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Jodie Tillman, Times Staff Writer

Jodie Tillman

Jodie Tillman covers the health and medicine beat. She started at the Times in May 2006.

Phone: (813) 226-3374


Twitter: @JTillmanTimes

  1. Back to eggs and bacon? What new cholesterol guidelines mean to you


    The latest recommendation for the federal government to drop warnings about high cholesterol foods may strike many Americans as yet another flip-flop over what they should be eating.

    But how much would such a move alter the advice that registered dietitian Linda Delorey already gives patients at St. Anthony's Hospital?

    Delorey had to think for a few moments. Maybe she would lighten up about shrimp, which contains a lot of cholesterol?...

    Eggs are okay and a government advisory committee backs off strict limits for salt and cholesterol intake.
  2. Florida leads states in year two of marketplace enrollment


    More than 1.6 million Floridians enrolled in health insurance plans sold through the federal marketplace, a 600,000 increase over last year and the most of any state using

    At the end of open enrollment Sunday, about 11.4 million people nationwide had selected plans or were automatically re-enrolled, including about 8.6 million people in states like Florida that use the federal marketplace and 2.8 million in state-based marketplaces....

  3. After USF failure in the Villages, top official finds job there


    By Jodie Tillman

    Times Staff Writer

    TAMPA — University of South Florida officials had envisioned the multimillion-dollar medical center 80 miles away in the Villages retirement community as a bold expression of the medical school's wider ambitions.

    But so few patients turned up for care that the university last summer abandoned its work at the clinic and turned over millions of dollars in assets to the for-profit Villages Health System. Now the failure has created a job opportunity for a former USF official, which is worrying some university leaders....

    Dr. Stephen Klasko led USF’s project in the Villages.
  4. As nutrition supplements draw scrutiny, consumers are on their own


    For years consumers have dealt with conflicting reports about the effectiveness of such nutritional supplements as fish oil, saw palmetto and St. John's wort.

    But a recent investigation by the New York state Attorney General's Office highlights a more basic question facing the public: Do the supplements contain what their labels say they do?

    Last week, New York authorities accused four major retailers — GNC, Target, Walgreen's and Walmart — of selling fraudulent herbal products, all of them popular store brands. Ginseng pills that were examined contained only powdered garlic and rice. Ginkgo biloba, St. John's wort and valerian root tested negative for the herbs on their labels....

    Supplements get little oversight. Consumers should read labels and buy brands with few extra ingredients.
  5. Ex-USF professor Sami al-Arian deported to Turkey


    TAMPA — A former University of South Florida professor accused of aiding terrorists has been deported to Turkey, ending more than a decade of controversial litigation that first landed in the national spotlight amid growing tensions between civil liberties and national security.

    The federal government's prosecution of Sami Al-Arian even turned into a political issue during the 2004 U.S. Senate campaign, with the two candidates trading barbs about which of them had closer ties to the professor....

    Sami Al-Arian was released on bond in September 2008 and reunited with his family for the first time since 2003. 

 [Photo courtesy Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace]
  6. Tampa Bay region among nation's leaders in Obamacare enrollment


    The Tampa Bay region is one of the top metro areas in the nation when it comes to signing people up for private health plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

    Nearly 143,000 people in the Tampa-Clearwater-St. Petersburg area have picked 2015 plans through — the ninth most of nearly 60 regions with populations of at least 725,000, according to federal numbers released for the first time Wednesday. The list contains only major metro regions in the three dozen states such as Florida that did not set up their own insurance marketplaces....

    Nearly 143,000 people in the Tampa-Clearwater-St. Petersburg area have picked 2015 plans through
  7. Investigators seek answers to fire at historic Tampa church (w/video)


    TAMPA — Investigators are trying to determine what sparked a fire Monday that gutted a historic Tampa church led by the Rev. Henry Lyons, a once-prominent bay area pastor who rebuilt his career there following a four-year prison stint.

    A deacon at the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church arrived about 6:30 a.m. and found smoke coming from the two-story building at 405 N Oregon Ave., a few blocks west of the University of Tampa. After a call to 911, firefighters arrived to find flames shooting 30 feet through the roof....

    About 40 to 45 firefighters were needed Monday morning to douse the blaze at the Rev. Henry Lyons’ New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Tampa. The fire caused $400,000 in damage.
  8. Tampa stem cell clinic is long on promises, not evidence


    TAMPA — Dr. Burton Feinerman has spent more than a decade using stem cell therapies that are banned in the United States, sending desperate families to Peru seeking treatments for their babies' terminal conditions like Tay-Sachs disease.

