07/08/17 Public Safety
Tina Partridge wasn't expecting to see her dad at the door. He was working a contract job at a Tampa power plant, but made the drive to Jacksonville to surprise his grandsons.
"The boys were thrilled," Partridge recalled.
She thought nothing of saying goodbye to him that night in 1999. He had spent his whole career in power plants, and long assured her the work was safe.
But days later, a giant fireball shot through Tampa Electric's Gannon Power Station in Hillsborough County, hurling heavy sections of the wall into the parking lot. Her father, Johnny Bass Sr., was killed at 52....
ST. PETERSBURG — Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, the city's largest and oldest hospital, has named a new chief executive.
Veteran health care administrator John McLain will assume Bayfront's top job on July 17. He replaces Kathryn Gillette, who is retiring....
Despite the uncertain fate of the Affordable Care Act, Florida Blue plans to offer individual health insurance plans in all 67 counties next year, the insurer told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday.
"It is consistent with our mission to help people in communities achieve better health," said the company's West Florida Region market president David Pizzo. "We don't stay only in certain counties that are profitable."...
ST. PETERSBURG — After four years at the helm of the city's largest hospital, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg chief executive officer Kathryn Gillette is retiring, she told the Tampa Bay Times.
Her last day will be in early August.
"This was the job that I wanted to end my career with," she said.
ST. PETERSBURG — UnitedHealthcare members can once again pay in-network rates at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, the hospital and the insurance company announced Thursday.
All Children's had been out of network since May, when contract negotiations between United and the hospital broke down. All Children's wanted United to pay more; United said All Children's was asking for too much....
ST. PETERSBURG — Christina and Michael Shreeve were stunned when they received two dozen letters from UnitedHealthcare, each listing a doctor at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital who would no longer be "in network."
As a practical matter, the letters mean the Shreeves will need to find new physicians, therapists and lab technicians for their 5-year-old son, who has a rare auto-inflammatory disease....
Times Staff Writer
Like most 12-year-old girls, Ra'Mya Eunice loved slumber parties.
She was at one on April 30, fast asleep, when a bullet blast through the wall, striking the side of her head.
Ra'Mya was rushed into surgery, her grandmother Terri Eunice said. But she lost most of her brain function, and had to be put on a ventilator.
Her parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings and cousins gathered in a Jacksonville hospital, hoping to spot signs of recovery. The blink of an eye. The wiggle of a finger....
05/17/17 Human Interest
ST. PETERSBURG — For decades, the bustling St. Petersburg Free Clinic has operated largely out of an old post office building.
That will soon change.
The clinic recently bought two buildings in Pinellas County, said executive director Beth Houghton. One will house its growing health center, which provides free medical services for low-income people who are uninsured. The other will house its expanded food bank....
05/05/17 State Roundup
TALLAHASSEE — State lawmakers have agreed to cut $91.7 million from Tampa Bay area hospitals under a budget the Legislature plans to pass early next week.
Statewide, the proposed hospital cuts total $521 million, all coming from "supplemental" money that state lawmakers put into the Medicaid program two years ago.
Cuts would be deepest at the hospitals that take the largest number of Medicaid patients....
ST. PETERSBURG — The state health department has denied Northside Hospital's application for a new trauma center.
The decision, finalized Monday, came days after a circuit court judge said the health department planned to give Northside the green light — and issued an order blocking the St. Petersburg hospital from moving forward....
ST. PETERSBURG — Resident trainees at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital went into the community last week to teach children, parents and teachers about the dangers of toxic stress.
Toxic stress occurs when children are abused or neglected, or exposed to violence, serious turmoil or economic hardship. In young kids, the repeated activation of the nervous system can have a lasting effect on the developing brain. In older children, it can increase the risk for disease....
Tracey Davis was stunned to learn her checking account was overdrawn Monday.
She was even more stunned to learn why.
Florida Blue had billed her May health insurance payment 21 times. The total charges topped $18,000.
"I was in compete disbelief," said Davis, who lives in Tampa and pays $877 a month for a health insurance plan that also covers her husband. "It was a good thing I was not drinking my coffee. I would have done a spit take on my monitor."...
ST. PETERSBURG — Northside Hospital can't immediately move forward with plans to open a trauma center, a circuit court judge ruled late Friday.
The hospital, located at 6000 49th St. N, intended to open a specialized center for critically injured patients on May 1. But it met a legal challenge from Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, which operates its own trauma center downtown and said having a competitor just a few miles away would siphon off patients and erode quality....
Wondering what's ahead for Zika?
This coming summer will likely look like last summer, when 1,100 travel-related cases were reported statewide, and the virus spread in small pockets of South Florida.
But there's a chance it could be worse.
"We are preparing for local transmission, and we are preparing for the worst-case scenario," said Dr. Beata Casanas, an infectious disease expert and associate professor at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine....
The first drug to treat an aggressive form of multiple sclerosis has won approval from the Food and Drug Administration, a significant medical development with ties to the Tampa Bay area.
Local patients helped test the safety and effectiveness of the drug in clinical trials at the University of South Florida's Multiple Sclerosis Center, said Dr. Derrick Robertson, the center's director.
"We were one of the top enrolling sites in the country for this medication," Robertson said. "We have lots of patients who have been part of the science that led to this drug getting approved."...