Columnist Frank Cerabino has great fun with the state's latest idea, a big snake hunt. Amateurs can watch an online video to learn how.
The states that are leaning against expanding Medicaid, including Florida, are the ones that already have built a reputation for neglecting the health of their citizens.
Consultant Paul Gionfriddo writes that states with a history of underspending on residents' health will have a lot of freedom shaping benefits – perhaps for worse – if they take on state exchanges instead of deferring to the federal government.
Consultant Paul Gionfriddo writes that if Medicare beneficiaries gave a little on benefits and workers gave a little more to withholding, it would be easy to close the gap for good.
Columnist Daniel Ruth writes about Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, who are building an opulent set of mansions totalling 63,000-square-feet for their extended family on 17 acres in Tampa.
Consultant Brian Klepper of Fernandina Beach says 30 to 55 percent of health spending is bloat that pays for too much of the wrong things.
Dr. Marc Yacht writes that anti-government, anti-science, anti-health reform extremists in the Republican Party simply frightened away the electorate.
Columnist Florence Snyder says the campaign "hype and tripe" is being generated at the expense of genuine news reporting.
Consultant Paul Gionfriddo writes that "health care Armageddon" can still happen, but not if low health care inflation continues to change the picture of health policy.
Consultant Paul Gionfriddo writes about the conversations we should have had on jobs and Medicare and much else during this wasted campaign.
Former investigative journalist, now a blogger, William Heisel notes that after a pressure-filled career, some doctors gravitate to Florida pill mills to make more than a million dollars a year just for signing their names.
Fernandina Beach-based health consultant Brian Klepper says that overspending and blatant waste can go on no longer, but the industry isn't yielding, which means we're in for an ugly fight.
Columnist Frank Cerabino writes that one doctor with throat cancer sees "ObamaCare" differently after learning he'd be taken off the reject list when looking for insurers.
Dr. Marc Yacht, retired Pasco County Public Health Director, offers a long list of reasons why this state needs ObamaCare more than most.
Consultant Paul Gionfriddo says psychologists aren’t reimbursed nearly enough to treat those with mental illness, and the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA that would have given coverage to many is being blocked by several states.
Miami Herald's Andrea Torres, a breast cancer survivor, tells the story of a young mother who is dying, contrasting her courage to the shabby politicization of the issue by opportunists.
Managing Editor Tom McNiff writes that it's a bit rich for Congress to be outraged about the source of the fungal meningitis outbreak, after ignoring repeated warnings.
With a budget crisis looming in Medicare, consultant Paul Gionfriddo says action is clearly needed. But cuts -- either Obama's or Romney's -- aren't the only answer.
Columnist Frank Cerabino says that in observance of National Dental Hygiene Month, jail inmate Joel Flores is suing the sheriff for failing to provide dental floss.
Columnist Ana Veciana-Suarez says many are congratulating the diaper company for casting public breastfeeding in a positive light. But many still want women to hide in a closet or under a blanket.
Columnist Tom Lyons says he's finding lots of cases in which ER records don't match reality -- like the woman who was said to be "ambulatory," picked up by her husband, when she had a broken ankle and her husband is long dead.
Dr. Mona Mangat writes about a patient who now faces $30,000 in bills for surgery because her insurer said menopausal bleeding episodes were evidence of a pre-existing condition.
A doctor writes that a patient could have been saved, but by the time they knew her HIV status, it was too late. Her case underscores the many shortfalls of Florida's policies when it comes to HIV.
Health consultant Paul Gionfriddo says Gov. Scott's dislike of the health law means the taxpayers of Florida will have to come up with the $8 billion he's turning down for Medicaid expansion.
Health policy analyst Brian Klepper of Fernandina Beach outlines a structure that would pull the fractured caregivers together into a strong "congress" with more influence.
State Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, faults Department of Health and the Scott administration for the mismanaged communications on the TB outbreak.
Consultant Brian Klepper writes that pitting physicians and nurse practitioners against each other won’t solve the problems in primary care.
The advocacy group Florida CHAIN says a lot of nonsense is being spouted about both the Affordable Care Act and the Medicare "premium support" proposal.
Columnist Robyn Blumner explains what the Independent Payment Advisory Board will do, and how far that is from the way Paul Ryan has painted it.
Medicaid is dysfunctional and costly. Instead of an exponential expansion, the former governor writes, why not allow states to implement consumer-driven options that could be less costly with better health outcomes?
The fact-checking team looked at Romney's claim that taxpayers would save money if more seniors enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans.
Health consultant Paul Gionfriddo welcomes his granddaughter into the world, all 2 pounds, 11 ounces of her, and notes that neonatal intensive-care units would not be here if it were not for taxpayer dollars.
Two years after passage of the Affordable Health Care Act, during which Republicans have freely trashed it and soured public opinion, the Democrats are finally speaking up.
Consultant Joe Paduda says the political party that claims to be fiscally responsible forfeited that title when a Republican Congress and president passed the Medicare drug plan; it added more to the deficit than the Affordable Care Act.
Joe Henderson writes about Susan McPartland, who, with a small sign outside the GOP convention, is letting Republicans know that Planned Parenthood saved her life through a mammogram.
Paul Ryan’s comments about Medicare Wednesday night were highly misleading. Neither President Obama nor the health-care law literally cut funding from the Medicare program’s budget.
