health care

Federal taxpayers are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into a quest for blood samples, medical information and fitness readouts from a million Americans. It's called the All of Us precision medicine initiative, and it's the biggest push ever mounted to create a huge public pool of data that scientists — and anybody else who is interested — can mine for clues about health and disease.

Proponents say this big data approach to medicine will be revolutionary. Critics aren't so sure.

Seven years ago, Robert Kerley, who makes his living as a truck driver, was loading drywall onto his trailer when a gust of wind knocked him off. He fell 14 feet and hurt his back.

For pain, a series of doctors prescribed him a variety of opioids: Vicodin, Percocet and Oxycontin.

In less than a year, the 45-year-old from Federal Heights, Colo., says he was hooked. "I spent most of my time high, lying on the couch, not doing nothing, sleeping, dozing off, falling asleep everywhere," he says.

The Mayo Clinic is building its future around high-tech approaches to research known as "precision medicine." This involves gathering huge amounts of information from genetic tests, medical records and other data sources to ferret out unexpected ideas to advance health. But one longtime scientist at the Mayo Clinic isn't playing along.

Miami Jewish Health/C. C. Hodgson Architectural Group

The Miami Jewish Health Systems has broken ground on a new type of senior care center with an emphasis on providing care for residents with Alzheimer's and dementia. 

"A nursing home is more than a facility that just takes care of people. What Miami Jewish Health is doing is building a small community that's more like real life," said Judy Lusskin, an executive committee member for Miami Jewish Health and also the vice mayor of Golden Beach. "It's not just feeding, bathing, putting [the patients] in a chair, playing some music."

Editor's Note: This story was produced in partnership with WOSU and Side Effects Public Media, a reporting collaborative focused on public health.

Health Care Spending, Regulations Confront Lawmakers

Dec 27, 2017

Battles over health-care spending and regulation of Florida's vast health-care industry are likely to command a great deal of time and attention when the Florida Legislature convenes in January for its annual session.

Lawmakers are again expected to engage in a tug-of-war about what type of regulations should be in place for health-care facilities, but a main focus will be on Florida's strained safety-net health program at a time of tight state finances.

Florida's Medicaid program already costs $26 billion and covers an estimated 4 million people.

Editor's Note: This encore story, originally published in September, seems especially relevant this week, as we all relax (aka sit! binge-watch! eat!) for the holidays.

Count the number of hours you sit each day. Be honest.

The Grinch's psychological problems have been pretty well analyzed. He has anger and empathy issues, not to mention sociopathic tendencies. No wonder he tried to steal Christmas.

But what about the Grinch's defining physical disability: a heart that was "two sizes too small"?

A day after President Trump said the Affordable Care Act "has been repealed," officials reported that 8.8 million Americans have signed up for coverage on the federal insurance exchange for 2018 — nearly reaching the 2017 number in half the sign-up time.

That total is far from complete. Enrollment is still open in parts of seven states, including Florida and Texas, that use the federal exchange but were affected by hurricanes earlier this year.

With money for Florida's subsidized children's health-insurance program due to run out in a matter of weeks, the state has not warned the parents of roughly 200,000 children that they could soon lose coverage.

The percentage of Florida’s population properly inoculated against the flu is far lower than federal health officials recommend, according to a new report.

The Sunshine State has the 12th lowest vaccination rate in the country.

Many potential emergency room patients are too sick to drive themselves to a hospital. But an ambulance can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars without insurance.

This where a popular ride-sharing app can step in, while also freeing up the ambulances for those who need them most.

Floridians have two extra weeks to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Editor's note, Jan. 17: Some identifying information has been removed from this report to guard the privacy of the family that is part of the probiotics test.

It's a typical hectic morning at Michele's house in Northern Virginia when she gets a knock on her front door.

Democrats Seek Vote On Expanding Medicaid In Florida

Dec 8, 2017

Two Democratic lawmakers are calling for voters to decide next year whether Florida should expand the Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act.