News Service of Florida

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A dozen municipal electric utilities will purchase power from a solar-energy project in Central Florida that is expected to start operating in 2020, the Florida Municipal Power Agency announced Friday. 

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Acupuncturists and physical therapists are waging a war --- over needles.

As a growing opioid epidemic has made patients leery of continued use of the drugs, the Florida Board of Physical Therapy has proposed a rule that would authorize certain physical therapists to treat patients with a “dry needling” technique.

A longtime agent with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will direct the state’s Office of Safe Schools, which was created after a mass shooting in February that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. 

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As Florida continues to deal with an opioid crisis, state corrections officials are moving ahead on a plan to cut substance-abuse services to make up a shortfall in health-care funding for the prison system.

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A federal grand jury has issued an indictment against a former CEO of Northwest Florida’s Calhoun-Liberty Hospital, charging him with 24 counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing false tax returns.

Unsealed Wednesday, the indictment alleges that Phillip E. Hill Jr. used his positions as chief executive officer and department head of emergency management services to embezzle money between 2010 and 2015 from the 25-bed facility, which serves residents in Calhoun, Liberty, Gulf, and Jackson counties, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida.

With tens of billions of dollars in contracts at stake, a dozen health plans have told Florida officials they are challenging newly awarded Medicaid contracts.

The Daily Chronic

More than six months after an Oct. 3 deadline to issue new medical-marijuana licenses, the Florida Department of Health has released a proposed rule outlining an application process for potential operators in what could be one of the nation’s largest cannabis markets.

The 12 managed-care plans at risk of being shut out of Florida’s Medicaid program have turned to 11 different law firms to represent them.

The Tallahassee-based firm Rutledge Ecenia has been hired by two managed-care plans unhappy with the state Agency for Health Care Administration’s decisions.

Attorney Stephen Ecenia is representing Magellan Complete Care, while Tana D. Story has been hired to represent Our Childen PSN of Florida.

The 12 managed-care plans at risk of being shut out of Florida’s Medicaid program have turned to 11 different law firms to represent them.

The Tallahassee-based firm Rutledge Ecenia has been hired by two managed-care plans unhappy with the state Agency for Health Care Administration’s decisions.

Attorney Stephen Ecenia is representing Magellan Complete Care, while Tana D. Story has been hired to represent Our Childen PSN of Florida.

Cherie Diez / Tampa Bay Times

Siding with the state Department of Health, an appeals court Tuesday at least temporarily blocked a Tampa businessman from being able to grow marijuana as he seeks to prevent a relapse of lung cancer.

Three former state lawmakers are part of a committee that will try to get voters in 2020 to pass a constitutional amendment that would ban “assault” weapons in Florida. 

BP settlement money is headed to new water and sewer lines for an industrial park, technical-education programs in two counties and expansion of the Port of Panama City.

Amy Green/WMFE

Members of Florida’s congressional delegation from both sides of the political aisle denounced a White House proposal Friday that they say would weaken offshore oil-drilling regulations.

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In a case stemming from an injury to a child who was deaf and had been diagnosed with psychiatric conditions, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday tried to resolve questions about when lawsuits deal with medical malpractice --- or ordinary negligence.

Magellan Health intends to protest an Agency for Health Care Administration decision to shut the health plan out of the state’s Medicaid managed-care market.

More than 1,800 people have been removed from the state-employee health insurance program after Gov. Rick Scott’s administration started requiring workers to fork over tax documents and their children’s birth certificates to verify that family members qualify for coverage.

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Pointing to an arbitrary process that “ignores substance in favor of blind luck,” an administrative law judge Thursday rejected a state emergency rule drawn up to help license more methadone-treatment centers across Florida.

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Managed care organizations that want to challenge the award of upward of $90 billion in Medicaid contracts to nine health plans across the state have until late Friday afternoon to launch protests. 

The state Department of Financial Services announced Wednesday it intends to pay $195,000 to the Workers Compensation Research Institute to study how Florida’s workers’ compensation insurance market is performing compared to other states.

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Florida officials on Tuesday announced the names of the nine health plans the state wants to ink contracts with to provide health care to nearly four million poor, elderly and disabled residents.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

The workers’ compensation system and the injured workers it serves are not immune from the nation’s opioid crisis, according to the National Council on Compensation Insurance. 

Amy Green/WMFE

Florida farmers awaiting federal disaster relief to help cover losses from Hurricane Irma last September may learn more details this week about the highly anticipated program. 

The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday awarded Florida $1 million to help defray the cost of law enforcement officers and other emergency workers who have been involved in the response to the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement sought the funds, at Gov. Rick Scott’s direction, through the federal agency’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and a grant program designed to reimburse states and communities that face precipitous costs related to major crime incidents.

LESLIE OVALLE / WLRN

A 16-member commission on Tuesday will begin reviewing the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a Broward County high school, looking into the circumstances of the crime, the background of the alleged shooter and recommendations to prevent future tragedies.

Caitlin Hillyard/KHN

An administrative law judge Friday rejected a challenge to decisions by the Florida Department of Corrections to award two contracts for substance-abuse treatment services in state prisons. 

Samples of medical marijuana shown on display
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Florida’s medical-marijuana patient database has hit the 100,000 mark, according to a weekly update issued by the state Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use.

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Ruling against the Florida Department of Health, a circuit judge Friday said an embattled Broward County nursing home is entitled to receive copies of death certificates for people who died across the state around the time of Hurricane Irma.

Florida Supreme Court
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The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday scheduled oral arguments in a medical-malpractice appeal filed by the estate of a woman who died while undergoing surgery for a tumor in her skull.

pack of cigarettes
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A divided state appeals court this week upheld a nearly $6.4 million verdict in a case filed against cigarette-maker Philip Morris USA by the widow of a Jacksonville man who died of smoking-related illnesses.

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The competition is on for a new hospice program in Pasco County.

The state Agency for Health Care Administration has received letters of intent from nine companies to establish a hospice program. The letters are a first step in the state’s certificate-of-need process.

The application deadline is May 16. The state on March 30 published need for one new hospice program in Pasco.

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