In December, a New Timesinvestigation showed how an unlicensed doctor like Tony Bosch could sell tightly regulated drugs like steroids so openly from his Coral Gables clinic -- including to superstar athletes like Alex Rodriguez. The answer: Florida's laws include a giant loophole allowing clinics that only accept cash to avoid almost any scrutiny.
State Sen. Eleanor Sobel has crafted a bill that would close that loophole and yesterday, it won its first victory in Tallahassee. Sobel's Health Care Clinic Act passed its first committee with a unanimous vote.
The bill won a 9-0 victory in the Senate's Health Care Committee after Sobel agreed to an amendment clarifying language about punishing clinics that hire doctors with shady records.
Sobel, a Democrat from Hollywood, crafted the bill to put cash-only clinics like Bosch's company, Biogenesis, under state regulation and to create a system of penalties if those clinics employ physicians who've had their licenses suspended or revoked.
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New Times investigation found that more than 540 "anti-aging" clinics have set up shop in Florida and that several were owned by or connected to convicted felons. Bosch faces an ongoing grand jury in Miami over his activities at Biogenesis.
The Health Care Clinic Act now heads to the Criminal Justice Committee for a second hearing; a companion bill in the House is still awaiting its first action.