Department of Health

On May 19, Fort Lauderdale police officers and city workers showed up without notice at Stranahan Park with dozens of blue trash bins, a front-end loader and a dump truck. They ordered all the homeless living there to put their stuff in the bins; the rest of the stuff was scooped up by the loader and thrown in the dump truck.

The Department of Health’s new rules for medical marijuana are taking effect.  The provisions carry out a last minute legislative measure approved in a June special session.

Children’s Hospital Challenges Trauma Center Denial

Jun 2, 2017
Google Maps

A Jacksonville children's hospital is challenging a decision by the Florida Department of Health that prevented the hospital from opening a trauma center.

January is usually the midway point of the flu season in Florida. The state Department of Health reports that levels of the disease remained elevated overall for a second consecutive week.

Mild influenza activity was reported in 51 counties, including Escambia and Santa Rosa, during the week of January 1-7, the latest available figures. Ten counties reported moderate influenza activity, and six reported no activity.

New medical marijuana provisions are in effect as of today.  The change expands the range of eligible conditions and patients in Florida.  But as the Department of Health develops new regulations, it could find itself between a rock and a hard place.

Department Of Health Looks To Revamp Trauma Rule

Sep 8, 2016

In the latest move in years of battling about Florida’s trauma system, the state Department of Health is looking to change regulations about how many trauma centers are allowed in different regions of the state.

How long does a pregnant woman have to wait to find out if she does or does not have the Zika virus?


A town hall in Miami on Thursday night made it clear the Florida Department of Health has been significantly understating the amount of time it takes.

Teams from the Florida Health Department went door-to-door in South Beach, a known Zika "hot zone" in Miami-Dade County, Wednesday.

They were telling residents about the risks of Zika, while passing along Zika prevention kits and collecting urine samples from volunteers. 

Though media was invited to attend, the DOH field workers were caught off guard.

Florida’s Department of Health says nurseries could begin processing marijuana next month.  The department has been wrangling with the issue for more than two years.

Celeste Philip has been Florida's interim surgeon general and secretary of the Department of Health since March, after the Legislature adjourned without confirming her predecessor, John Armstrong.

Public Health Trust Loses Round In Trauma Fights

Apr 11, 2016

An administrative law judge Friday ruled against the Public Health Trust of Miami-Dade County in one of a series of fights about Florida's trauma-care system.

Settlement Reached In Battle Over Children’s Health Care

Apr 6, 2016

After a court fight that lasted more than a decade, the state and groups representing pediatricians and dentists have settled a class-action lawsuit about care provided to children in Florida's Medicaid program.

The settlement, released Tuesday, came about 15 months after a federal judge found that Florida's history of low reimbursement payments to doctors led to a lack of access to care for many poor children. But the agreement also came after the state argued that an overhaul of the Medicaid system had effectively made the case moot.

HCA Hospital In Clay County Intervenes In Trauma Dispute

Mar 30, 2016
Orange Park Medical Center Facebook page

Seeking to open a trauma center, Orange Park Medical Center has intervened in a legal dispute about a proposed Florida Department of Health rule that would determine how many trauma centers are allowed in various regions of the state.

Surgeon General's Confirmation In Jeopardy

Mar 2, 2016
Florida Department of Health

Despite a show of support from Gov. Rick Scott, a Senate panel Tuesday postponed for a second time a vote on the confirmation of state Surgeon General John Armstrong.

The move by the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee could end Armstrong's bid to keep his job as secretary of the Florida Department of Health.

Surgeon General Keeps ‘Living And Working’ Amid Cancer Fight

Feb 4, 2016
Florida Department of Health

Hundreds of activities are planned around the globe Thursday in recognition of World Cancer Day, but for Florida Surgeon General John Armstrong, the international "holiday" is personal.

Judge Raises Red Flag About Pot Licenses But Can't Stop Them

Jan 25, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Florida health officials lack the authority to issue final licenses to the state's first medical marijuana businesses, but an administrative law judge can't do anything to stop them, according to an order issued Friday.

State Moves Forward With Medical Pot Despite Challenges

Jan 12, 2016
Wikimedia Commons

Florida health officials are holding to a deadline next month for the state's first medical marijuana businesses to seek permission to begin growing non-euphoric cannabis, even with hearings in license challenges stacked up through mid-summer.

