Stop funding secret program
We wish to congratulate you on the very important public-information article by Lindsay Peterson entitled "Abuse of Trust" that appeared in The Tampa Tribune last Sunday.
Sadly, the article was an after-the-fact eye opener.
It is unconscionable, to say the least, to allow a major segment of our medical services population that provides hands-on medical care to our ill or frail elderly and disabled to be shielded by what is basically a secret program that allows impaired medical personnel to continue working, even providing anesthesia, a highly technical and dangerous function, free from disciplinary action and public exposure.
These are nurses.
To top it off, this program is substantially funded by public money - more than $1 million a year - from the state Department of Health.
And three guesses who might bear the brunt of a drug rehab gone bad.
As an advocacy group, we receive reports almost daily from all over the country outlining what appears to be inappropriate activities by medical personnel and a particularly large number of med thefts or diversions in nursing homes.
There have been many fewer from Florida than elsewhere in the country, and we had thought it was because the state was doing a better job of oversight than elsewhere.
Now we wonder whether this program prevented the information from coming forward for the benefit of the public at large.
We believe this secret program should be closed down immediately, and individuals who would formerly have been sheltered and shielded by it should be subject to the same consequences for their actions as any other citizens.
This program is reminiscent of, and hauntingly similar to, situations that people in our age group (60s and 70s) heard about in times past - informal programs or practices of shielding others of high medical calling from scrutiny.
We applaud your publication of this important information and believe our state legislators should stop funding this program.