9/12/2016: St. Johns River Study; Coastal Spine And Pain Settlement; Heart Walk

Sep 12, 2016

A recent study of the health of the St. Johns River was released. Host Melissa Ross spoke with the authors Dr. Gerard Pinto from Jacksonville University and University of North Florida’s Dr. Radha Pyati, along with Jimmy Orth, executive director of the St. John Riverkeeper. We also heard from Jason Mehta with the U.S. Attorney’s office about a recent settlement with Coastal Spine and Pain of Jacksonville over medically unnecessary drug screenings. 
Mayo Clinic cardiologist Dr. Thomas Flipse and heart transplant recipient Elmo Aquino talked about the First Coast Heart Walk, which will be held Saturday at Metropolitan Park. 

St. Johns River Study

The nitrogen levels are down in the river and the grass beds are coming back, but the salinity is up and algae blooms in the St. Johns are still a problem. Ross spoke with our guest about the latest report on the health of the river and what long-term problems exist without intervention.     

Coastal Spine and Pain

Coastal Spine and Pain in Jacksonville has agreed to pay a $7 million fine to the federal government for medically unnecessary drug screenings, one of the first such cases in the country. Investigators said Coastal was testing patients indiscriminately at a cost of up to $1,000 per test. Mehta said some physicians at the company were making more money testing patients than actually treating them. 

Heart Walk

The First Coast Heart Walk is the largest event of its kind in Jacksonville. It raises awareness and funding for the research and treatment of heart disease.

Flipse talked about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the dangers of heart disease and stroke. Aquino discussed his life as a heart transplant recipient and how he now participates in the Heart Walk every year.   

Producer Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at kmeerschaert@wjct.org, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax