Lead Stories

DeSantis Pushes To End Medical Marijuana Smoking Ban

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that he will push to end a state ban on smoking medical marijuana in Florida.

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Budget keeps $44M freebie

Apr 29, 2009

By Gary Fineout
4/29/2009 © Health News Florida 

Florida’s tentative budget deal includes a great many cuts. But here’s one thing it won’t touch: the free health insurance offered to 26,000 state employees and their families -- including legislators themselves. 

HCA pleased with final bill

Apr 28, 2009

By Christine Jordan Sexton
4/28/2009 © Health News Florida

HCA Healthcare Corp. didn’t succeed in killing the panel that recommends spending of $1 billion a year in Medicaid dollars. But it will leave the session satisfied, as Florida lawmakers on Monday sent a measure overhauling the panel to Gov. Charlie Crist.

With little debate, the Florida Senate voted unanimously to change the membership of the Low Income Pool Council, a move that would block professional lobbyists from serving on the group. 

By Gary Fineout 
4/24/2009 © Health News Florida

Responding to a move among Florida’s universities to require that all students have health insurance, the Florida House on Thursday put new requirements on university health centers. 

By Christine Jordan Sexton
4/23/2009 © Health News Florida

Rep. Ed Homan, who dreams of solving two of the state’s most pressing problems by providing “medical homes” for Medicaid patients at expanded physician-training programs, has found a way to improve odds of making that happen.

He’s turned HB 7131 into a “train” – a massive piece of legislation that contains a number of unrelated issues, some too powerful to derail. He’s hooked his dream onto a Medicaid fraud-fighting bill and a measure that would streamline state regulation of health facilities.

4/22/2009 © Health News Florida
A Congressional staff report raps Florida and seven other states for misuse of Medicaid stimulus funds that were supposed to create health-care jobs and help newly uninsured people get coverage. The report raises a question of whether Florida could be held accountable for paying back diverted money.

By Christine Jordan Sexton
4/21/2009 © Health News Florida

At the eleventh hour, the Florida Association of Counties is scrambling to undo a budget provision that would cap salaries of future employees in county health departments.

That would make it impossible for the health departments to offer competitive salaries to attract the doctors and dentists who serve the poor and uninsured, the counties say.

4/20/2009 © Health News Florida

The state Medicaid program will "ensure a smooth transition" for recipients with serious mental illness whose caregiver networks were bought by  corporate HMOs, a statement from the Agency for Health Care Administration says.

By Carol Gentry
4/20/2009 © Health  News Florida

Saying immunizations are "vital for the health of children and adults," more than two dozen Florida pediatricians have signed a statement opposing a Senate bill that would ban the use of certain vaccines and allow parents to delay immunizations usually given to infants and toddlers. The doctors say the bill would violate federal policy that enables children in Medicaid to receive life-saving vaccines.

4/17/2009 © Health News Florida

Thousands of Florida Medicaid patients who were being treated in specially-designed mental health plans were recently switched without warning or consent into HMOs that removed them from their treatment and support, according to the advocacy group Florida CHAIN.

By Carol Gentry and David Gulliver
4/17/2009 © Health News Florida 

A national shortage of opium-based painkillers triggered by a Food and Drug Administration order has forced some cancer patients to search frantically for pharmacies that have it in stock, doctors and pharmacists say.

One of the painkillers, quick-release oxycodone, hit the scarcity peak about a month ago, forcing doctors to prescribe alternatives. But now some of those substitutes – morphine, hydromorphone, and Dilaudid – are headed in the same direction.