News Service of Florida

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Legal challenges continue to mount over the state’s Medicaid managed-care program. Lighthouse Health Plan filed a petition in state administrative court last week challenging state decisions that it says will lead to the automatic assignment of Medicaid patients in Northwest Florida to a competitor, Humana. 

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From the Bayou Chico contaminated-sediment remediation project in Escambia County to implementing a canal-management master plan in Monroe County, a multi-state council created after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster has approved numerous projects for areas of Florida’s Gulf Coast. 

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Moving quickly, an appeals court has scheduled a hearing next week in a public-records lawsuit about whether Gov. Rick Scott should be required to turn over his calendar to an organization locked in a battle with the state about Medicaid contracts. 

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In a case stemming from a worker’s finger being severed on a job site, a divided Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday against Caterpillar Financial Services Corp. in a dispute about whether a piece of equipment should be considered a “dangerous instrumentality.”

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Florida has provided more than 180,000 pounds of fruits, vegetables, meats and grains to victims of Hurricane Florence in North Carolina, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced Thursday. 

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An appeals court Wednesday agreed with the Florida Department of Health that a state program should not shield a doctor from potential liability in a medical-malpractice case stemming from the death of a patient. 

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The former Naples-based hospital chain Health Management Associates will pay more than $260 million to resolve criminal and civil allegations of health-care fraud. 

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Florida hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers and emergency departments are required to electronically submit data to the state about patients who are discharged. But a recent survey of those providers showed that nearly 78 percent of respondents reported having data rejected most of the time.

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A move by the Florida Department of Health to establish a new designation of high-level neonatal intensive care services is being challenged in state administrative court. 

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Twenty years after the Legislature agreed to close enrollment in a program meant to help encourage employers to hire workers who have permanent injuries, the program still has 2,673 open claims.

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The state Office of Insurance Regulation has scheduled an Oct. 17 hearing on a proposal that could lead to an average 13.4 percent reduction in workers’ compensation insurance rates next year, according to a notice published Monday in the Florida Administrative Register. 

A ban on workplace vaping is headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis.
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Arguing that the measures would violate First Amendment rights, an attorney for two plaintiffs urged the Florida Supreme Court on Friday to uphold a lower-court ruling that would block three proposed constitutional amendments from going before voters in November. 

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The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a ruling that would have blocked an adult from collecting millions of dollars in damages in a lawsuit stemming from the smoking-related death of her mother.

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The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a ruling that would have blocked an adult from collecting millions of dollars in damages in a lawsuit stemming from the smoking-related death of her mother.

Florida Supreme Court
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The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a ruling that would have blocked an adult from collecting millions of dollars in damages in a lawsuit stemming from the smoking-related death of her mother.

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Arguing that time “is of the essence,” environmental groups Wednesday requested that a judge lift a stay of a ruling that found state lawmakers did not properly carry out a 2014 constitutional amendment that requires spending on land and water conservation.

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Florida has been awarded $61.7 million to help fight opioid addiction, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday. 

Court Keeps Scott Records Ruling On Hold

Sep 19, 2018
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Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday received a legal ruling that will at least temporarily allow him to keep from turning over his calendar --- including information about fundraising events and where he will reside at night --- to a health-care organization.

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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is pumping another $4 million into efforts to help local communities suffering from red tide and a massive algae outbreak, raising spending to $13 million for the water problems.

The agency’s money will be used in Pinellas, Manatee, Collier, Sarasota, Lee and Martin counties.

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A preliminary decision by the state to approve a new hospice program in Pasco County faces legal challenges from two companies that were turned down. 

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Florida Covering Kids & Families, an organization at the University of South Florida, has been awarded $1.25 million from the federal government to fund “navigators” who help people find and enroll in health-insurance plans. 

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Gov. Rick Scott offered resources and assistance Monday to the governors of North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia as powerful Hurricane Florence threatened the Southeast U.S. coast. 

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The state received nine “certificate of need” applications for new hospital projects by a Wednesday deadline, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. 

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Florida has had 66 reported cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus this year, with the number increasing slightly during the past three weeks, according to information posted on the state Department of Health website. 

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Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans has completed a $2.5 billion deal to buy health plans that will expand its business in the Midwest and a firm that is a pharmacy-benefit manager, WellCare said Tuesday.

Alachua County Environmental Conservation

An appeals court this week turned down a request by environmental groups to quickly move a major conservation-funding case to the Florida Supreme Court.

Attorneys for the state House and Senate last month appealed a Leon County circuit judge’s ruling that said lawmakers did not properly carry out a 2014 constitutional amendment that requires spending on land and water conservation.

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Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday named Rebecca Kapusta to serve as interim secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families. 

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Magellan Complete Care is dropping its challenge to contract decisions that were part of Florida’s multibillion-dollar reprocurement of the Medicaid managed-care program.

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Florida is moving ahead with new Medicaid managed-care contracts, but mental-health providers continue to await publication of details about how services need to be delivered.

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A dispute over the the state Agency for Health Care Administration’s decision to award a Medicaid managed-care contract in Southwest Florida has turned into a court battle.

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