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Jacksonville senator blames governor's office for TB crisis

In an opinion piece submitted to The Florida Times-Union newspaper, state Sen. Audrey Gibson blames Gov. Rick Scott's administration for a lackluster responsed to the tuberculosis outbreak among Jacksonville's homeless population.

Duval County Health Department Director Bob Harmon announced his hasty retirement Tuesday, giving 24 hours notice that he would be leaving the job. Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat, calls Harmon the "fall guy" and writes that prior to the TB dustup he had done a stellar job.

From Gibson's letter:

I read with continued interest and frankly no surprise of the immediate “retirement” of Duval County Health Department Director, Robert Harmon.

“Fall guy” immediately comes to mind as I reflect on the delegation meeting I requested to be convened and the information requested at that meeting from the state Department of Health on the testing, necessary funds and “containment” steps being taken that were never made.

While a part of the saga centered on the closing of the AG Holley TB Hospital, the real debate has more to do with a revolving door in the governor’s administration and the communication gap that results.

In the time that Harmon has been at the helm in Jacksonville, there has been no lack of information on other potential public health threats. So why would an increase in TB incidences — whether “active” or “present” — be treated differently?

Read more here.

Comments

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Dr. Ed Holmes

When Dr. Max Salfinger, Chief, Bureau of TB and Refugee Health tells everyone below him to keep their mouths shut, the Duval County Public Health Officials are caught in a bind. I also think Bob Harmon was the fall guy. At least Dr. Salfinger is now in Denver which is bad for Denver but good for Florida. It is criminal that 14 citizens have died from TB and over 100 were infected due to inaction and negligence of the TB Bureau Chief.

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