Venezuela's health system has been decimated by catastrophic economic collapse. During the COVID-19 pandemic, that's made personal protective equipment, or PPE, especially scarce for Venezuela's health care workers.

One tragic result: of the nearly 500 COVID deaths Venezuela has reported as of this week, almost a third were doctors, nurses and other frontline medical personnel.

COVID-19 Forces Changes In Health Facility Inspections

Sep 8, 2020
Hush Naidoo / Unsplash

How do you inspect a nursing home or a hospital in the middle of a pandemic, or discipline a physician or a nurse?

As COVID-19 has spread, the organizations and regulators responsible for ensuring the safety of health-care facilities and providers have run into a conundrum when travel and face-to-face encounters have been nixed.

Engin Akyurt / Unsplash

Discussions about exempting medical students and medical residents from disclosing past mental health treatment on their Florida licensure applications have been put on hold.

The Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine have canceled a Sept. 11 meeting on “health history questions.”

Pharmacy Board Moves Forward On Expanded Practice

Aug 27, 2020

Members of the state pharmacy board agreed Wednesday to remove heart failure from a list of chronic conditions that pharmacists would be authorized to treat in collaboration with physicians.

The decision came as the Florida Board of Pharmacy moved to carry out a new law that will expand the authority of pharmacists to treat patients. Pharmacists and physicians have wrangled about which conditions pharmacists should be able to treat.

Pharmacists Talks Continue Over Adding 'Heart Failure'

Aug 26, 2020
National Cancer Institute

Florida pharmacists and physicians continue to wrangle about medical treatment patients will be able to receive at pharmacies.

After nearly three hours of discussion Monday, members of the Florida Board of Pharmacy Rules Committee voted to add “heart failure” to a list of chronic conditions, enumerated in a proposed rule, that pharmacists could treat.

The full Board of Pharmacy will consider the proposed regulation at a meeting Wednesday.

Pharmacist-Physician Proposal Draws Renewed Debate

Aug 20, 2020
Flickr Creative Commons

After the state Legislature approved a law that expanded the types of health care that pharmacists can provide, a deal between physicians and pharmacists to fast-track collaborative practice arrangements might be unraveling.

Primary Care Doctors Look At Payment Overhaul After Pandemic Disruption

Aug 13, 2020
Tommy Martino for KHN

For Dr. Gabe Charbonneau, a primary care doctor in Stevensville, Montana, the coronavirus pandemic is an existential threat.

Charbonneau, 43, his two partners and 10 staff members are struggling to keep their rural practice alive. Patient volume is slowly returning to pre-COVID levels. But the large Seattle-area company that owns his practice is reassessing its operations as it adjusts to the new reality in health care.

Jasmine Obra believed that if it wasn't for her brother Joshua, she wouldn't exist. When 7-year-old Josh realized that his parents weren't going to live forever, he asked for a sibling so he would never be alone.

By spring 2020, at ages 29 and 21, Josh and Jasmine shared a condo in Anaheim, Calif., not far from Disneyland, which they both loved.

Both worked at a 147-bed locked nursing facility that specialized in caring for elderly people with cognitive issues such as Alzheimer's and where Jasmine, a nursing student, was mentored by Josh, a registered nurse.

Richard Catabay

<p> Citing budgetary concerns, members of the Florida Board of Medicine delayed until October a decision on a request to waive physician licensure and renewal fees for the next two years. </p> </p> Board of Medicine executive director Claudia Kemp said she had a conversation with a state budget official who flagged the request, which was made by Florida Medical Association.  </p> </p>  “She felt that if we did this (waived licensure fees), we would be operating in a deficit,” Kemp told members of the Board of Medicine, which held an all-day meeting Friday .

Effort To Give Florida Pharmacists More Authority Moves Forward

Jul 30, 2020
pill bottle with pills on table
James Yarema

A brewing battle between Florida doctors and pharmacists may have been resolved for now.

Some medical groups had been worried about a rule being drawn up by a state regulatory board after the Legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis this year approved a law to expand the kinds of health services that pharmacists can provide.

The coronavirus is leaving a lasting impression on a generation of young doctors.

Expanded Role For Nurses Gets House Support

Dec 12, 2019
Lying atop a mobile gurney, a patient was being prepped and coached just prior to the subsequent medical procedure that was about to take place in this hospital setting. The nurse was wearing her requisite blue colored hospital scrubs, and had draped a st
T. Grace Emori / CDC / Public Health Image Library

A House panel on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a priority bill of House Speaker Jose Oliva that would allow advanced practice registered nurses and physician assistants to practice independently from physicians. 

Peter Haden/WLRN

Legislation allowing medical personnel to carry guns when they are involved in tactical law enforcement duties was passed by the Florida House.


With frustration mounting over lawmakers' inaction on gun control, the American Medical Association on Tuesday pressed for a ban on assault weapons and came out against arming teachers as a way to fight what it calls a public health crisis.

As she leaves a 12-hour-day on the labor and delivery shift, Dr. Katie Merriam turns off her pager.

"I don't know what I'd do without it, you know? It's another limb. I always know where it is," she says, laughing.

The third-year resident in obstetrics and gynecology at the Carolinas Medical Center hospital in Charlotte, N.C., works in a medical specialty dominated by women, treating women. Merriam says she feels a special connection to her patients.

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Behind the scenes at the University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, two top physicians feuded so badly over just about everything that a "personality coach" was hired to try to soothe tensions. 

But as the Miami Herald reports, the two stars couldn’t coexist; and after one of the doctors left Bascom Palmer, he turned in the other over allegations of Medicare fraud.

All Children's Hospital

The president of All Children’s Hospital says it will keep recruiting specialists and hiring its own doctors, despite a whistle-blower lawsuit and $7 million settlement, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Will Vragoic / Tampa Bay Times

The gigantic retirement community known as The Villages -- with almost 100,000 residents who like getting around in golf carts -- has teamed up with the University of South Florida to create medical homes with an old-time friendly style of primary care, the Tampa Bay Times reports

A Washington Post review of data from Florida outpatient surgery centers discovered that some gastroenterologists and other physicians were being paid for doing procedures that would add up to  more than 12 hours a day -- in some cases, more than 24 hours a day.

Bill Branson / National Cancer Institute

A shortage of primary care doctors exists across much of Florida, not just in small, rural counties, the Associated Press reports. According to federal data, communities in Miami, Tampa and Orlando don’t have enough primary care physicians, either. 

The U.S. Justice Department is seeking between $300 million and $600 million in damages in the whistleblower case against Halifax Health, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports.  (Editor’s note: Readers may encounter a paywall.)

The sum that prosecutors mentioned in court filings represents just over $100 million in actual damages to Medicare and Medicaid, while the remainder would be penalties. 

Doctors who dispense drugs to workers’ compensation patients often add a big markup to the price, and business groups have been fighting for years to stop that practice. The Florida Medical Association beat back all those bills. Now they’ve arrived at a compromise, as an amendment to a Senate bill, the Florida Current reports.