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Kathleen McGrory, Times Staff Writer

Kathleen McGrory

Kathleen McGrory is a health and medicine reporter at the Tampa Bay Times. Before joining the newspaper in 2015, she spent seven years as a metro reporter for the Miami Herald and two years as a government reporter in the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald Tallahassee Bureau. She speaks Spanish and holds degrees from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Phone: (727) 893-8330

Email: kmcgrory@tampabay.com

Twitter: @kmcgrory

 

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  1. Amid FDA talks, e-cigarette industry braces for change

    Health

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tyler Davis took a long drag on his e-cigarette and contemplated the sweet flavor that filled his lungs.

    "It tastes like Froot Loops," the 19-year-old said, sounding like a wine connoisseur identifying the notes in a fine Cabernet Sauvignon. "Or Lucky Charms."

    Davis makes weekly visits to City Vapor and E-Cig in St. Petersburg to sample the latest flavors of liquid nicotine. He vapes partly because of the low cost and partly because of the variety of flavors....

    Todd Evans picks out a flavor of liquid nicotine for a customer at his City Vapor and E-Cig shop in St. Petersburg. He says he’ll watch the FDA closely to prepare for any possible regulations.
  2. Fight looms over practice that forces patients to wait for better prescription drugs

    Health

    There were days Terri Eggeman didn't want to get out of bed.

    Her back was too sore, her knees too stiff.

    It was no surprise her prescription medication wasn't working. Her doctor had said it probably wouldn't. But before her health insurer would approve the more expensive drug her doctor preferred, Eggeman had to prove this one wasn't enough.

    The process took five months.

    "I still had a lot of pain," said Eggeman, a 58-year-old nurse from Valrico who suffers from psoriatic arthritis....

    Terri Eggeman, at her home in Valrico on Thursday, suffers from psoriatic arthritis and uses a medication called Enbrel. Before her insurer, Tricare, would cover the drug that eventually helped her, she had to try a cheaper option and prove it didn’t work.
  3. Citing video, Gov. Rick Scott calls for investigation into Planned Parenthood

    Politics

    Amid a growing controversy over the alleged sale of fetal tissue, Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday called for an investigation into Florida's 16 Planned Parenthood offices that perform abortions.

    The investigation comes two weeks after the release of an undercover video in which a Planned Parenthood official in California discusses the use of fetal organs for medical research. The anti-abortion group that took the video says it is proof that Planned Parenthood sells human tissue....

    Republican Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday called for an investigation into Florida’s 16 Planned Parenthood offices. [AP photo]
  4. St. Petersburg hospital fares poorly in national infection ratings

    Health

    St. Petersburg General Hospital is among the nation's least effective hospitals at preventing infections, according to ratings released today by the magazine Consumer Reports.

    The magazine evaluated more than 3,000 hospitals based on their performance in avoiding MRSA and clostridium difficile, two types of bacteria that can lead to fatal infections. Consumer Reports also examined data on central-line associated blood stream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections and surgical-site infections....

    Register nurse Jelena Vujovic washes her hands in Patient Tower 2 at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
  5. New therapy attacks allergies from the source

    Health

    SARASOTA — Lily Scalabrin knows a single peanut could send her to the hospital.

    At 10 years old, she has learned to read food labels and ask about ingredients. She doesn't share snacks at Tampa Palms Elementary. She brings her own cookies for classroom celebrations.

    Yet, on this July afternoon, Lily waits in a Sarasota doctor's office for the very food she has been trained to avoid....

    Mark Scalabrin, Tampa, talks about his daughter's peanut allergy during a doctor's visit July 21in Sarasota.  Scalabrin and his wife discovered the allergy when their daughter was 1-year-old. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  6. Health plans serving Florida's poor seek higher rates

    Health

    The private health plans that cover Florida's poorest residents are seeking more money from the state.

    The plans say they need a 12 percent rate increase to offset the rising cost of prescription drugs and an uptick in doctor's visits.

    But state officials have been reluctant to approve the rate increase, which could wipe out any savings Florida stands to gain from privatizing Medicaid in 2014....

    In a scathing letter to the health plans sent Friday, state Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Elizabeth Dudek said some of the plans had been paying hospitals more than is legally allowed. [SCOTT KEELER | Times (2012)]
  7. For color-blind patients, a new colorful existence

    Medicine

    DUNEDIN — Chris Walls looked disbelievingly at the eyeglasses in his hand.

    Could these unusual pink lenses actually help him see colors he had never seen?

    "Go ahead," said his optometrist, Dr. Ed Huggett, motioning toward the door of the Dunedin eye clinic. "Take them outside."

