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First Coast Connect

03/03/16: Healthcare Billing; Veterans Treatment Court; The Melville Boys; Veg Fest; Kerry Speckman

The Florida Legislature is on the cusp of passing a throng of health care-related measures aimed at cutting the cost of treatment.

Among those are two bills, one eliminating so-called “surprise billing” and another creating a database of common procedure prices. Supporters say it’s a way to protect consumers, but some doctors think they leave an important actor out of the equation -- insurers.

Dr. Steven Kailes is an emergency room doctor who works in Orange Park and the President of the Florida College of Emergency Physicians. He joins First Coast Connect guest host Ryan Benk to discuss this issue.

The Jacksonville Veterans Treatment Court offers alternatives to veterans who find themselves in the criminal justice system, usually because of mental health and substance abuse issues related to their service. According to the Jacksonville veterans court, 150 veterans are arrested each month in the River City. We learn more about the court's work from local attorney Randy Reep.

Theatre Jacksonville's production of Norm Foster's "The Melville Boys" opens this week. The story follows two brothers -- one living with a terminal illness -- whose lives change when they meet two sisters while on a weekend trip. We preview the show with director Michelle Simkulet, and actors Jordan Born and Myles Hughes.

Julie Watkins, executive director of Girls Gone Green, joins us with a look at the 6th annual Northeast Florida Veg Fest happening this weekend.

And blogger Kerry Speckman stops by to discuss all of the biggest events happening around town this weekend.

Sean Birch joined the WJCT team in late 2011 and was with the company until 2016.