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Lawmakers merge two bills to expand medical services for abused children

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In an unexpected move, legislators merged two bills into one rather than unnecessarily compete against one another in a common goal to create a coordinated effort to enlist better medical services for abused children Monday.

Both bills related to child protection issues. SB 1454, sponsored by Sen. Doug Broxson, and SB 1318, sponsored by Sen. Rene Garcia, were so similar in nature they decided to join them together in the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee.

“It’s an excellent move to get people who want serve and expand the pool of doctors we have available for these services,” Broxson said after Garcia deferred to him. “It also codifies department of health treatment abuse services into law, which has been a practice for some time.”

It gives doctors two years to comply. It adds the statewide medical director for child protection as an official who must be consulted in the screening, employment, and termination of child protection team medical director statewide.

It requires the children’s medical services program within the Department of Health to convene a task force to develop a standardized protocol for forensic interviews of children suspected of being abused.

It also changes service districts as service circuits, and district medical directors as child protection team medical directors.

It would require that each child protection team medical director be a licensed physician and board-certified in specified specialty area.

Additionally, would require the department’s Children’s Medical Services program to develop, maintain, and coordinate the services of one or more sexual abuse treatment programs.

The committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill.

“We want a uniform system, so that no matter what district we are in we will not have made a mistake … and this is a good way of doing that,” Broxson said.

Les Neuhaus is an all-platform journalist, with specialties in print reporting and writing. In addition to Florida Politics, he freelances as a general-assignment and breaking-news reporter for most of the major national daily newspapers, along with a host of digital media, and a human rights group. A former foreign correspondent across Africa and Asia, including the Middle East, Les covered a multitude of high-profile events in chronically-unstable nations. He’s a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, in which he served as a Security Policeman, and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in political science. He is a proud father to his daughter and enjoys spending time with his family.

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