Healthcare 'Navigators' cause controversy in Florida - WFLA News Channel 8

Healthcare 'Navigators' cause controversy in Florida

Posted: Updated:
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Tensions over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, are surfacing again in Florida – this time in connection with the so-called "Navigators."

As part of the roll-out of the new "health insurance marketplace," these Navigators are scheduled to be put in place in communities across the country to help people wade through the new system and choose health care coverage.

Now Florida's Department of Health says the Navigators can't operate inside county health departments, limiting where they can reach and meet with people.

A letter to county health officers across the state said county health departments could receive materials from Navigators, but "Navigators will not conduct activities on the grounds of the health departments."

In Pinellas County, the decision prompted concern after the county received a $600,000 grant to put the Navigators in place. The county was planning to work with the health department to hire them.

"I'm very disappointed in this decision," said Ken Welch, chair of the Pinellas County Commission. "I think it's another round in the fight over Obamacare, but at the local level we're just concerned with getting good health care and information to all of our citizens."

Welch also called it "raw political partisan politics."

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor referred to it as an "absurd state pronouncement that health navigators are barred from local health departments" and wrote a letter to the Florida state surgeon general and the governor.

In an email on Thursday, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health said the Navigator program "has raised privacy concerns due to the consumer information that will be gathered for use in a federal database."

That's also the issue that Florida Gov. Rick Scott raised when asked about the Navigator issue on Thursday.

"What I'm concerned with is the privacy issue, what are they going to have and how are they going to use it?" he said.

Late Thursday, Pinellas County officials said they believe Navigators will ultimately be able to be in local health department buildings there because they are actually "county facilities" and on county land.

Asked about the situation in Pinellas, a state DOH spokesman did not confirm that, but said,  "Department of Health staff may provide information and materials that direct people to get further assistance from the federal Navigators program. However the Navigators will not conduct activities within secure Department facilities."

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Friday, April 18 2014 3:52 PM EDT2014-04-18 19:52:20 GMT
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
  • Hillsborough residents claim water company retaliates against them

    Hillsborough residents claim water company retaliates against them

    Thursday, April 17 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:08:40 GMT
    After East Lake residents fed up with stinky, cloudy water won a big battle against their utility company, they say Pluris American Infrastructure is retaliating against them.
    After East Lake residents fed up with stinky, cloudy water won a big battle against their utility company, they say Pluris American Infrastructure is retaliating against them.
  • Mortgage nightmare for Plant City couple

    Mortgage nightmare for Plant City couple

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 7:57 AM EDT2014-04-16 11:57:42 GMT
    Karl and Vicktoria Hanson thought their foreclosure nightmare was long over. It may be just beginning.
    Karl and Vicktoria Hanson thought their foreclosure nightmare was long over. It may be just beginning.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Fired Sarasota teacher speaks about meltdown video

    Fired Sarasota teacher speaks about meltdown video

    Friday, April 18 2014 4:42 PM EDT2014-04-18 20:42:04 GMT
    Earlier this month, Captain Jeffrey Daughtry, a math teacher at the Sarasota Military Academy, was fired after a cell phone video captured him screaming at a student.The video shows Daughtry shoving a teenager into a seat and yelling, “You open your mouth again and you will die!”
    Earlier this month, Captain Jeffrey Daughtry, a math teacher at the Sarasota Military Academy, was fired after a cell phone video captured him screaming at a student.The video shows Daughtry shoving a teenager into a seat and yelling, “You open your mouth again and you will die!”
  • Report: Polk teacher accused of sex crimes had similar behavior in 2008

    Report: Polk teacher accused of sex crimes had similar behavior in 2008

    Friday, April 18 2014 4:37 PM EDT2014-04-18 20:37:48 GMT
    Jennifer Fichter, 29, during her first court appearance on Wednesday.Jennifer Fichter, 29, during her first court appearance on Wednesday.
    In a report New Channel 8 received from Orange County on Friday, it shows a teacher recently arrested for allegedly having sex with a student in Polk County also exhibited inappropriate behavior while employed there.
    In a report New Channel 8 received from Orange County on Friday, it shows a teacher recently arrested for allegedly having sex with a student in Polk County also exhibited inappropriate behavior while employed there.
  • Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Flushable wipes, not so flushable says Tampa's wastewater officials

    Friday, April 18 2014 3:52 PM EDT2014-04-18 19:52:20 GMT
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
    Personal wipes, baby wipes, face wipes, flushable wipes. They are all designed to help us deal with delicate issues. But the wipes themselves are actually pretty sturdy and increasingly local water systems are finding they are creating costly problems.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.