FSPMR - Florida Society of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
FSPMR - Florida Society of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
FSPMR - Florida Society of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
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Florida Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation


The Florida Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation's mission is to promote and advance health and function through education and research in the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, in order to provide quality patient care and promote a person’s quality of life and improve functional outcomes.

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Ace President's Message
Mark Rubenstein, M.D., President, FSPMR

June 2022

Aces are considered one of the most valuable cards in a deck. In the game of “21” they can be used as a 1 or as an 11. In secondary school our exams were most often graded out of a total of 100, and if one scored perfectly we might say they “aced” the exam. Many acronyms have developed from the word itself. A brief search revealed at least 397 acronyms that are used for the word.

This “President’s Message” marks my last since the next will be drafted by the incoming President, Dr. Andrew Sherman. For many years I was asked to ascend to this position for FSPMR, but the timing due to multiple other commitments just never seemed opportune. Everything in our lives is a balance. I have had a hard time saying “no” to organizational responsibilities. It’s part of my genetic make-up and commitment to the profession of medicine, as well as commitment to community.

The last two years have had its own challenges. The most obvious has been COVID. It has changed how we practice, how we dress, how we socialize, and how we convene. We are doing our best to meet these dynamic challenges, and I’m sure there are many more to come. As I pondered the ideas for my last “message,” I thought about the mission of FSPMR. Our published mission is as follows: The Florida Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation's mission is to promote and advance health and function through education and research in the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, in order to provide quality patient care and promote a person’s quality of life and improve functional outcomes.

This mission is really related to our chosen specialty. The realization is that our society provides a voice for our members. The most important things I think our organization can provide include advocacy, collaboration, and education. Make that list of acronyms now 398, as ACE fits perfectly.

Advocacy comes in many forms. We advocate for our patients as well as ourselves and our profession. Political advocacy is inherent to the future of medicine. I encourage all physiatrists to engage in political action committees from the county organizations, and at the state level. It is the legislators who approve the statutes which govern how we can practice. Personally I wish I could spend my entire day seeing patients and providing the expertise that I have dedicated my career to. Understanding the political system and participating in representing the interests of physicians from all specialties is a necessity to protect the future of the medical community. I have tried to inject legislative updates to these newsletters to keep our membership informed. In April the Florida House and Senate completed its most recent session and a number of bills were considered that affect many of us. A brief review of some of these may be of benefit.

Senate Bill 312 was one of the last bills passed in the session. The Senate version contained a provision to include audio-only telemedicine visits in the definition of telehealth, but the House refused to concur. The bill that passed therefore had a sole provision where physicians will be able to prescribe Schedule III-V controlled substances via telehealth, but Schedule II will be precluded. This bill takes effect 7/1/22.

House Bill 459 relates to Step Therapy Protocols. It is not the same FMA supported bill as in year’s past, but helps to solve some of the problems with step therapy. The legislation requires health insurers that utilize step therapy protocol to provide a written explanation that includes the reason for a denial, the supporting clinical rationale, and the procedure for appeal. This is also effective 7/1/22.

SB 544 allows pharmacists to order an emergency opioid antagonist with an autoinjection delivery system or intranasal application for patient or caregiver use. It also requires hospital emergency departments and urgent care centers that treat and release person in response to a suspected or actual overdose of a controlled substance to report such incidents to the Department of Health if the patient was not transported to the facility via ambulance. This takes effect 7/1/22.

HB 817 is a fix to last session’s parental consent bill. This allows for the provision of emergency care to minors without parental consent in any situation, not just care provided in a hospital or college clinic. The FMA is continuing to address glitches in the original bill.

SB 7017 extends the COVID-19 liability protections for health care providers passed in 2021 for another year (these protections were set to expire in March of 2022).

The bills mentioned above may have relevance to our membership. There were obviously many more bills that were issued, and some pertain to healthcare but not specifically physiatrists. Equally important to understanding the new rules and regulations, it is helpful to know which bills did NOT pass last session. “Defense” of bills is one of the most important things that political action committees and their lobbyists do. Likewise, it is helpful to know what legislation was sought to protect physicians that the legislators did NOT adopt.

SB 540/HB 319 would have allowed psychologists to prescribe medications INCLUDING controlled substances.

SB 1192/HB 861 would have prohibited non-physicians from using a term designating a medical specialty unless certain requirements were met (this bill was the one the FMA sought to rectify the “Nurse Anesthesiologist” opinion from the Board of Nursing).

For those of you that dispense in your offices or clinics, SB 748 was proffered by Senator Diaz and would have prohibited health insurers from refusing to pay a participating provider for providing covered clinician-administered drugs and related services to covered persons. It would have prohibited insurers from interfering with the patient’s right to choose to obtain a clinician-administered drug from the patient’s chosen health care provider or pharmacy. It would have prohibited insurers from requiring clinician administered drugs to be dispensed by a pharmacy selected by the insurer. There are many other inclusions in the bill that would have restricted the health insurers’ power to control dispensing, but the bill did not pass.

Education is our duty and our responsibility. On a daily basis we educate our patients. We teach the residents and students. We provide family education. We teach our children. Paramount to the success of our specialty is maintaining a knowledge base of cutting edge techniques, medical innovations, and standards in the care of patients. Our annual meeting has a daylong educational break-out which puts education in the forefront of our members and our residents. We look forward to the annual FSIPP/FSPMR meeting in July, and encourage all of you to consider attending. Dr. Sherman and his team strives to provide the most appropriate and timely lectures and seminars. If you as members have suggestions for future topics, please let us know.

Collaboration is the mechanism by which our board works to represent the interest of our organization. Physiatry is truly the specialty of team-oriented care. Our board has identified goals for the coming year and one is clearly to expand reaches to the physiatrists of our state who are not currently members. We need to expand our membership numbers to strengthen our voice. Our focus has included creation of a membership committee, and we welcome Kenneth Ngo, M.D. as our new Chair of same.

I would like to thank our board members, our executive director, and our resident liaisons for their commitment to our mission. Collaboration between all has been integral to the existence of our society. Dr. Andrew Sherman has been our committed Vice-President and will assume the reins of the organization in July. We look forward to his leadership. A thank you to our Secretary, Dr. Colleen Zittel, and our Treasurer, Dr. Diana Hussain. Our members-at-large over the last two years have been Dr’s Marc Gerber, Jay Wright, Jesse Lipnick, and Lindsay Shroyer. Thank you to Dr. Craig Lichtblau, our Immediate Past-President, particularly for his generous financial support of the organization which has allowed us to continue to function in a stable capacity. Thanks to our Carrier Advisory Council Representative, Dr. Mitchell Freed, for representing the interests of all physiatrists in the state. Additionally, our collaborative efforts have included Resident Liaisons from the various programs in the state. Thank you to Edwin Amirianfar, MD, Kareem Qaisi, DO, Arun Zachariah, DO, Yvette Little, DO, Zeeshan Haque, MD, and Michael Brownstein, MD for representing their respective programs in our organization. Our organization’s glue is clearly our experienced Executive Director, Lorry Davis. We appreciate her diligence, organization, and commitment to our specialty.

It has been a pleasure to serve the FSPMR. I look forward to continuing to advocate on your behalf, to collaborating with you, and to learning from and educating our colleagues in the coming years.

{read the entire newsletter}

FSPM&R Presidents Message June 2022


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