights/appeal/appealing-health-plan-decisions.html">creates national standards</a> that allow everyone who is denied treatment to appeal that decision to the insurance company and, if necessary, to a third party reviewer.<p>For Tony Simek, a software engineer in El Mirage, Arizona, appealing Mon, 14 Apr 2014 16:10:00 +0000 editor 6167 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Patients Often Win If They Appeal A Denied Health Claim Pot's Value Backed By Science http://health.wusf.usf.edu/post/pots-value-backed-science <p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="line-height: 1.5;">As lawmakers continue to debate the legalization of medical marijuana, biologists say science supports the medicinal value of pot, the <a href="http://www.tampabay.com/news/health/cannabinoid-receptor-research-outlines-why-pot-may-work-as-medicine/2174853"><em><strong>Tampa Bay Times</strong></em></a> reports.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.15;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 14:28:07 +0000 Health News Florida Staff 6166 at http://health.wusf.usf.edu Pot's Value Backed By Science