Senate committee breathes life into doctor-supported nametag bill
With a major revision, Ben Albritton breathes new life into a doctor-identification bill.

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Florida health care providers may be required to wear nametags.

Florida health care providers could be disciplined if they do not correctly identify their name and profession under a bill headed to the full Senate.

The Senate Rules Committee approved the bill (HB 861) as amended Tuesday in a late-Session meeting that wasn’t scheduled until the final week of Session, a move that drew criticism.

The committee, which approved the bill on a 12-3 vote, agreed to make a major revision to the legislation at the urging of Sen. Ben Albritton. The underlying bill opened up health care providers to disciplinary action by state regulators if they misrepresented that they were a certain type of specialist.

Albritton’s revision, however, requires health care practitioners to display either name tags or other type of embroidered identification that includes their name, license and professional degree. The bill would also prevent health care providers from advertising or distributing any information that misstates or describes their skills or training. The Department of Health would be responsible for enforcing the new requirement.

“This increases the amount of transparency and accountability that all practitioners will have to the patient,” Albritton told senators Tuesday. “That’s much more information than the patient receives today. It’s an upgrade to the system.”

Sen. Gary Farmer, who recounted how he thought he was being treated by a doctor but discovered he was being seen by a nurse practitioner, said he agreed with Albritton’s amendment. But he said he could not support the legislation because the bill had never been heard by a single Senate committee previously.

“I just wish if we were going to do this, we had taken this up in the normal channels,” Farmer said.

Sen. Jeff Brandes argued that existing medical and regulatory boards could handle any problems and that the Department of Health was already overburdened.

“I don’t think there is a mass of people identifying themselves as a doctor,” Brandes said.

The bill is a priority for organized medicine.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.



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