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. Community Health opens toll-free line for patients who might be data breach victims


    ST. PETERSBURG — Patients at Bayfront Health System's clinics still don't know if their personal information, including Social Security numbers, was stolen during a massive cyberattack on Community Health System, Bayfront's parent company. But local clinics are referring patients to a toll-free number set up by Community.

    That number is 1-855-205-6951.

    On Wednesday, the line consisted of several pre-recorded messages about the cyberattack, thought to have occurred in April and June, affecting 4.5 million patients nationwide. Patients are told they will be notified by letter if their information was compromised. They will also be offered free identity theft protection. Vulnerable patients include those who saw or were referred to a clinic doctor up to five years ago, the company has said....

  2. Community Health System data breach hits millions, possibly including Bayfront clinic patients


    The parent company of Bayfront Health St. Petersburg says criminal cyberattackers stole Social Security numbers and other information of about 4.5 million patients treated by its affiliated physician groups.

    Tennessee-based Community Health Systems — which also owns Bayfront Health Spring Hill, Bayfront Health Brooksville and Bayfront Health Dade City — said Monday that no medical or credit card records were taken in the attack, which may have happened in April and June. But Community said the attack did bypass its security systems to take patient names, addresses, birth dates, and telephone and Social Security numbers....

    Community Health Systems, which owns Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, said cyberattackers stole Social Security numbers and other information of about 4.5 million patients treated by its affiliated physician groups but no medical or credit card records were taken.
  3. Having a heart attack? HCA hospitals hope you'll think of them


    Having a heart attack in Pinellas County? HCA Healthcare, the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain, is making a pitch it hopes you'll remember in a time of emergency.

    "Make the seconds count," the company's west Florida division says in a recent mailing to households. "Call 911 and ask EMS to take you to an HCA Pinellas County Hospital."

    Marketing emergency departments can be a tricky strategy, but it's one that HCA has embraced perhaps more than any other Tampa Bay area hospital group....

    HCA says it just wants to let residents know its five Pinellas hospitals are equipped to handle the deadliest heart attacks.
  4. USF considering new locations, including downtown Tampa, for medical school


    TAMPA — University of South Florida's health programs are, as the new medical school dean puts it, "bursting at the seams."

    So that leaves USF Health with a big decision: Will it expand on its current campus or move to downtown Tampa?

    "We're looking at all the options," Dr. Charles Lockwood, USF's medical school dean, said in a recent meeting with the Tampa Bay Times editorial board....

    Dr. Charles Lockwood, USF’s medical school dean, says he’s neutral on the location.
  5. Coalition launches campaign to get kids vaccinated against HPV


    TAMPA — Parents soon may see back-to-school checklists that include not only backpacks and notebooks but also vaccinations to prevent the cancer-causing human papillomavirus.

    The HPV Action and Awareness Coalition, led by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, and University of South Florida officials Tuesday unveiled a local public health campaign aimed at increasing the state's lagging immunization rate....

  6. Without Walls says it has settled debts and is moving to new Tampa location


    TAMPA — Hoping to emerge from bankruptcy, Without Walls International Church says it is close to selling its longtime home near Raymond James Stadium to a real estate developer.

    Attorneys for Without Walls said in a document filed in federal court Friday that a sales contract with the Richman Group closes Monday. The developer plans to pay $12.6 million and build multifamily apartment units on the W Columbus Drive property, said Leah Stewart, a development associate with Richman's West Palm Beach office....

    Without Walls International Church in Tampa, led by Randy White, was once one of the fastest-growing churches in the country. A real estate developer is buying the property.
  7. Young athletes need proper rest, variety of activities, experts say


    ST. PETERSBURG — Not long ago, Dr. Douglas Carlan prescribed several months of rest for a 13-year-old baseball pitcher with an overuse injury in his shoulder.

    The patient's father didn't like that plan. Why? The family had invested $100,000 in his son's travel team and scouts would be watching.

    Carlan, a St. Petersburg orthopedic surgeon, was dismayed but not entirely surprised at the reaction: It's part of the reason children and adolescents end up with overuse injuries in the first place....

