Tally Special Interest Fight Heats Up After Lobbyist Jailed

BY BUDDY NEVINS

 

A classic decades-long Tallahassee special interest fight is heating up again now that a chief lobbyist is in jail.

Its the optometrists vs. ophthalmologists.

Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, a Hollywood eye doctor, was the ophthalmologists’ chief weapon in Tallahassee for years. Now he is in a federal prison.

Where to draw the border between those two professions has taken up a lot of the Legislature’s time at least since the 1970s, when I first covered it.

What’s the difference between the two professions?

Most Floridians get vision care through optometrists.  They are trained during four years of graduate school to diagnose problems in the eye.

Ophthalmologists, who are medical doctors, are the only professionals allowed to perform surgery of the eye.

The ophthalmologists through their professional associations’ lobbyists have for years blocked attempts to expand what optometrists can do in the eye.

Although cloaked in flowery language about what’s best for the patient, this fight is really about money.  If optometrists do more eye care, there are potentially fewer patients filling ophthalmologists waiting rooms.

Dr. Alan Mendelsohn

Mendelsohn used this fight over how the eye is treated to become a leading Tallahassee power broker.  He raised money and funded candidates who would be favorable to the ophthalmologists’ position — optometrists’ practice should be restricted.

A prolific fund raiser, pols like former Gov. Charlie Crist and legislators from across the state came to Mendelsohn’s Hollywood home with their hand out.

That campaign money was a key reason why Florida was one of just three states that did not allow optometrists to prescribe oral medicine.

But Mendelsohn was greedy.  He couldn’t keep his mitts off the campaign cash. In 2012, he ended up in the slammer, doing a four years stretch for wire fraud, tax evasion and lying to federal agents.

Now a bill (HB 239) allowing optometrists to prescribe oral medicine is moving through the Legislature, passing the House last week.  It is something Mendelsohn fought for years.

Although Mendelsohn is not dead, he is dead politically. So maybe the bill should be called the Mendelsohn Memorial Act.

The Legislature would never do that.

They wouldn’t want to remind voters they were in Mendelsohn’s pocket for all those years…until he ran out of money and luck. Until he couldn’t help them get re-elected anymore.

 



4 Responses to “Tally Special Interest Fight Heats Up After Lobbyist Jailed”

  1. The Old Country Doctor says:

    The biggest political whore was Eleanor Sobel.

  2. Hollywood says:

    You are obviously in the old country. You are a scum bag for referring to Eleanor Sobel or any women as a “whore.”

    She has nothing to do with Mendelsohn, who is a criminal. Eleanor is a good person that works very hard for the people in our community. Don’t hate the player, hate the game!!!

  3. Sobel is a Whore says:

    @Hollywood.
    You obviously don’t know “old country” history. All you would have to do is look at her campaign disclosure forms. That doesn’t include $1 million worth of Florida Medical Assocation money in PACs which got her elected.
    Meldelsohn’s name is the last one on the list and he bundled the money for Whore Sobel.
    Ask Tim Ryan about her.

