A Sarasota prostate cancer specialist is in trouble with state health officials for doing a procedure in Mexico that hasn't been approved in the United States. Is he a danger to patients, or just ahead of his time?

Dropping Doctors: About Quality or Profits?

Dec 13, 2013

Ever since United started sending out letters to doctors, telling them they won’t be on United’s Medicare network next year, it’s been a big story.  

Here it is on Fox: “United Health, which is one of the largest health-care providers in this country, has dropped thousands of doctors from their insurance plan. The reason? Obamacare.”

WINK TV, the CBS affiliate in Fort Myers, offered a different view: “New at 6, there’s a big change coming to some United Healthcare subscribers, and it has nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act.”

So who’s right? Did the health law trigger all this? Not really, says John Petrila, chairman of Health Policy & Management at University of South Florida. He says the narrowing of doctor networks isn’t new.

Jeff Milner via Flickr

Opponents of legalization say the potential consequences outweigh the benefits. Dr. Christopher Lariche is a psychiatrist specializing in addiction.

"I look at it more from the level of patients - an increase of addictive disorders, and a decreased price of marijuana and more availability", Lariche said.

Medical marijuana is still illegal under federal law. However, D.C and 21 states have laws legalizing the drug in some form. Supporters of legalization in Florida argue that marijuana has important medical benefits. via Flickr

Baby boomers are getting older – and so are primary-care doctors and nurses – as Florida's population continues to grow. The combination could be a problem for the state health-care system during the next two decades.

Many younger physicians are opting for more lucrative careers as specialists rather than as traditional family doctors. The physician shortage is most acute in Florida's rural areas and inner cities.

So on Friday, the Agency for Healthcare Administration joined Florida State University’s College of Medicine in touting eighty-million dollars of state funding to expand family-practice training programs statewide.

There’s good news for some veterans returning to Florida from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The state is waiving licensure fees for vets who want to become doctors, nurses, physical therapists, or work in other health-care-related fields.

The vets will still need to take all their coursework to be licensed in Florida, but they won’t have to pay the costs to be professionally licensed in the state.

Marty Stubblefield of the Department of Health says veterans have many skills employers are looking for in health-related jobs.