doctor

Associated Press

A new poll shows that Floridians are divided about how their health care has changed in the two years since much of the Affordable Care Act has gone into effect.

By contrast, nationwide, a majority said their personal health care has pretty much stayed the same in the past two years, according to the national poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Since 2003, strict rules have limited how long medical residents can work without a break. The rules are supposed to minimize the risk that these doctors-in-training will make mistakes that threaten patients' safety because of fatigue.

But are these rules really the best for new doctors and their patients? There's been intense debate over that and some say little data to resolve the question.

So a group of researchers decided to follow thousands of medical residents at dozens of hospitals around the country.

Daylina Miller / WUSF

Health care providers around Florida are continuing a push for laws that would expand the roles of nurse practitioners and physicians assistants.

  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.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

A federal indictment unsealed in January blames Tampa physician Dr. Edward Neil Feldman for the overdose death of three patients. 

But as the Tampa Bay Times reports, the charges involving powdered oxycodone are just part of a long and troubled history with the law, from allegations of soliciting prostitutes to pleading guilty in a federal case on kickbacks for MRIs.

Wikimedia Commons

Some physicians are starting to warn their patients who winter in Florida that physicians may be ordering tests they don’t need, the New York Times reports. 

Medicare data show that some doctors in Florida have been ordering tests at twice the rate of doctors in Massachusetts, according to analysis by the Times

A doctor and a registered nurse are suing a University of Miami organ bank supervisor who they say assaulted them at a meeting two years ago in front of dozens of other employees, the Miami Herald reports.

Dartmouth College

Spend a lot of time investigating before make a big purchase? Most of us do.

But that's not always the case when it comes to medical treatments or drugs.

Dr. Steven Woloshin and Dr. Lisa Schwartz have been researching the misleading medical and pharmaceutical messages in advertisements and other media for years.

The owner of Barry's Vitamins & Herbs in Boca Raton had promised to stop using the words “doctor” and the title of “Dr.” in his store and on his website, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

A doctor-turned-developer has walked away from a $10.5-million deal to buy Universal Health Care’s old St. Petersburg headquarters, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reports. Dr. Kevin Hirsch, a trauma surgeon, said city officials were dragging their feet on the deal to buy the downtown building that once housed the now bankrupt Medicare insurer. 

Many Medicare Advantage Plans, including Coral Gables-based Simply Healthcare, have begun looking for ways to cut costs, and for some that means directly dropping doctors from their networks, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

An Ocala judge has denied a name change request of a Florida man who has been having trouble getting cancer treatment because of the glitch, the Ocala Star-Banner reports.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

During its meeting Friday in Tampa, the Florida Board of Medicine issued fines and penalties against Hillsborough County physician Betty Jo Carter, for her role in a friend's death.

She was accused of overmedicating a patient and speeding up his death.  She was charged with malpractice, inappropriate drug dispensing and records violations.

She said her patient, Gary Lazar, was dying and had refused hospice care. She said she felt obliged to stay overnight at her patient's home.

A Maryland physician charged with sexually assaulting a patient at a walk-in clinic last month served more than 3 1/2 years in prison for raping a Florida woman at gunpoint in 1986, public records show.

In August 1987, William T. Dando was sentenced in Orange County to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to burglary and sexual battery. He was released in May 1991.

FL Docs Make Pricey Medicare Claims

May 16, 2014

When Medicare patients come in for an office visit, the doctor bills for that interaction on a scale of one to five.

A one is a relatively quick, simple office visit. A five is more complex and lengthy.

Oh, and that level five visit also pays more.

A man running a Winter Garden pain clinic intimidated a doctor on his payroll so intensely she prescribed powerful narcotics as she herself was being treated at a hospital, she told investigators.

Associated Press

Dr. Salomon Melgen, the Palm Beach County ophthalmologist who received more than any other doctor in the country from Medicare in 2012, tried to use political pull in the Democratic Party to get the FBI off his case.

Florida’s 61,000 medical doctors will get a 31-percent cut on their license renewal fee under a proposal adopted by the Florida Board of Medicine.

