The Rewind: Week of Feb. 14, 2022


Every week, journalists at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications report important stories for people in the North Central Florida area and beyond. This is The Rewind from WUFT News, a look into some of the strongest reporting from our newsroom and a discussion with the journalists who write these stories.

This week, we tackle stories surrounding both statewide and local healthcare issues. First, we look at the opioid epidemic in north central Florida, then we discuss Alachua County’s response to mental conditions. Finally, we dive into how Florida failed to pay family health claims for nearly three months. 

Part 1: Community officials and organizers work to combat opioid epidemic in north central Florida

Ocala and Marion counties have programs in place to help reduce the number of opioid overdoses and deaths in their respective communities. Since 2018, the Ocala Police Department has responded to over 1,000 overdose incidents, resulting in the deaths of 139 Ocala residents. 

WUFT reporter Bryce Brown spoke to locals and law enforcement about how they are working to curb these overdoses and addictions. He explains what he learned and what it means for the community in this interview. 

Part 2: Alachua County looks to curb reliance on ER for mental conditions

Recommendations made Friday by the Healthcare Advisory Board Mental Health Subcommittee and the Outreach and Case Management Subcommittee seek to lessen reliance on the ER for mental health issues. Some suggestions included more mental health resources, medicated-assisted treatment and increased peer specialist follow-ups after overdoses or mental health crises.

WUFT Reporter Jacqueline Macia explains what these mean and how they may affect Alachua County in this interview. 

Part 3: Florida failed for nearly 3 months to pay health claims for state’s sickest children

Due to software glitches, Florida failed for nearly three months to pay tens of thousands of health-care claims for the state’s sickest and neediest children. Families with critically ill children who relied on Medicaid-paid health providers were stranded in some cases. 

Fresh Take Florida’s Kristin Bausch spoke to some families impacted and health-care providers for her piece. She breaks down the story in this interview. 

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