    08 F1 07/01/2008 250.00 DOYLE JOHN JOSEPH 400 HEALTHPARK BLVD ST. AUGUSTINE, FL 33333 ANESTHESIOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 250.00 MARKGRAF KURT 3663 MCKINLEY AVENUE FORT MYERS, FL 33901 ANESTHESIOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 75.00 EPSTEIN, MD JAY 7358 SAWGRASS POINT DR. PINELLAS PARK, FL 33782 ANESTHESIOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 50.00 BIRNBACH DAVID 1425 BRICKELL AVENUE STE 61-C MIAMI, FL 33131 ANESTHESIOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 50.00 HARTSFIELD SHANNON 2795 ARMISTEAD RD. TALLAHASSEE, FL 32308 ATTORNEY CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 100.00 CHASE, D.O. CHARLES J. 2065 VENETIAN WAY WINTER PARK, FL 32789 ANESTHESIOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 100.00 VARLOTTA DAVID 1303 BAYSHORE BLVD. TAMPA, FL 33606 ANESTHESIOLGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 200.00 WORDEN JAMES 325 DEVILS BIGHT NAPLES, FL 34102 PHYSICIAN CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 300.00 ESCOE B. L. 740 126TH AVENUE TENNESSEE ISLAND, FL 33706 ANESTHESIOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 100.00 JACOBS, MD JEFF 11041 PINE LODGE TRAIL DAVIE, FL 33328 ANESTHESIOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 100.00 VILA, JR. HECTOR 4304 AZEELE STREET TAMPA, FL 33609 ANESTHESIOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 200.00 MIGUEL, MS RAFAEL 25 TREASURE DRIVE TAMPA, FL 33609 ANESTHESIOLGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 100.00 SLONIN, MD JONATHAN 8832 BALLY BUNOH ROAD PORT ST LUCIE, FL 34986 ANESTHESIOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 MARTIN, MD BERTAPPIO 4120 DEL PRADO BLVD. CAPE CORAL, FL 33904 OPHTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 100.00 MOORE GEORGE E. 1014 W DREW STREET LANTANA, FL 33462 HEALTHCARE CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 250.00 FOY BRIAN O. 808 FOX BEND TRAIL EDMOND, OK 73034 HEALTHCARE CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 50.00 ROSEN SEYMORE R. 4591 BERKLIE DR. TALLAHASSEE, FL 32308 N/A CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 150.00 NEWMARK, MD EMANUEL 180 PALM CIRCLE ATLANTIS, FL 33462 OPTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 250.00 PAPPAS, MD REGINE 1649 WEST EAU GALLIE BLVD. STE 100 MELBOURNE, FL 32935 OPTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 200.00 MEYER ROGER 3 CACHE KAY DRIVE VERO BEACH, FL 32963 OPTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 100.00 MORGAN JOE 237 NE TOSCANE TRAIL PORT ST LUCIE, FL 34986 OPTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 300.00 SEYMOUR CHRISTOPHER 1660 NORTON HILL DR. JACKSONVILLE, FL 32216 HEALTHCARE EXECUTIVE CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 FOURATER BRADLEY D. 4905 W BAY WAY PLACE TAMPA, FL 33629 OPTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 REDMOND MICHAEL 8333 N DAVIE HWY. PENSACOLA, FL 32514 OPTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 BUZNEGO CARLOS 8940 N KENDALL, STE 400 E MIAMI, FL 33333 OPTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 CROLEY JAMES 613 DEL PRADO BLVD. CAPE CORAL, FL 33990 OPHTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 MARGOLIS RICHARD 3355 BURNS RD., STE 205 PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL 33410 OPHTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 BENDEL RICK 3518 BAY ISLAND CIRCLE JAX BEACH, FL 32250 OPHTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 FREDERICK, HO K. 8040 N WICKHAM RD. MELBOURNE, FL 32940 OPHTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 KNAPP, MD ALAN J. 900 E PINE STREET, #214 ENGLEWOOD, FL 34223 OPHTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 LOWE CATHERINE 11380 PROSPERITY FARMS RD. STE 112E PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL 33775 OPHTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 CANO, MD DAVID B. PO BOX 320704 PALM BEACH, FL 33333 OPHTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 GAMELL, MD LISA S. 1000 S HARBOUR ISLAND BLVD. STE 230-S TAMPA, FL 33602 OPHTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 BOURGON PIERRE 13912 LILY PAD CIRCLE FORT MYERS, FL 33907 OPHTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 THOMPSON, MD TODD P. 1400 US HIGHWAY 1 SOUTH ST AUGUSTINE, FL 32084 OPHTHALMOLOGIST CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 COMPASS MANAGEMENT & CONSULTIN 6186 SOUTHPOSUM PKWY STE 1000 JACKSONVILLE, FL 32216 HEALTHCARE PROVIDER CHE
    2008 F1 07/01/2008 500.00 MENDELSOHN ALAN D. 3101 N 47TH AVENUE HOLLYWOOD, FL 33021 OPHTHALMOLOGIST CHE

  4. modeengunch says:

    Got a point. Looks like a whore to me.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>