The renewal fee for MDs who have active licenses will be reduced from the usual $360 to $250 during the calendar years 2015-16, under the proposal. MDs have to renew their license every other year.

This one-time fee cut was adopted by the board's finance committee in March and by the fullboard last Friday. It still has to go through the rule-making process, which takes several months. No serious opposition is expected.

Central Florida doctors are split about the value of joining hospital-owned physician groups, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Those who have joined groups, such as those owned by Florida Hospital, say merging reduces costs and helps them focus more on patient care. Opponents say they don’t have to steer patients to a certain hospital, providing patients more choice, the Sentinel reports.
 

Carol Gentry/WUSF

A bill that would give nurse-practitioners more authority is one of the two big health issues being pushed by the House Select Committee on Health Care Workforce Innovation, which aims to increase access to primary care.

The other big issue of the session, which starts March 4, is telemedicine: Ironing out how it could be paid for and regulated. (See Health News Florida's: Telemedicine Ready for Reboot.)

Carol Gentry

On Jan. 1, hundreds of Florida doctors who now treat UnitedHealthcare's Medicare patients will be dropped. A host of patients have been affected nationwide. (See update: FMA Protests Doctor-Dropping)

Sarasota Police Department

Leonard Rubinstein, 59, whose license to practice medicine was permanently revoked a year ago, has been arrested on charges of practicing without a license, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports (paywall alert)

YouTube screen shot

A plastic surgeon in Miami is trying a quirky marketing hook with a video starring a child “doctor” advising children to take care of their mother after she has a butt lift, the Broward Palm Beach New Times reports. Dr. Constantino Mendieta uploaded the video below to YouTube. The video stresses the importance of rest, fluid and supportive undergarments, and reminds children “the quicker she heals, the quicker you can go back to being a be a pain in the [beep]."

The search continues for two people who were aboard a Mexico-bound jet that crashed after taking off from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Two pilots, a doctor and a nurse were on the plane. They had dropped off a patient in South Florida and were returning to Cozumel, Mexico, when the pilot reported an engine failure and attempted to return to the airport.

Coast Guard officials say crews searched throughout the night for the two missing people aboard the medical flight. Those search-and-rescue efforts continued Thursday morning.

Doctors and pharmacists accused of running one of the nation’s largest steroid supply rings are on trial in federal court, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Each year, the Florida Department of Health is required to publish an update on the physician workforce, to help the Legislature in strategic planning. That report, which came out this month, said there are 43,406 in active practice.

And yet, two officials who appeared before a House panel examining the health care workforce on Wednesday were stumped when members asked how many physicians the state has. After members asked the questions half a dozen times, the DOH officials said they'd have to get back to the committee, which next meets in January.

Records tell the story with gruesome detail: Middle-school nurse Kimberly Lindsey was shot, her head and fingertips cut off, her body dumped in an isolated sugar cane field.  As the Palm Beach Post reports, her ex-husband, Dr. Albert Lambert, is now dead from an apparent suicide, according to police.

Doctors do make a difference when it comes to keeping children and teenagers from taking up tobacco. This may sound like a no-brainer, but until recently there wasn't strong evidence that anti-smoking efforts by pediatricians and other primary care doctors make a difference.

Lottie Watts / WUSF

Most kids are heading back to school in Florida next week.  But before they can sit down in a classroom, many will have to sit down in the doctor's office for required vaccinations or a physical.  

That presents a dilemma for kids from families who are uninsured or underinsured. Lindsey Hernandez and her children have insurance through Medicaid. But that doesn't mean it's easy or convenient to get health care. At a back-to-school health fair last weekend at St. Petersburg College, four of her children got free physicals.  

Data Dive Finds Doctors For Rent

Aug 5, 2013

Silly me. I thought "rent-seeking" was something only landlords did.

But economists have their own way of looking at the world. To them, rent-seeking is a term for describing how someone snags a bigger share of a pie rather than making a pie bigger, as the venerable Economist explains it.

So, a drugmaker can be seen as a rent-seeker if it cajoles doctors to prescribe more of a particular brand of medicine at the expense of a rival pharmaceutical company's wares.

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