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Florida Board of Medicine not holding in-person meetings despite governor's order

Health department says decision made because of scheduling conflict
Posted at 5:57 PM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 17:57:19-04

TAMPA, Fla. — As some school districts continue to disregard the governor’s ban on mask mandates, the Florida Investigative Team discovered another state government body appears to be ignoring the governor's orders to conduct business as usual.

MORE: Read the latest stories from Contact 5, Florida Investigative Team

Ever since the governor’s executive order expired in June, all state departments and boards who hold in-person meetings should be back to meeting in person.

That's according to the governor's communications team.

But about a week ago, Florida's Board of Medicine, which is primarily made up of doctors, abruptly canceled its in-person, bi-monthy board meeting.


Well, it depends on which state agency you ask.

On the Board of Medicine's website a week ago, there was a disclaimer that clearly stated all in-person public meetings are being held by teleconference call or virtually "due to the pandemic."

Nicholas Romanello, Florida Board of Medicine member
Nicholas Romanello speaks about the switch to virtual meetings.

According to a board member, that's exactly what happened.

The new surge in COVID-19 cases prompted the board to cancel its in-person meeting for a virtual meeting out of safety concerns.

"I just think the department was trying to do what it thought was best amidst of an evolving pandemic that sometimes changes from day to day and hour to hour," Nicholas Romanello, Florida Board of Medicine member.

But the state agency that oversees the Board of Medicine, Florida's Department of Health, denies that canceling the meeting was pandemic related. They said the website was outdated.

Instead, a spokesperson from the health department, which also answers to the governor, said the board's decision was the result of a scheduling conflict.

The meeting has been rescheduled for the end of this month and will be held virtually.

According to Florida law, as long as the meeting does not include disciplinary action, the Board of Medicine does not have to meet in person.

But we're also told in order to abide by state law, several doctor disciplinary cases have been removed from the agenda and won’t be heard until the board's next in-person meeting scheduled for October.

As for the governor's office, a spokesperson only said the board isn't breaking any state law.

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