health care

It used to be that if you wanted to watch a surgery, you had to sit in a gallery behind a glass panel. And even then, you usually had to be a medical student. The surgeon performed on the other side, but there was no interaction between the doctor and spectators.

How FluMist Slipped From Preferred To Passe

Jun 27, 2016

What led to the abrupt fall of FluMist — the nasal spray version of influenza vaccine — which until recently was considered the first choice for younger children?

On Wednesday, an advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that the spray version was so ineffective, it shouldn't be used by anyone during the 2016-2017 flu season.

When Greg Burel tells people he's in charge of some secret government warehouses, he often gets asked if they're like the one at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, where the Ark of the Covenant gets packed away in a crate and hidden forever.

Tracy Solomon Clark is outgoing and energetic — a former fundraiser for big companies and big causes. As she charged through her 40s she had "no clue," she says, that there might be a problem with her heart.

It was about six years ago — when she was 44 — that she first suffered severe shortness of breath, along with dizziness. She figured she was overweight and overworked, but never considered heart disease.

"That was the furthest thing from my mind," Solomon Clark says. "I was young!"

The dictionary defines ageism as the "tendency to regard older persons as debilitated, unworthy of attention, or unsuitable for employment." But research indicates that ageism may not just be ill-informed or hurtful. It may also be a matter of life and death.

Not that it's literally killing people. Researcher Becca Levy, a professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health, says it depends on how much a given individual takes those negative ideas to heart.

Court: Only One Parent Needs To Sign Off On Surgery

May 25, 2016

In what could be first-of-its-kind case in Florida, an appeals court Wednesday rejected arguments that both parents need to sign off before a child can undergo surgery.

In his recent book, The Finest Traditions of My Calling, Dr. Abraham Nussbaum, 41, makes the case that doctors and patients alike are being shortchanged by current medical practices that emphasize population-based standards of care rather than individual patient needs and experiences.

Nussbaum, a psychiatrist, is the chief education officer at Denver Health Medical Center and works on the adult inpatient psychiatric unit there. I recently spoke with him, and this is an edited transcript of our conversation.

Claudia Muñoz/WLRN

Beginning in July, if you have health insurance and go to an in-network hospital but a doctor who is not in your insurance plan’s network helps you, you aren’t supposed to get a surprise bill. The law is designed to stop what’s called balanced billing - the practice of charging a patient for medical care delivered by doctors outside their insurance network even when the the care was performed at an in-network facility.


Security camera footage from the Barsotti family via Tampa Bay Times and Sarasota Herald Tribune

Note: This interview was first published in December 2015. Leonora LaPeter Anton and her colleagues were awarded a Pulitzer Prize this week for their investigation.  

Thousands of children of legal immigrants will be closer to obtaining subsidized health insurance this summer, after the Legislature passed a long-debated expansion of the state's KidCare program.

Until this year, children of legal immigrants were technically eligible for KidCare --- the low-cost federal-state health insurance program --- but had to wait five years to actually start receiving services.

That changed on Thursday, when Gov. Rick Scott signed the state budget into law. Contained in an accompanying bill (HB 5101) was language eliminating the five-year wait.

  An outpatient treatment for severely depressed patients who get no relief from drugs or talk therapy is becoming increasingly available and affordable.

San Jorge Children's Hospital is Puerto Rico's largest pediatric hospital, drawing patients from throughout the Caribbean. It's a bustling facility in San Juan, with specialties in surgery, rheumatology and oncology. It also has brightly colored live parrots at every entrance.

"It just sends a message to the patient that they're in a friendly place," explains San Jorge's vice president of operations, Domingo Cruz Vivaldi. "That they're here to be treated, but they're also going to have a good time."

Health News Florida

Consumers skeptical about the real cost of health care will soon have a resource where they can ask and share with their neighbors the price of common medical procedures.

Health News Florida in April will be launching PriceCheck, a database that blends together prices we’ve collected with information from consumers living in South Florida and the Tampa Bay area.

Hispanic Children’s Uninsured Rate Hits Record Low, Study Finds

Jan 20, 2016

The rate of Hispanic children without health insurance fell to a historic low in 2014, the first year that key parts of Obamacare took effect, but they still represent a disproportionate share of the nation’s uninsured youth, according to a new study.

Federal health advisers recommended approval Tuesday for an experimental implant designed to treat patients recovering from heroin and painkiller addiction.