    The therapies are costly and unproven, and no insurer will cover them. But there is no law against a U.S. doctor recommending them, as long as they aren't performed here....

    Dr. Burton Feinerman is medical director of the Tampa-based Lung Institute. He says his stem cell therapies can benefit chronic lung diseases.
  9. As measles spreads, concern over unvaccinated children does, too


    TAMPA — If parents refuse to vaccinate their children, Dr. Marcy Solomon Baker politely asks them to find a new pediatrician. She doesn't want their children sitting in the waiting room and putting infants and very sick patients at risk.

    Amid the recent measles outbreak, Baker, who works for BayCare Medical Group, has been hearing from parents who want reassurance that the policy is still in place....

    Dr. Marcy Solomon Baker examines Michelle Santacreu, 16, Friday in Tampa. Baker requires that patients be vaccinated.
  10. Tampa Bay business groups and political leaders push for Medicaid expansion


    ST. PETERSBURG — Though Florida's House speaker appeared Wednesday to squash Medicaid expansion for a third year in a row, supporters of a new plan to extend health coverage to the working poor say they believe events are lining up in their favor.

    Bruce Rueben, president of the Florida Hospital Association, noted at the Bay Area Mayors Conference on Wednesday that the business community, including the powerful Florida Chamber of Commerce, has now mobilized to support covering nearly 800,000 uninsured adults....

  11. Former Plant High student tests positive for tuberculosis


    TAMPA — A former Plant High School student has tested positive for tuberculosis, a potentially fatal disease caused by bacteria that attack the lungs.

    The Florida Department of Health received notice of the confirmed TB case on Jan. 22. Department spokesman Steve Huard said the student had already left the school district, though he did not know on what date, and he wouldn't say where the student moved. A school district spokesman could not offer additional details about the student's time at Plant High....

  12. Health officials: HPV vaccine is about stopping cancer, not promoting sex


    TAMPA — Nine years ago, the federal government approved a medical breakthrough: a vaccine for adolescents that blocks a common, cancer-causing virus.

    But selling the public on the vaccine has been tough, say health officials, mostly because the virus is sexually transmitted and many parents think inoculating their kids is tantamount to approving teen sex.

    It's time to try a new sales pitch, said national health leaders gathered at Moffitt Cancer Center on Thursday for a major conference on HPV, or human papillomavirus....

  13. Tampa General, Florida Hospital form new company to offer wider range of care


    TAMPA — Tampa General Hospital and Florida Hospital are teaming up to build a $60 million outpatient center in Brandon, launch a home care agency and create a hospice program. Their jointly owned partnership, called West Florida Health, is driven by a changing health care economy that favors big systems that can care for patients at all stages of sickness and health.

    Top officials from the two nonprofit hospitals provided for the first time Friday the details of their partnership, announced in September 2013....

    Tampa General Hospital, an independent nonprofit with 1,018 beds, is the primary teaching hospital for University of South Florida and serves as the region’s only Level 1 trauma center.
  14. Moffitt Cancer Center may build new hospital to cope with space crunch


    TAMPA — Moffitt Cancer Center officials are considering a plan to replace the pressed-for-space hospital with a new building that would be more than twice as tall.

    Most general hospitals are losing inpatient business as many procedures are increasingly done on an outpatient basis. But at Moffitt, inpatient admissions have kept going up, particularly for patients needing complicated surgeries and bone marrow transplants, said Jack Kolosky, Moffitt's chief operating officer....

    Hemmed in at its current location, Moffitt Cancer Center won’t be able to get additional hospital parcels from the University of South Florida, which has no land to give. So the main option under consideration is to tear down the old hospital and put a new, taller one in its place.
  15. Same-sex couples around Tampa Bay line up to get married and make history


    TAMPA — Before she presided over a mass wedding ceremony Tuesday, Hillsborough Clerk of Court Pat Frank asked the dozens of gay couples how many years they had waited for the moment.




    "Forty three!" said Frank. "Well, you have waited a long time."

    No longer. At that park in Tampa and across Florida, wedding bells rang for same-sex couples, the result of a successful court challenge to the state's 2008 ban on gay marriages....

    Couples line up outside the Hillsborough County Clerk’s Office to apply for marriage licenses Tuesday morning.  Hillsborough officials issued about 160 marriage licenses Tuesday. Pinellas County issued 67; Pasco, 25; and Hernando, 14.