    For as long as he could remember, the 48-year-old Walls had lived in a world where reds and greens were dull and gray. He learned little tricks to get by, like memorizing the position of each color on the traffic light. Still, he always wondered what it would be like to see shades of scarlet, or differentiate between moss and mint....

    Christopher Walls, 48, said that being color-blind had never stopped him from doing anything until he applied for a job in December and failed a physical exam.
  8. Health care pricing in Florida remains murky

    Health

    When Maxxzandra Ford's baby boy arrived in February, a number of unexpected hospital bills arrived with him.

    "They don't tell you how much the anesthesiologist is going to cost," said Ford, who gave birth at St. Joseph's Women's Hospital in Tampa. "If you get an epidural or pain medicine, there's an extra charge there."

    There were other surprise charges from doctors along the way, like $250 for each ultrasound....

  9. Humana reaches agreement with HCA, Florida Hospital system

    Health

    Tampa Bay residents with Humana health insurance plans won't have to find new hospitals after all.

    The insurance company had notified its 1.5 million Florida customers that the contract with Hospital Corporation of America was expiring, meaning HCA hospitals would no longer be "in-network."

    But the two companies reached consensus on a new two-year contract, Humana announced late Thursday....

  10. Will an Aetna-Humana merger bring higher premiums?

    Health

    The announcement that health insurance giant Aetna would acquire fellow health insurance giant Humana had industry analysts buzzing this month.

    But what does the news mean for consumers?

    There's evidence to suggest that rates rise when insurance companies consolidate.

    A study published in the July 2013 issue of Health Management, Policy and Innovation found that the 2008 merger between UnitedHealth Group and Sierra Health Services caused health insurance premiums in Nevada markets to spike by nearly 14 percent....

  11. Tampa diet supplement firm pays $1.4 million settlement over 'brain power' pill claims

    Health

    For $79 a bottle, the Tampa-based distributors of a dietary supplement called Procera AVH promised to reverse memory loss.

    "If you have ever dreamed of traveling back in time, this drug-free compound may be the next best thing," one print advertisement trumpeted.

    The claims drew many skeptics — including the Federal Trade Commission, which accused KeyView Labs of deceptive business practices in a complaint filed last week....

  12. A device deploys, a life is saved: New strategy to treat stroke goes right at the problem

    Medicine

    TAMPA — The thick clump of platelets blocking blood flow to Rosemary Marcario's brain wouldn't budge.

    Doctors at Florida Hospital Tampa had tried dissolving it with a strong dose of blood thinners, but it was too large, too stubborn.

    Now the team stood poised to try something more complicated: Dr. James Lefler would insert a small, web-like device through an artery in her groin, thread it all the way to her brain, and try to snag the clot. ...

    Steve Wells,  left, of Odessa hands his father-in-law, Larry Marcario, roses for his mother-in-law, Rosemary Marcario, as she recovers from a mechanical thrombectomy  procedure at Florida Hospital Tampa Tuesday. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  13. Genetic study leads to an intriguing question: Do blue eyes make you a drinker?

    Health

    As she polished off a pina colada at a St. Petersburg tiki bar called the Getaway, Shay Anthony pondered whether her striking blue-green eyes had anything to do with her social drinking habits.

    "It's a bizarre question," she said, glancing at her hazel-eyed boyfriend, Brandon Baker. "I've never really thought about it."

    She paused.

    "So I have an excuse if I'm an alcoholic?"

    The question arose on the heels of a widely read study suggesting a link between eye color and alcohol dependence. Its conversation-sparking conclusion: People with baby blues are more likely to be excessive drinkers than people with darker eyes....

    “It’s a bizarre question. I’ve never really thought about it.”
Shay Anthony, at the Getaway bar in St. Petersburg  with her boyfriend, Brandon Baker, both of Clearwater
  14. Multiple factors at work as many brace for higher health insurance premiums in 2016

    Health

    The Affordable Care Act has weathered its share of punches in recent weeks, including a Supreme Court challenge that could have led to its unraveling.

    Its next bout could hit consumers in the pocketbook.

    In Florida, several big-name insurance providers — including Aetna, Cigna, Coventry and United Healthcare — have already proposed double-digit rate increases for individual health insurance plans, federal records show. ...

  15. Scott veto of money to free clinics decried as another blow to poor, uninsured Floridians

    Health

    CLEARWATER — As patients streamed into the Clearwater Free Clinic with a range of medical concerns Tuesday, clinic administrators were contemplating an altogether different problem: the sudden appearance of a $100,000 hole in their $950,000 operating budget.

    Cutting staff is not an option, executive director Jeannie Shapiro said. Neither is cutting programs.

    "We're going to have to find (more) funding," Shapiro said....

    Richard Tracy, 64, of Crystal Beach is examined by Nurse Practitioner Jan Humphreys at the Clearwater Free Clinic, Tuesday. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]