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Florida Taking Too Long To Address Charges Of Medical Misconduct

Is there anything worth fighting to protect more than our health? At Allegiant Experts, we can’t imagine placing a higher degree of importance on anything else. Age-old idioms such as “at least you have your health” and even the old “apple a day” adage speak to the fact that when we take measures to keep ourselves free from disease and injury, all other positive facets of life have more open routes to fall in place.

This is why, at Allegiant Experts, we take the concept of medical malpractice very seriously. Our team possesses many years of expert knowledge and experience that have assisted in many litigations. It’s our job to ensure that the truth is revealed and that justice is served for both competent medical professionals who practice correctly and plaintiffs who have endured malpractice. We understand the necessity of ensuring that Americans are given access to the best possible healthcare they can find. As mentioned, nothing is more important.

We recently met with some regret to come across a 2013 article by Steve Miller of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting that revealed that many medical professionals in Florida continue to practice medicine even after facing charges of misconduct. Because Allegiant Experts proudly calls Florida its home state, we approach this matter with great interest and concern.

According to Miller, an analysis by the FCIR found that the Florida Board of Medicine takes far longer than other states to resolve charges of misconduct against doctors, nurses and other health care workers. Evidence found in the Florida Department of Health records reveals that between 2010 and 2012, it took the board an average of 434 days to resolve such charges. Meanwhile, Texas boasts an average of 282 days while California posted a rate of 264 days to resolution in 2012.

What is the reason for Florida’s drawn out approach to take action? Miller notes that part of the reason is attributed to the state’s decreased funding for its health department. It “still reels from a $55.6 million budget cut in 2011,” he writes, “The cuts, some contend, result in overwhelming caseloads for lawyers investigating complaints. Others say low pay at the health department has led to too much turnover.”

Substandard pay for attorneys tackling cases involving medical misconduct in Florida is also cited as a reason the process to take action takes so long in our great state. An analysis of records by the FCIR found that “Florida disciplinary actions between 2010 and 2012 include 55 suspensions, 30 revocations and 88 cases where a license was voluntarily surrendered.” However, Miller has depicted the lengthy procedure as one that sadly helps the accused.

While the state does have the ability to take expedient action when doctors pose public hazards, non-emergency cases (which represent the majority of complaints against the medical board) are generally placed on the proverbial back burner. As a result, Florida established an Emergency Action Unit in 2011. Yet still, reports Miller, emergency actions take over a year to complete.

Just how many emergency complaints are filed each year? “In its first year, the unit issued 287 emergency actions, primarily suspensions and several license removals,” Miller informs us, “(In 2012), that number jumped to 500, according to the health department.” Meanwhile, accused medical professionals in Florida are often represented at their board meetings by highly-paid members of the Professionals Resource Network.

As a result, medical malpractice is going largely unpunished. In many cases, doctors who have been charged simply avoid repercussions by practicing medicine in new states. “Nationwide, delays in investigations of medical professionals have led to those accused of wrongdoing to hop from state to state,” says Miller, “Because of the lengthy hearing process, doctors can move across state lines as charges in one state are neglected or undetected in another.”

As proud Floridians, the team at Allegiant Experts finds this unacceptable. And we’d like to help make a change in our state. For more information on our services as well as our experience with hospital and medical malpractice cases, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 407-217-5831

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