Vacancies and expired terms are starting to become a problem at the Florida Board of Medicine.
Chairman Steven Rosenberg, a West Palm Beach physician, said the board may have to delay action on as many as eight disciplinary cases at its meeting next month in Miami because of a lack of members.
That is due, in part, to two vacant board positions and a rule that prevents any board member who served on a probable-cause panel that heard initial allegations in a case from voting on the final disposition.
Rosenberg said not all of the cases at risk of being shelved involve allegations that, if substantiated, would require doctors’ licenses to be revoked or suspended.
“So, in that situation the delay, may not be that critical,” Rosenberg said. “But in situations where the board would vote for suspension, or revocation, that does cause me some concern that a delay could allow those physicians to continue to practice until their case is actually heard.”
Board of Medicine members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate.
Twelve members must be Florida licensed physicians in good standing. The remaining three members must be residents of the state who are not licensed health-care practitioners.
Vacancies became an issue in January after board member Stephanie Haridopolos, a Brevard County physician, resigned to become chairwoman of the Florida Healthy Kids Corp. Board of Directors.
In addition to the two vacancies, the board has five members who continue to serve despite the expiration of their terms. Consumer representative Nicholas W. Romanello continues to serve on the board, according to the board website, despite his appointment expiring Oct. 31, 2016.
Also, Brigitte R. Goersch’s appointment expired Oct. 31, 2017 and she also continues to serve as a consumer member. Rosenberg said he isn’t lobbying Gov. Ron DeSantis to make new appointments, but he was told the Department of Health is seeking appointments to the board.
The board will hold committee meetings June 6 and a full board meeting June 7 in Miami.