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Innovative ordinance in Florida revisited

HillsboroughLast fall, local legislators in Hillsborough County, Fla., took a radical step and passed restrictions on medical clinics that treat auto-accident victims in that jurisdiction. Lawmakers and residents were growing tired of hearing that the Tampa area had become the new staged-crash capitol of the U.S.

The county had hoped the state would enact new restrictions to crack down on clinics. But when state legislative efforts failed, the county imposed its own crackdown. The new ordinance requires doctors affiliated with local clinics to be onsite at least three days a week. This prevents clinics from using no-show docs just to look legit.

Doctors who operate clinics also must be a signatory to the clinics’ bank accounts and insurance policies — another good measure that can trip up a sham clinics.

Many observers believe the new ordinance is an effective step to put shady clinics out of business.

But now comes word that county legislators are reworking the law in the face of a lawsuit by five clinics. The clinics say the new law unfairly punishes legitimate clinics with stringent, unnecessary regulations.

So legislators are meeting today to amend the law to try to appease legitimate clinics while retaining enough teeth to hurt the crooked ones. We wish them success.

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