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Justine Griffin - Medical Reporter

Medical Reporter

I cover health and medicine for the Tampa Bay Times. That could be anything related to your health, from the evolution of health insurance to medical marijuana. I'm a native Floridian who grew up in Pasco County. Prior to covering health care, I was a business reporter writing about retail, tourism and other consumer topics. Before joining the Times in 2015, I worked for the St. Augustine Record, the Sun Sentinel and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, where I gained national attention for my retail coverage and for a long-form article I wrote about my experience as an egg donor. I'm a graduate of the University of Central Florida (Go Knights!), where I studied journalism. I'm also an equestrian. My horse's name is Mikey.

  1. Stephanie Vold, a medical assistant and intake specialist for OnMed, holds the door while Austin White, president and CEO of the company, talks with a nurse practitioner during a demonstration of their new telehealth system at Tampa General Hospital on Tuesday. The hospital is the first to deploy the OnMed station and plans to install them at other locations.
    The closet-size “office” with a life-size screen is another example of the changing face of medicine.
  2. A page from the Medicare Handbook focuses on Medicare Advantage plans, which have become increasingly popular in recent years. Medicare's open enrollment period for 2020 begins Oct. 15 and lasts through Dec. 7.
    New benefits are giving an extra boost to Medicare Advantage, the already popular alternative to traditional Medicare.
  3. The Medicare Handbook for 2020 is a good resource to have as the annual open enrollment period gets under way. The government usually mails beneficiaries a copy. Find a PDF version to print at medicare.gov/pub/medicare-you-handbook, or call 1-800-633-4227 (1-800-MEDICARE) to order a copy.
    The open enrollment period, which lasts into December, is a time for millions of beneficiaries to review, and possibly change, their coverage.
  4. Ana Martinez, a medical assistant at the Sea Mar Community Health Center in Seattle, gives a patient a flu shot. Some signs are already pointing to an active flu season in the Tampa Bay area. [TED S. WARREN   |   Associated Press]
    One area hospital has seen a sharp increase this month in children coming in with flu-like symptoms. Health officials are urging people to get a flu shot.
  5. William Lemoine, right, attends a followup appointment with his surgeon, Dr. Dilendra Weerasinghe. Lemoine, 71 of Port Charlotte, recently underwent surgery using an opioid-free anesthesia protocol at the Medical Center of Trinity in New Port Richey.
    At the Medical Center of Trinity, Dr. Dilendra Weerasinghe pioneers an opioid-free anesthesia blend that shortens recovery times.
  6. A new report by WalletHub ranks Florida 50th for its influenza vaccination rate in children, 49th for the number of adults who have been vaccinated for tetanus, and 46th for overall flu vaccination coverage among adults. Overall, it's the third least-vaccinated state in the country. [Times (2019)]
    Only Texas and Mississippi rank below the Sunshine State when it comes to vaccination rates.
  7. A team of physicians from the University of South Florida flew to Nassau, Bahamas, to aid in treating Hurricane Dorian evacuees. (Courtesy of USF)
    The university is responding to the tragedy as its own employee is affected.
  8. Northeast High senior Jacquez Welch, right, was part of a pregame ceremony presenting the jersey of former player Marquis Scott to his family.  Welch later collapsed during Friday's game and died of a rare condition. (Photo by Hans Hauss)
    Jacquez Welch had likely unknowingly lived with the condition his entire life.
  9. Erik Maltais took an unconventional path to becoming CEO of Immertec, a virtual reality company aimed at training physicians remotely. He dropped out of school as a teenager, served in Iraq in the Marine Corps and eventually found his way to Tampa.
    Software from Immertec can bring physicians into an operating room thousands of miles away.
  10. Homeowner Cheryl Murdoch, 59, explains the workings of the Philips Smart Mirror in her bathroom. Murdoch and her husband live in the Epperson neighborhood in Wesley Chapel, home of the Crystal Lagoon, where some residents are piloting new health technologies inside their homes.
    In Pasco’s Crystal Lagoon community, AdventHealth and Metro Development Group are testing in-home technology aimed at keeping people away from the hospital.