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Expert Witness Certificates Print E-mail
Written by Michael J. Sacopulos, JD   
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 14:29

At the present time, expert witnesses do not need a certificate to testify in any medical malpractice action pending in the State of Florida. However, there is a bill pending before the Florida Senate that would require expert witnesses to receive a certificate prior to offering testimony in Florida medical malpractice cases. Senate Bill 1590, sponsored by Senator Hays (and co-sponsored by others) would require physicians, that are not licensed in the state of Florida, to receive a certificate from either the Florida Board of Medicine or the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine in order to testify regarding the prevailing professional standard of care in a medical malpractice case. First, we should note that this requirement has not been enacted into law yet.  Next, it is important to note that it would apply only to individuals not holding a valid license to practice medicine in the State of Florida.

Traditionally, judges have had wide discretion in determining who may provide expert testimony. However, many boards of medicine across the country have declared that the offering of expert testimony in their state constitutes the practice of medicine. This would seem to mean that the state boards of medicine should have some involvement with out-of-state expert witnesses offering testimony in their state. Florida SB 1590 seems to be the first action by any state to address this matter head on. If enacted, this law could allow the state boards of medicine to prohibit certain individuals from testifying in state court medical malpractice actions.

As currently described by SB 1590, an out-of-state health care provider would need to have an active license to practice medicine in another state or a province of Canada and submit "to the board a complete registration application in the format prescribed by the board." In addition, the individual would need to pay an application fee not exceeding Fifty Dollars ($50.00). The Florida State Board of Medicine or the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine would then have five business days to approve or deny the application for an expert witness certificate. The certificate would be valid for two years.

It will be interesting to see if this bill is enacted into law in Florida. If so, the law would be the first of its kind and certain to receive national attention. 

Michael J. Sacopulos is a Partner with Sacopulos, Johnson & Sacopulos, in Terre Haute, Indiana. His core expertise is in medical malpractice defense and third party payment disputes. Sacopulos is also the general counsel for Medical Justice. He may be reached at

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 May 2011 12:55
Silver Lining for Jackson? Print E-mail
Written by Jeffrey Herschler   
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 15:39

University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center has been ranked No. 1 in Miami--Fort Lauderdale in U.S. News & World Report's first-ever Best Hospitals metro area rankings, posted online this week. Of the 69 hospitals in the Miami--Fort Lauderdale area, only 18 made the new ranking.  Outgoing CEO, Dr. Eneida Roldan stated “This is an incredible achievement for us, as we beat out all of our local competition in South Florida.  Despite our current fiscal challenges, this accolade is quite a testament to the unparalleled, quality medical care we provide here each and every day.”  To view the report, please click the link below:

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 April 2011 15:21
New Administration Looking to Overhaul Florida's Workers' Comp Print E-mail
Written by Tom Murphy   
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 08:38

2011 Workers' Compensation Update

Even before he ever took office it was clear that Governor Rick Scott was serious about changing Florida's legislative and regulatory landscape. One of his campaign pledges included reducing workers' compensation costs by 35%. He recently renewed this pledge to the Florida Council of 100 shortly after taking office. This could be a formidable task given the fact that Florida rates have decreased by 64.7% since the major legislative reform in 2003.

Recently, Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty approved a 7.8% rate increase that went into effect on 1/1/11. The reasons for the current rate increase are changes in claims experience and frequency. The dramatic decline in claims between 2003 and 2007 appears to have slowed, leading some experts to assert that the 2003 reforms have run their course.

Many industry leaders believe that the only possible way to cut workers' compensation costs further would be to change benefits or reforms associated with prescription drug benefits. One specific recommendation is legislation that would apply the pharmaceutical fee schedule to repackaged or relabeled drugs. Additionally, the legislature may find itself dealing with other issues, such as apportionment, that involve separating costs associated with pre-existing injuries.

One thing is clear. Nobody knows how the current legislature will respond to Governor Scott's ambitions to further reduce Florida's workers' compensations costs. Undoubtedly, he will push forward for these changes that will be welcomed by medical practices and all Florida businesses and vehemently opposed by injured workers and their attorneys

Tom Murphy is a medical malpractice and workers' compensation insurance specialist with Danna-Gracey, a boutique insurance agency specializing in medical malpractice and workers compensation for Florida's medical community. To contact him call (561) 276-3553 or (800) 966-2120, or e-mail

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 April 2011 14:26
Miami Physician Featured in Medical Economics Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Herschler   
Saturday, 12 March 2011 16:18

Bernd Wollschlaeger, MD of North Miami Beach is featured in the current edition of Medical Economics.  I've known Bernd for almost a decade, feature his blog in FHIweekly and often run his op-ed pieces on  I am pleased to share this link:

Bucking Convention: Bernd Wollschlaeger, MD 

March 2011 - Medical Economics 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 March 2011 08:37
Japan Hit By Earthquake & Tsunami Print E-mail
Written by Jeffrey Herschler   
Saturday, 12 March 2011 15:25


View the Pictures

Editor's Note

This is an incredible slide show, particularly image #1 which depicts houses in Japan engulfed by tsunami while simultaneously burning. 

These are big, high resolution pictures so be patient awaiting download; it's worth it.  - JH

Source: , 3.11.11 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 March 2011 17:24
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