State Softens Stance On Screening For Children's Medical Services

Oct 19, 2015
Florida Department of Health

Under orders from an administrative law judge, the Department of Health on Friday held a hearing on a controversial new method of determining eligibility for Children's Medical Services -- and offered a compromise that could allow the department to resume enrolling special-needs kids.

Senate Panel Wants Answers From DOH On Children's Health Programs

Oct 8, 2015

A Florida Senate panel on Wednesday demanded answers from a state Department of Health official about how many special-needs children have recently lost services as the state transitions to a new Medicaid system --- and why.

Cloudy Timeline For Medical Marijuana Frustrates

Oct 7, 2015

With the Department of Health unable to say when licenses will be issued in the state's new medical-marijuana industry, a House Republican on Tuesday blasted delays in carrying out a 2014 law billed as helping children with severe epilepsy.

Dr. Akram Ismail of Lake County has been accused of taking upskirt videos of women at Publix after customers noticed his behavior and reported him to store officials, the Orlando Sentinel reports. It’s not the first time he has been in trouble with the law -- he was previously accused of hiring a hit man to kill a business partner, the Sentinel reports.

Nurseries Seek Piece Of New Pot Industry

Jul 9, 2015

In a key step toward making a type of medical marijuana available to patients, the Florida Department of Health has received 28 applications from firms that want to cultivate, process and distribute non-euphoric cannabis in five regions of the state.

The applications came in before a 5 p.m. deadline Wednesday, after an administrative law judge in May ended months of legal wrangling about a regulatory process for the new industry. Now, focus will shift toward the selection of one applicant in each region to become a so-called "dispensing organization."

Docs Call For More Oversight After Infant Deaths

Jul 7, 2015
St. Mary's Medical Center

 After the deaths of five infants, a team of doctors from across the state was asked in 2014 to review a Palm Beach County hospital's highly specialized program for doing heart surgeries on children.

The team's recommendation: St. Mary's Medical Center should not perform heart surgeries on babies under 6 months old because the program did not handle enough cases to maintain the expertise needed for quality care.

Florida officials are predicting that a strain of low-potency marijuana should finally be available for medical purposes later this year.

Legislators in 2014 voted to legalize a strain of marijuana known as Charlotte's Web to treat epilepsy and cancer patients.

But there have been disputes over rules drawn up by the Department of Health to implement the law.

An administrative law judge on Wednesday threw out the latest challenge to those rules.

New data from Florida's Department of Health shows 93.3 percent of Florida's kindergarten students have been immunized.

That immunization rate falls a bit short of the state's goal to have 95 percent of all kindergarten students immunized for diseases such as polio and measles. But it's the highest overall rate since 2007.

The Florida Department of Health report also shows that 40 of the state's 67 counties have rates that meet or exceed the 95 percent goal.

  Delays continue for the rules on the state's legalized low-THC marijuana extract known as "Charlotte's Web," the Orlando Sentinel

  Over a two-month period, the Florida Department of Health ordered 59 individuals or businesses to stop playing doctor, the Palm Beach Post reports. Most of those practicing medicine without a license were located in South Florida, the Post reports.

 Preferred Medical Plan, the last of four insurers in Florida criticized by AIDS advocacy groups for the high cost of their HIV drugs, voluntarily agreed to cap the prices of the medication last week, according to the Miami Herald and Kaiser Health News. The company agreed to set the out-of-pocket cost limitation to $200 a month for four types of medication. According to the Herald, the Florida Department of Health and Human Services is still investigating federal civil rights co

Medical marijuana supporters have had a singular focus in making their case to voters across Florida: sick and suffering patients.

Many backers also see the money at stake in the debate over Amendment 2.

Thousands have attended workshops about how to start marijuana businesses. Farmland filled with tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers awaits the possibility of being replanted with a new leafy green. And entrepreneurs ready to offer everything from legal services to cannabis-infused chocolate-covered pretzels stand by for a chance to expand into the fourth-largest state.

The state Department of Health has confirmed the first Florida case of a severe respiratory illness affecting children around the country.

Officials said a 10-year-old girl from Polk County was recovering Tuesday from enterovirus 68. She was treated in Hillsborough County.

The virus causes cold and flu-like symptoms and is considered highly contagious. In infants and young children, the virus can cause difficulty breathing.