Journalistic Writings, Two

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

VA Evacuation Halted, Lack of Ambulances, Disagreement Sited

Up to 30 patients who were scheduled for evacuation from the C.W. Bill Young V.A. Medical Center prior to Hurricane Irma were not moved due to a disagreement between the medical center and Pinellas County officials.

While Young medical center officials claim that the county "promised ambulances that never arrived," county officials disagree, saying that while some patients were moved, patients could not be moved to facilities that the VA wanted the patients moved to, according to the Tampa Bay Times ("Hurricane Evacuations Halted for Lack of Ambulances at VA' Young Center"). County officials claim that Young officials requested patients be moved to facilities in Gainesville and Lake City.

In all, 110 patients and 56 staff members were moved to other locations, with 96 patients and 400 staff members remained behind.

Of the patients who needed to be evacuated, 30 were left behind due to a lack of ambulances, according to the article.

To read the article in its entirety, check out "Hurricane Evacuations Halted for Lack of Ambulances at VA' Young Center".

Thursday, July 13, 2017

FDA Panel: "Living Drug" Approval Recommened For Leukemia Treatment

A Food and Drug Administration panel unanimously recommended approval for a treatment that "genetically alters a patient's own cells to fight leukemia," turning them into what is being called "a living drug" to help stop the disease, according to The New York Times ("F.D.A. Panel Recommends Approval for Gene-Altering Leukemia Treatment"). The recommendation came down Wednesday and is likely to be accepted by the F.D.A.

The treatment, which will be the "the first gene therapy ever to reach the market," is expected to be followed by other gene therapies. Novartis is expected to be the first to drug company to market a "living drug" with its treatment for a type of leukemia. Drug companies and researchers "have been engaged in intense competition for decades to reach this milestone."

To read the Times article in its entirety, click here.

Sen. Marco Rubio Supports Bare-Bones Health Care

A just-released GOP health care bill that would "allow insurers to sell bare-bones policies that do not meet standards of the Affordable Care Act" has the support of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

In a Facebook Live address, Rubio said that “People should have the right to buy the kind of insurance they want at a price they can afford. Not everyone wants or needs the same kind of insurance,” according to The Tampa Bay Times ("Rubio on board with plan to offer bare-bones health care policies"). Rubio added, “Why can’t you just insure against a serious illness or a bad accident but allow primary care or something else to either be covered by a separate but limited policy or through a health savings account or if you have enough money, out of pocket.”

Click here to read the Times blog post in its entirety.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Medicaid Cuts to Adversely Affect Fla. Hospitals

In a decision that will adversely affect many of Florida's hospitals, state lawmakers decided Thursday "to cut $521 million from hospitals." Nearly one-fifth of those hospitals affected are in the Tampa Bay area.

According to Tampa Bay Times ("Lawmakers are cutting $92 million from Medicaid in Tampa Bay. Which hospitals are hardest hit?"), the cuts will "mostly impact the facilities that take on the largest number of Medicaid patients, including the state’s safety net hospitals." Under this plan, hospitals in the Tampa Bay area will lose $91.7 million.

This plan is expected to pass the state House and Senate today.

To read the article in its entirety, including the list of hospitals (which includes Tampa General, All Children's, Bayfront Health-St. Petersburg, and Moffitt Cancer Center), click here.

Friday, March 31, 2017

NC 'Bathroom Bill' Reset Leads to Uncertainty

Negotiations to overturn North Carolina's "bathroom bill" Friday have given way to uncertainty. According to a report by the Associated Press, while House Bill 142, titled "An Act to Reset," was signed by Gov. Roy Cooper on Thursday, critics say that this is not "a true repeal" of the law created by House Bill 2. Critics say that "it still exposes gay and transgender people to discrimination."

To read the AP article, which gives also gives background on the law, in its entirety, check "North Carolina Future Uncertain After 'Bathroom Bill' Reset."

Trump U. Settlement: $25 Million

A judge has approved an agreement that would settle lawsuits over President Donald Trump's now-defunct Trump University to the tune of $25 million. The agreement ends "nearly seven years of legal battles with customers who claimed they were misled by failed promises" of learning real estate success, the Associated Press reports.

According to the AP, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel's ruling on Friday will settle two class-action lawsuits, as well as a civil lawsuit. Under the settlement's terms, Trump admit no wrongdoing.

Curiel, an Indiana-born judge, was repeated assailed by Trump, who insinuated that the "judge's Mexican heritage exoposed a bias."

Two former students objected to the settlement.

To read the article in its entirety, check "Judge Approves $25 Million Trump University Settlement."

Thursday, January 26, 2017

FL DCF Under-Performing in Foster Kids' Help

The Florida Department of Children and Families has been given 90 days to figure out how to improve care for foster kids after a study by a federal agency found it "underperforming in critical areas."

The Tampa Bay Times reported that a study "compiled by the Children's Bureau", titled "Children and Family Service Review", found in more than half of the 80 foster care cases handled by DCF from April 1 to September 30, children were removed "from homes without first providing appropriate services and were lax in following safety plans."

The Children's Bureau, which rated DCF's performance as "needing improvement in 11 of 14 categories," is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.