PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis called on the Florida Legislature to protect health care practitioners’ freedom of speech and bolster patient access to and education of COVID-19 treatments through right to prescribe. The Free Speech of Health Care Practitioners Act, House Bill 687 and Senate Bill 1184, would solidify these rights for both patients and health care workers.


“Despite ongoing health care practitioner shortages across the nation, these crucial frontline workers continue to face threats to their licenses if they dissent from the prevailing narrative of the medical establishment,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I am calling on the Legislature to pass this important free speech bill and strengthen the legislation by solidifying the right to prescribe and access COVID treatments. We must safeguard the free speech of our health care providers because it is through open dialogue and debate that science advances and patients receive the best care.”


“Practitioners are trained to know how to best care for their individual patients – not bureaucrats at the federal level,” said Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joe Ladapo. “COVID-19 has fostered dependence on obliging to whatever the federal government says about prevention and treatment. This has been ineffective and harmful to patients. Practitioners shouldn’t be scared to lose a license when they question the science behind federal decisions. This bill protects the speech of health care providers, and it thereby protects patients.”


“Something horrible in our country started when smart and credentialed experts started getting muzzled for their opinions,” said Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis. “We saw it with lockdowns. A lot of folks on TV shows were screaming about ‘following the science,’ but I think the only ‘science’ they cared about was ‘political science.’ For our country to succeed we need more ideas, not less. And I’m concerned about how laws and rules are being used to fortify groupthink, which doesn’t allow the best ideas to rise to the top. I am thankful the Governor is keeping this fight alive.”


“Florida physicians are being threatened,” said Dr. Jon Ward, President, Dermatology Specialists of Florida. “Their certifications used to be a marker for their competence, but now these certifying boards are political arms of the CDC and Big Pharma and they are going after your doctors in the middle of a pandemic. Thanks to the governor’s personal liability protection bill, I was able to prescribe treatment to hundreds of patients when our health care heroes needed help once again. Your doctors are being silenced, their ability to make a living and care for patients is being threatened. I’m blessed to be in the state of Florida where public health decisions are led by data and not the dogma of Dr. Fauci.”


“I took the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm,” said Dr. Raj Bendre, Oncology Specialist.  “What we’re seeing right now is physicians completely relinquishing their oath and that is very disturbing. This bill is very important to protect the patients and allow free speech for physicians to engage in and open thoughts. When you have open thoughts, you have real science which is meaningful, as opposed to mandates that come from a centralized authority which is never good.”


“I am proud that our governor does not try to practice medicine out of the Governor’s Mansion with a one-size-fits-all policy that many other governors instill,” said Dr. Ellen McKnight, Rheumatologist. “I can attest to the development of disturbing trends in the practice of medicine, including quelling of medical debate, intentional silencing of physicians, assault of off-label prescribing, and callous disregard for the sanctity of the decisions that the doctor and patient make together. If we are able to pass these much-needed protections, the state will be at the forefront of the movement to protect the freedom of expression and will be, as we often are, a model for the nation.”


The Free Speech of Health Care Practitioners Act would protect health care workers from having their licensure revoked for simply exercising their right of free speech. With the enhancements proposed by Governor DeSantis, the bill would also ensure that woke corporations cannot prevent a doctor from exercising their sound judgement by prohibiting hospitals from interfering with a doctor’s recommendation for COVID-19 treatment if the patient agrees. Further, it would ensure doctors are providing patients with all of the options for treatment.




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