Times Staff Writers
TAMPA — The bass was thumping, the disco lights flashing when fatal gunfire erupted inside a packed Tampa strip club early Saturday.
The shooting at Club Rayne, 8123 N Nebraska Ave., left 21-year-old Marvin Lancaster of Brandon dead and eight others wounded. Their injuries ranged from minor to serious, Tampa police Lt. John Preyer said late Saturday....
Efforts to get medical marijuana to critically ill Floridians are once again stalled, this time because of legal wrangling that could take months to resolve.
A dozen nurseries are challenging the way Florida awarded licenses to grow and dispense the drug — and asking an administrative law judge to take a second look at the applications that were passed over.
The nurseries contend the Florida Department of Health flubbed the selection process and say the challenges are necessary to ensure only the best operations get the licenses. But some parents say they have already waited long enough to get the drug to their sick children....
Tampa Bay remained among the top regions in the nation for Obamacare sign-ups in 2016, according to figures released Thursday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
More than 284,000 local residents chose health insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act marketplace during the open enrollment period that ended Jan. 31. Only seven metropolitan areas in states using a federally run exchange enrolled more people: Miami, Atlanta, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, Orlando, Chicago and Philadelphia....
ST. PETERSBURG — Florida is in need of a few good nurses.
12,493, to be exact.
That's the number of vacant registered nursing positions across the state, according to a new report from the Florida Center for Nursing.
Nursing shortages have come and gone for decades. But there's reason to believe this one could be a prolonged problem. Observers are particularly troubled because the number of vacancies has increased more than 30 percent since 2013, according to the report. Compounding the problem, another 9,947 nursing positions are expected to be created in 2016....
TAMPA — Dustin Rogers was sure he had missed the deadline for enrolling in an Obamacare plan this year — until a patron in the Tampa bar where he works set him straight last week.
"The deadline isn't until Jan. 31," the barfly said between beers.
Rogers, 30, made it a point to attend an open enrollment event Wednesday at the University of South Florida. Signing up was a relief, he said, not only because he can now see a doctor, but because he won't have to pay the $695 tax penalty for not having coverage....
UPDATE: The proposal to streamline educational services for students who are hospitalized or home bound (HB 585) won the unanimous support of the Florida House late Wednesday. Its companion in the Senate (SB 806) is scheduled to be heard Thursday in the Education Appropriations Subcommittee.
Fifteen-year-old Horace Kinsler's eyes brightened when a Pinellas County teacher walked into the hospital's dialysis unit Monday morning....
Pinellas County health officials are asking parents at a Clearwater elementary school to keep any unvaccinated students home for three weeks after an outbreak of chicken pox there.
Eight children have come down with the illness at Plumb Elementary, marking another in a string of flareups that continue to frustrate public health officials nationally as they push the importance childhood vaccinations in the face of resistance from some parents....
CLEARWATER — Dr. Trinette Moss runs her family practice a little differently than most physicians.
Instead of taking insurance, she prefers cash, check or credit card.
Billing at her office works like this: Patients between 18 and 49 years old pay $60 a month. The fee covers unlimited office visits, urgent care services and an annual physical. It costs $15 a month to add a child....
If you haven't had the flu this season, consider this your warning.
You aren't in the clear just yet.
The annual flu season — that oh-so-wonderful time of year that leaves millions sneezing, coughing and feeling lousy — is off to a late start, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But experts expect activity to pick up in coming weeks, especially given the recent cool snap. ...
Gary Thompson pays $550 a month for a health insurance plan that covers him and his wife.
The monthly bill strains the Tampa couple's finances. He works in cabinet design and sales. She is a hair stylist. Together, they make about $65,000.
But here's what really gets him: With the exception of a few basic services, the plan won't pay any of Thompson's claims until he has spent at least $6,500 on health care. His wife also has a $6,500 deductible....
NEW PORT RICHEY — Angela Babson knew something was seriously wrong when her toddler's face turned gray.
Terrified the boy couldn't breathe, she rushed him to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. The doctors there agreed the situation was dire. They put him on a helicopter to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.
James Babson, 3, would need surgery to remove growths on his vocal chords that were blocking his airway. The diagnosis: recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, a rare disease caused by HPV....
LARGO — When Ulyee Choe was a kid, fate brought his family from Kuwait City to Clearwater Beach.
His father, a South Korean entrepreneur, was mulling new business opportunities and decided to buy the Glass House Motel.
"I remember on the weekends as a teenager, I would work the desk and do the maintenance," Choe recalled. "It wasn't as glamorous as you would picture."
So, when Choe, 36, was selected to lead the state Department of Health's office in Pinellas County in August, it was more than just a promotion. It was a homecoming....
President Barack Obama has a new "moon shot" — and a Tampa Bay area hospital is poised to play a central role.
In one of the most memorable moments of his final State of the Union address Tuesday, Obama announced a new national effort to eradicate cancer.
"For the loved ones we've all lost, for the families that we can still save, let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for all," he said to thunderous applause....
One day after an audit blasted the Veteran's Affairs office in St. Petersburg for allegedly leaving veterans' personal information vulnerable to identity theft, elected officials from Florida called on the department's top official in Washington to remedy the problem.
In a letter sent Thursday to Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor said the issue of privacy at the VA has "tormented many of my friends and neighbors in Tampa Bay."...
The Medicaid expansion debate that paralyzed the 2015 legislative session isn't likely to resume when lawmakers return to Tallahassee this week.
But that doesn't mean health care will be on the back burner in 2016.
The issue will play a central role in the budget negotiations, largely because lawmakers must decide whether to backfill $400 million in federal cuts to a program that helps hospitals pay for charity care....