Inquiry finds insurers owe state $3.1m
Private health insurers overstated how much they spent on patient care and owe Florida health officials $3.1 million in refunds for a government children's health care program, according to a recent federal report. Under a joint state-federal program called the State Children's Health Insurance Program, Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration pays private insurers to provide health insurance for families who aren't eligible for Medicaid but can't afford private insurance. Insurance companies are required to spend at least 85 percent on medical services. If an insurer spends less, it must refund 50 percent of the shortfall to the state. But between 2003 and 2007, eight of roughly two dozen reports from private health insurers inaccurately reported how much was spent on patient costs and avoided paying state and federal health officials the difference, according to a report by the Health and Human Services Department's inspector general. The report recommends the state repay the federal government its share — $2 million — and increase oversight.
PORT ST. LUCIE
Florida soldier among 3 killed
Spc. Jordan C. Schumann, 24, of Port St. Lucie died Tuesday in Afghanistan's Paktia province when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device, the Defense Department said Tuesday. Staff Sgt. Joshua A. Throckmorton, 28, of Battle Creek, Mich., and Spc. Preston J. Suter, 22, of Sandy, Utah, also died in the attack. The soldiers were assigned to the 21st Theater Sustainment Command.
Panther's body found in grove
A Florida panther has been killed in a fight with another panther. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission panther team leader Darrell Land said the male panther was between 7 and 9 years old. Its carcass was found Wednesday by a citrus grove manager near Immokalee. So far this year, 18 panthers have been found dead, including four kittens killed in a wildfire in the Big Cypress National Preserve. The panther is an endangered species.
Agency failed turtles, court says
A U.S. District Court has ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service violated the law when it failed to adequately protect loggerhead sea turtles after last year's massive gulf oil spill. The court's ruling Tuesday noted that the federal agency admitted that the oil spill was an unprecedented event that resulted in adverse effects on sea turtles. The court also found that the federal agency failed to take a hard look at following a rule to protect loggerhead sea turtles in part of their gulf residence area. The conservation groups that filed the suit had previously sued the fisheries service to protect the threatened loggerhead turtle from long line fishing.
Ex-Rep. Foley has prostate cancer
Former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley will have his prostate removed after being diagnosed with cancer. Foley will have the surgery today in Orlando eight weeks after he learned the diagnosis. He said the disease has not spread. Foley, 56, of West Palm Beach, resigned from Congress in 2006 after it was discovered he had sent teenage male former pages explicit online messages.