Paul Gionfriddo writes that the three worst states in the country for health all have all rejected a Medicaid expansion. While Florida escaped the bottom of the list overall, it ranked 43rd for how it directs its current Medicaid funds.
PolitiFact ruled that a former Democratic congressman’s comment during the Republican National Convention that the health law requires people to purchase insurance even if they can’t afford is “mostly false.”
Bill Maxwell writes that Americans should be ashamed that some 16 million children regularly go to school with empty stomachs. Many teachers are using their own money to help their hungry students, but the the bipartisan Child Nutrition Improvement and Integrity Act should help with funding.
As the Republican Convention begins tonight in Tampa, many things will be said about the current administration regarding everything from the economy to health care. How many of them are true?
Paul Gionfriddo writes that while Florida leads in Medicare billing for elder care, the state ranked 33rd for overall health.
If you enjoyed watching the Scott administration botch the TB outbreak, Dr. Marc Yacht writes, stay tuned for its next mess: the appeal of Docs vs. Glocks.
Rosemary Goudreau, editor of Florida Voices, says the governor should immediately appoint a monitor to the brain-injury facility in Wauchula, where patient abuse is horrific. Part of the problem is fragmentation of responsibility among three health agencies.
CJR columnist Trudy Lieberman says that Miami Herald reporters added to seniors' suspicion of the health law by getting the facts wrong.
Columnist Frank Cerabino says Florida's health funding plan appears to be inviting rock stars to do charity concerts.
Frank Cerabino writes that since the state has given Publix tax credits to remodel its stores, maybe the grocery chain could donate one to take in contagious, homeless TB patients.
Health consultant Paul Gionfriddo suggests that the court decision leaves room for Congress to encourage states to cover the poor by, say, cutting balkers' payments by 1/4 of 1 percent.That would cost states more than they'd pay to expand Medicaid
Former State Rep. Dick Batchelor says Gov. Rick Scott keeps misleading the public about the Affordable Care Act, placing many of Florida's poorest citiens at risk of going without health care.
Consultant Brian Klepper says former federal health chiefs from both parties agree the AMA-run process for setting doctor pay is wildly flawed, yet no one has the political will to fix it.
Fred Grimm said he can't understand why no one noticed that four of six teen-age kids in one foster home were turning tricks instead of going to school.
Randy Schultz writes that however the Supreme Court rules on the health law, what happens at the polls will matter less than what happens in doctors’ offices.
Health consultant Paul Gionfriddo writes that public health, which has doubled our life expectancy over the last century, accounts for just 3 percent of our nation's health spending, while insurance administration is 6 percent and growing.
Florence Snyder writes about how a political appointee at Dept. of Families and Children sexually harassed an office chief who will now collect $150,000 from taxpayers.
Humorist Andy Borowitz writes that the United Nations, upset with FL Gov. Rick Scott's purge of voter rolls, may dispatch a team of observers from such democracies as Egypt and Libya.
Workers' comp expert Joe Paduda says there really is no rationale for doctors to prescribe narcotics -- intended for breakthrough pain in cancer cases -- for short-term injuries.
Re: Ombudsman should monitor WellCare
To the editor:
In a recent letter to Health News Florida, Dr. Bernd Wollschlaeger raised concerns over past events and recommended that Wellcare should operate under the oversight of an “ombudsman.”
We at WellCare want to reassure Dr. Wollschlaeger and others that our company’s current compliance initiatives and outside oversight adequately ensure our ability to provide quality health care solutions to the Medicaid and Medicare populations of Florida.
WellCare today is a transformed company. WellCare acted swiftly upon learning of the wrongdoing in 2007, took action to separate the individuals involved more than four years ago, and cooperated fully with state and federal authorities in their investigations. WellCare also has its own pending litigation against the accused individuals.
Since 2007, we have made significant changes to the governance of our company. The Board of Directors instituted an independently-chartered Regulatory Compliance Committee chaired by WellCare director, former U.S. senator and Florida governor Bob Graham.
In addition, a new leadership team has been appointed, including a new chairman of the board, a new CEO, and other senior leaders. This new leadership team has set an exemplary “tone at the top” by emphasizing integrity, personal accountability, ethical business practices, regulatory compliance and transparency.
WellCare’s compliance focus is central to how it operates today. The company has enhanced its company-wide compliance program, which includes mandatory training in critical areas for all employees,clear reporting obligations, and channels for anonymous alerts, including a telephone hotline and secure, third-party website.
In addition, WellCare maintains a dedicated team of about 20 employees who investigate every issue or complaint – big or small – raised by employees, members, and providers.
As for external oversight, WellCare has been, and is today, subject to multiple levels of review, including by state and federal auditors, regulators and agencies. In addition, WellCare remains subject to a Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA), which requires us to maintain certain programs to help ensure ongoing compliance with state and federal health care requirements. As part of the CIA, WellCare has also retained an Independent Review Organization to review and verify the process by which we submit regulatory reports to state and federal agencies.
Additionally, WellCare and all health plans that serve government-sponsored health care programs are subject to regular quality assurance audits and reviews by state and federal regulators.
Thousands of Florida-based WellCare employees have worked very hard to build a new, rejuvenated WellCare. We are dedicated to serving our members and committed to helping our government customers provide quality, cost-effective health care solutions.
Today’s WellCare is defined by a new culture of integrity, ethical business practices, regulatory compliance and transparency, and we continue to work to demonstrate this to those who oversee our operations.
Vice President, Corporate Communications
WellCare Health Plans, Inc.