Health News Florida

Katie Lepri / WLRN

We'd like to take a second to talk to you about poop.

Yeah, that's right.

Poop.

USDA.gov

The Florida Department of Health says a food service worker at Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens tested positive for hepatitis A. Customers who ate or drank there may have been exposed to the virus between May 1 and May 12.

DOH is encouraging diners who were at the restaurant between May 9 and May 12 to talk to a doctor and get a hepatitis A vaccine--it can be effective up to two weeks after exposure.

More from the DOH press release:

Needle Exchanges Find New Champions Among Republicans

May 9, 2019
Sammy Mack / WLRN News

Once repellent to conservative politicians, needle exchanges are now being endorsed and legalized in Republican-controlled states.

At least four legislatures have considered bills to allow hypodermic needle exchanges, and two states, Georgia and Idaho, made them legal this year. In each of these states, the House and Senate are controlled by Republicans and the governor is a Republican.

Sammy Mack

The state legislative session is over and the fate of a bill that would allow the expansion of needle exchanges throughout Florida is now up to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Infectious Disease Elimination Programs bill creates a legal mechanism for counties to authorize programs that swap clean syringes for dirty ones. Needle exchanges have been shown to reduce the spread of blood borne infections—like HIV and hepatitis C—among injection drug users.

The bill passed 111-3 in the Florida House and unanimously in the Florida Senate.

Hansel Tookes

The Florida Legislature has approved a bill that will allow the expansion of needle exchanges throughout Florida.

The Infectious Disease Elimination Programs bill—which passed a house vote on Wednesday and has already passed in the Florida Senate—creates a legal mechanism for counties to authorize programs that swap clean syringes for dirty ones. Needle exchanges have been shown to reduce the spread of blood borne infections—like HIV and hepatitis C—among intravenous drug users.

Courtesy Pedro Neves Marques and Galleria Umberto di Marino / PAMM

In a dark gallery at the Perez Art Museum Miami, two screens on opposite sides of the room play a pair of films on an alternating loop—one follows scientists working in a lab to create genetically modified mosquitoes, the other is a portrait of a polyamorous relationship that unfolds under the canopy of a Brazilian jungle.

Major Florida Medicaid Providers to Merge

Mar 28, 2019
Sira Anamwong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

News Service of Florida

Centene Corp. will acquire the Tampa-based WellCare Health Plans, Inc. in a $17.3 billion deal that will combine two of the biggest players in Florida’s Medicaid managed-care system, the companies announced Wednesday.

Centene does business in Florida as Sunshine Health, while WellCare’s Florida Medicaid business is Staywell Health Plan. The companies provide coverage in similar markets in the state. The deal, in part, would give Centene access to WellCare’s business in parts of the country such as Hawaii, Kentucky and New Jersey.

Supfroyd / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Florida Legislature increased Medicaid nursing home rates in the state budget by $138 million last year. But the one-time boost is slated to expire on June 30, and unless lawmakers agree to maintain the funding, Florida nursing homes will lose an average $300,000 per year.

In an effort to prevent the funding loss from occurring, AARP Florida is teaming up with the state’s two nursing home associations to lobby the Legislature to make the money recurring. The trio is branding itself the “Coalition for Silver Solutions.”

tawatchai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mental health providers in South Florida are stressing the need for more trauma awareness and suicide prevention resources following the apparent suicide deaths of two young survivors of last year's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

There's a proposal in Tallahassee right now that could make it easier for injection drug users to trade dirty needles for fresh ones -- preventing the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C.

A trial project in Miami Dade County is the only legal needle exchange in Florida. The bill would let the other counties to create something similar.

medical marijuana
Flick Creative Commons via Mark / WLRN

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried has been an outspoken advocate for medical marijuana her first two months in office.

Alexandria Friedlander / courtesy Luna Medina-Wolf

It's been exactly a year today since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and anniversaries can be particularly hard on survivors of trauma.

courtesy Leonor Muñoz

In May, we brought you the audio diary of Leonor Muñoz, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the class of 2018.

Leonor carried a recorder and documented life in the aftermath of the shooting—her activism, her trauma, her family.

 

Leonor's in college now. The recorder went with her. And she has this update on how she's doing—a year later.

 

FLICKR

Florida counts just 44 certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners or "SANE nurses," tasked with properly securing evidence from survivors of sexual assault.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in three women and one in six men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. Research shows response time is crucial when a sexual assault occurs, but in much of rural Florida, SANE nurses are hard to come by.

This post was updated at 3:18 p.m. on March 25, 2019. 

The aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School continues to ripple through the community around the school and beyond.

The journey to healing is unique for each person, but no one should have to walk that path alone.

WLRN has compiled a list of mental health resources to help. We will periodically update it. 

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