health care

Scott Drops Welfare Drug Testing Challenge

Mar 5, 2015

After spending at least $300,000 of taxpayer money on legal expenses, Gov. Rick Scott is abandoning his fight to force welfare applicants to undergo mandatory drug tests.

A federal appeals court ruled in December that the state’s mandatory, suspicion-less drug testing of applicants in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, program is an unconstitutional violation of Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government.

Matthew Robinson loved to have eggs for dinner.
 
But they were out the evening of November 4, 2010. So the 10-year-old and his brother Mark walked out of their Kissimmee apartment and headed across the street to the Kangaroo convenience store.
 

While crossing the street to come home, a city bus made a left turn into the crosswalk and hit the two boys.

Timmy Gunz / Creative Commons/Flickr

Getting an appointment with a doctor may get a lot harder over the next ten years, according to a study out this week.

The report, commissioned by the Teaching Hospital Council of Florida and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, says Florida is facing a troubling shortage of specialist doctors - to the tune of almost 7,000. Even though South Florida has a number of teaching hospitals, the survey finds the region will still feel the crunch, especially in Palm Beach County.

Federal health officials are granting a special enrollment period for consumers who unsuccessfully tried to buy health insurance before Sunday's deadline and were sidelined by long wait times or computer glitches.

Some consumers who tried to pick a health plan through HealthCare.gov or its call centers were unable to complete their application because of the high volume of callers or technical problems with income verification. If you were in line by Feb. 15, health officials are giving you until Feb. 22 to complete your application.

As privately run Medicare health plans for seniors scramble to stave off proposed funding cuts, federal prosecutors in Florida are pursuing an unusual criminal fraud case that's likely to raise new concerns that some plans may be overcharging the government.

The criminal case is believed to be among the first to take aim at billing practices of Medicare Advantage plans, which are popular with seniors because out-of-pocket costs are lower and they provide more benefits than traditional Medicare.

South Florida is home to the highest number of people signing up for Obamacare.

With just one week before the open enrollment period ends, more than 660,000 people in South Florida have gotten health insurance plans through Healthcare.gov.

Almost one out of every two Floridians enrolling are from the Miami - Ft. Lauderdale - Palm Beach region. It's more than the next two metropolitan areas combined, making South Florida prime territory for the Affordable Care Act.

Doug McIntosh/Flickr

Florida legislators this year may expand the prescribing authority of physician assistants and nurse practitioners to include controlled substances. The move responds to Florida's reported doctor shortage and its developing flood of patients with new Obamacare health policies.

401(k)2012 / Flickr Creative Commons

As the Feb 15 deadline nears to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace, official reports show more than a million Floridians have signed up  with an overwhelming majority qualifying for tax credits.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is highlighting the affordability of the Affordable Health Care Act while last minute stragglers weigh their  options.

Jamie Harden knows firsthand how Florida Legislative leaders feel about Medicaid expansion.  

Last year, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce asked him to join BayCare Health System President Steve Mason at a meeting with legislators and lobby to expand the state’s health insurance program for the poor.

Harden, a Tampa sign company president, said it didn’t go well.

Florida Measles Cases Stem From Travelers

Feb 3, 2015

Four cases of measles have been identified in Florida in the past two weeks, all of which involve travelers.

Two of the cases diagnosed involved international travelers, and the infected people had unknown or no measles vaccine, State Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong said in a statement.

The Florida Department of Health reports that so far, no state residents have so far been diagnosed with measles, a disease that is experiencing the second-biggest outbreak in the nation in at least 15 years.

GOP Not Slowing FL Obamacare Enrollment

Feb 3, 2015

When Florida workers promoting President Barack Obama's health care marketplace want instant feedback, they go to an online "heat map." The map turns darker green where they've seen the most people and shows bright red dots for areas where enrollment is high.

Florida Legal Services

State health policy experts said Thursday prospects for expanding Medicaid in the Legislature this year remain dim because of unwillingness in the leadership and possibly fatal flaws in the two leading proposals. And those experts warn another refusal could come with a stunning economic cost for Florida.

Federal health officials say 1,190,922 Floridians have signed up for health insurance through the federal marketplace since this year’s open enrollment period started.

That figure announced Wednesday is by far the most in any state using the federal health care marketplace and includes first-time enrollees and some who are renewing their insurance this year.

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. It can also cause cancer.

Proponents of medical marijuana began an encore campaign for legalization Friday, filing a rewritten ballot measure just two months after one narrowly failed to pass.

Backers of the initial constitutional amendment appeared to have a wave of support on their side, but fell short of the 60 percent threshold needed as a surge of ads emerged claiming the measure's language was riddled with holes.

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