TAMPA — A contractor fell to his death Monday from a catwalk at a Tampa Electric Co. power plant, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.
Bryan Hagan, 31, of Mulberry, who worked for the Southeastern Construction and Maintenance Co., fell through a metal grate on the catwalk in the 1:15 p.m. accident at the Bayside Power Station, according to the Sheriff's Office and a TECO spokeswoman....
TAMPA — The second whistle-blower complaint in a month about the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center's gastroenterology clinic also accuses the facility of canceling more than 1,000 consultation referrals to the clinic last year without checking to see whether patients had a legitimate or urgent need to be seen by a doctor.
The anonymous complaint, faxed to the VA's Office of Inspector General on July 2, says gastrointestinal physicians at the Seminole hospital did not have a chance to review the cases before the cancellations and apparently had no input in the decision....
The state's lawsuit seeking the right to inspect Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals makes several startling claims about the care veteran Roland "Dale" Dickerson received at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center.
The suit says the Young VA told Dickerson that a heart procedure showed he had a minimal narrowing of his coronary arteries when, in fact, he had a 69 percent blockage. That Dickerson had to get costly private health insurance to pay for heart surgery at a non-VA hospital. That he tried unsuccessfully to get the surgery at St. Petersburg General Hospital but was rejected because of the poor care he got at the VA....
Attention, veterans: Ignore your 2014 Department of Veterans Affairs calendar.
Independence Day does not fall on July 3 this year.
About 357,000 VA calendars given to veterans across most of Florida, southern Georgia and Puerto Rico mistakenly label Thursday, July 3, as Independence Day and remind veterans that VA outpatient clinics are closed today for the holiday.
Apologies to the Founding Fathers. The Fourth of July still falls on July 4. So VA clinics actually will be closed Friday, not today....
SEMINOLE — More than 1,000 appointments to the gastrointestinal clinic at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center were canceled in the past three years to make the facility's numbers look better, according to a recent whistle-blower complaint.
The complaint, which appears intended for the Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general, said the outpatient cancellations in the past "one to three years" were ordered by a senior hospital leader "to make the numbers look good."...
The computer scheduling program created in 2002 was supposed to allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to identify veterans who had waited the longest for medical care.
Officials called it the Electronic Wait List, or EWL. VA employees were told to put new patients with severe medical disabilities linked to their military service on the list after they had waited more than 30 days for an appointment. That way, these veterans could be identified for faster medical care....
TAMPA — These high school students are the high achievers who rarely, if ever, miss school. They are the problem solvers, the future engineers or doctors with the smarts to do anything.
But do they know how to open a car door?
Toyota of Tampa Bay wasn't planning on giving away two cars again this year.
More than 350 Hillsborough graduates participated in the fourth annual "Perfect Car for Perfect Attendance" giveaway at the Fletcher Avenue dealership. All qualified to win a 2014 Scion XB worth nearly $19,000 by having had perfect attendance in the first or second semester of the last school year....
TAMPA — At the behest of Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration sued the Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday so its inspectors can gain access to Florida's veterans hospitals.
The lawsuit accuses the VA of providing substandard medical care to two Tampa Bay veterans, the only patients named in the suit, whose treatment failed to meet the "minimum standards of patient safety."...
TAMPA — It might have reminded Al Austin of a political convention had he been alive to witness it. Governors and mayors and politicians of every stripe gathered under one roof, even a Democrat or two.
This was Austin's kind of crowd.
Several hundred people gathered at a memorial service Saturday at the Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church in South Tampa to mark the passing of Austin, a Tampa developer and civic leader who died May 22 in his sleep of an apparent heart attack. He was 85....
SEMINOLE — The C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center uses what employees call "virtual calendars" to make it appear patients are seen by doctors more quickly than is true, according to testimony and documents filed in a 2009 federal lawsuit.
Plaintiffs said the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital essentially had two sets of books, one with inaccurate numbers on how long patients wait for an appointment and another — the virtual calendars — showing the actual time. ...
05/28/14 State Roundup
Florida will sue the Department of Veterans Affairs because the agency is "stonewalling" state health care inspectors who have been denied access to veterans hospitals, Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday.
The announcement sets up a legal fight between Florida officials who say they need access to VA facilities and records to protect veterans and VA leaders who insist that no state has oversight of federal hospitals....
They gathered to celebrate life, not to dwell on death. So they talked about memories of a 9-year-old girl with an easy smile, a mischievous laugh and the talent of making herself unforgettable.
They did not want to mark her passing with talk of the kind of unfathomable evil that would have taken third-grader Felecia Williams from her family.
So on Saturday, they tempered tears with happy memories of a girl whose family called her Sugar Plum....
ST. PETERSBURG — Navy veteran Horace J. Lalley suffered urinary tract problems for years with symptoms he regularly reported to doctors at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center.
Blood in his urine. A burning sensation and pain when he went to the bathroom. Frequent urination at night.
The diagnosis again and again: urinary tract infection. But doctors were wrong. In fact, a malignancy was growing in Lalley's bladder....
TAMPA — The streets are going to be crawling with commandos.
Two special operations conferences are being held simultaneously at the Tampa Convention Center Tuesday through Thursday, reinforcing Tampa Bay's emerging identity as the place where special operations units come to work and mingle.
The Special Operations Forces Industry Conference is joining with the International Special Forces Conference, which is hosted by U.S. Special Operations Command, whose headquarters is at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa....
05/17/14 Public Safety
TEMPLE TERRACE — A little body found in the rocks and mangroves on the Pinellas County side of Tampa Bay on Saturday afternoon is likely that of a 9-year-old Tampa girl who disappeared a day earlier from a Temple Terrace apartment, authorities said.
Temple Terrace police said they were "following several leads" in the death of Felecia Nicole Williams. An autopsy is planned for today....