The Health News Florida Web site broke a big story earlier this month when it reported that a Florida doctor who is living in a federal prison after pleading guilty to health fraud in September 2008 is listed on the Florida Health Department Web site as having a “clear/active” medical license.
The physician, Carlos Contreras of West Palm Beach was sentenced to 37 months in prison on Nov. 20, 2008; and Health News Florida noted that the state Web site can run “months and years behind real life.” The news Web site, however, neglected to mention that—four lines under where the state said Contreras’s license was clear and active—it’s noted that his license expiration date was Jan. 31, 2010.
But it’s not just the Health Department Web site that isn’t very active. The Federation of State Medical Boards reported that the Florida Board of Medicine, an arm of the Health Department that disciplines medical doctors (a separate board disciplines osteopaths), physician assistants and other healthcare professionals took only 251 actions in 2008 compared with 976 in 2004. License revocations declined to 70 from 111 during the same period, and the total number of physicians against whom actions were taken was down to 231 compared with 930 in 2004.