Mike Bennett's bill ties optometrists, medical malpractice changes

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Sen. Mike Bennett filed a bill last week that would continue his long-running quest to give more drug-prescribing powers to optometrists, reports the News Service of Florida. The Bradenton Republican also added a sweetener — medical-malpractice protections for hospitals and emergency room workers — that is aimed at defusing physician opposition to the bill. Groups such as the Florida Medical Association have traditionally opposed allowing optometrists to go beyond prescribing “topical” medications. That opposition, at least in part, has led to the death of such bills in the past. But Bennett’s 2012 version of the bill (SB 718) also includes changes that would make it harder to win medical-malpractice lawsuits against hospitals and emergency-room physicians and other workers. The bill would increase the burden of proof for injured patients in such lawsuits.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.