  8. Hillsborough hospice group cuts 89 jobs


    TEMPLE TERRACE — The parent company of LifePath Hospice eliminated 89 jobs this week, citing declining government reimbursements, costly regulatory changes and uncertainty amid expected changes to the hospice payment system.

    The eliminated positions, 64 of which were filled and the rest vacant, were distributed across Chapters Health System and its affiliated companies, including LifePath and Good Shepherd Hospice, spokeswoman Jenna Paladino said....

  9. Sports journalist headlines conference on youth athletes


    ST. PETERSBURG — Six years ago in his bestselling book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell popularized what's known as the "10,000 hour rule" — the idea that it takes about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill.

    Young athletes, their coaches and parents took that to heart — dangerously so, sports writer David Epstein argues.

    Epstein, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and author of The Sports Gene, will be in St. Petersburg on Saturday to talk about why he calls 10,000 "the most dangerous number in sports."...

  10. Hospitals equip to serve severely obese patients


    TAMPA — When St. Joseph's Hospital unveiled its new emergency room in July, officials touted its modern additions, from bedside ultrasound machines to cellphone charging stations.

    But the new feature that says even more about American health care? A treatment room for obese patients, complete with a larger bed, floor-mounted commodes and scales and a lift that can hoist a person weighing nearly 1,000 pounds....

    St. Joseph’s Hospital physical therapist Vincent Villafranca demonstrates the Maxi Sky 1000, a ceiling-mounted lift system that can help transfer a patient weighing up to 1,000 pounds.
  11. Florida Medical Association members vote to support Medicaid expansion

    State Roundup

    For the first time, members of the Florida Medical Association have approved a resolution endorsing Medicaid expansion, a politically contentious issue that the group's leaders have generally avoided in the past two legislative sessions.

    But the FMA's full-throated support for expansion comes with a caveat: Medicaid reimbursement rates must be increased to attract more doctors to the program....

  12. Floridians to get $42 million in health insurance refunds


    More than 981,000 Floridians will get an average refund of $65 from their health insurers this summer because of the Affordable Care Act, federal officials announced today.

    The law's so-called "80/20" rule, also called the medical loss ratio, requires insurers in the individual and small group markets to spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on patient care and such activities as hospital discharge planning and nursing hotlines. Insurers in the large group markets, generally defined as those with more than 100 workers, must spend more on such services, 85 percent....

  13. With billions for Floridians at stake, courts issue dueling rulings on health care law


    About 931,000 Floridians could lose $4.8 billion in subsidies to buy health insurance if a federal appeals court decision Tuesday striking down a major part of President Barack Obama's signature health care law is upheld.

    The ruling in Halbig vs. Burwell by the U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit could mean premium increases for millions of Americans who rely on federally run insurance exchanges because their states would not create their own....

  14. She has insurance under Affordable Care Act, but can't find a doctor


    ST. PETERSBURG — Charlene Lake thought she got a decent deal through the Affordable Care Act marketplace: a Humana HMO that included a family doctor a few miles from her home.

    Five months later, Lake wonders if she can even use the insurance she bought.

    Her plan's dominant health care provider, JSA Medical Group, recently announced that it would take no new patients covered by Humana's exchange HMOs at least until fall. That leaves Lake no choice but to use the community health centers left in her plan's network, rather than the traditional physician's practice on which she planned....

    Charlene Lake has a Humana HMO, but no doctors are available on her plan until at least fall.
  15. Chikungunya virus spreads locally in Florida for first time


    The first cases of locally acquired chikungunya fever in the United States were reported Thursday in Florida: one in Miami-Dade County and the other in Palm Beach County, the Florida Department of Health announced.

    Chikungunya is a disease spread by bites from infected mosquitoes. If a person is infected and bitten by a mosquito, that mosquito could later spread the infection by biting another person. Chikungunya is not contagious from person to person, is typically not life-threatening and will likely resolve on its own, state officials said....