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Get the latest coverage of the 2023 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

DeSantis vetoes a bill intended to remove patient confusion over medical titles

via Unsplash

The measure was sparked by efforts to draw distinctions between optometrists and ophthalmologists. Also vetoed was a bill dealing with fees collected under a counselors compact.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday vetoed two bills, including a measure that would have added restrictions about titles used by medical professionals and required practitioners to wear name tags or display licenses when treating patients.

DeSantis did not detail his reasons in two veto letters sent to Secretary of State Cord Byrd.

The bill (SB 230) about medical titles and identification was sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Chairwoman Gayle Harrell, a Stuart Republican who argued during the legislative session that it would provide “transparency” to patients.

Among other things, the bill could have led to practitioners facing discipline for not wearing name tags or not displaying licenses in their offices.

Practitioners also would have been required to verbally identify themselves by name and profession to new patients. Similar issues have been debated for several years in the Legislature, in part because of efforts to draw distinctions between optometrists and ophthalmologists.

Harrell said optometrists might have earned doctorate degrees to be called a doctor of optometry. But she said they are not physicians who have been to medical school and spent years in residency programs.

“It’s important that people understand the level of education of that individual who is treating them,” Harrell said in March. “There's a lot of confusion out there, you know, and we don't want advertising signs, or even name tags to misrepresent (that), or a patient to be misinformed as to who exactly is treating them.”

The other bill that DeSantis vetoed (HB 385) dealt with Florida’s involvement in the Professional Counselors Licensure Compact, which is a type of agreement that allows telehealth and in-person treatment across state lines.

The bill would have backed allowing states to collect fees for practicing under the compact. House sponsor Juan Porras, R-Miami, said the proposal was aimed at clearing up an issue after Florida joined the compact last year.
The governor also signed into law 12 other bills on Friday.

Copyright 2023 Health News Florida

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