The 2016 Legislative ended on Friday – and so did the tenure of Florida Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong.
The Florida Senate declined to bring his confirmation vote to the floor and Gov. Rick Scott quickly appointed Dr. Celeste Philip, the department secretary for the Department of Health, as Acting Surgeon General.
Scott first appointed Armstrong in 2012 and reappointed him this year, but the Senate refused to confirm over questions about cuts to staff at the Department of Health, implementation of medical marijuana and his response to the growing HIV rate in South Florida.
There was also concern over children being dropped from the state’s Medicaid rolls and the disbanding of cardiac panel of renowned physicians that reviewed pediatric heart programs of hospitals. The move came after the panel reviewed the pediatric cardiac program at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach – a program that has since been shut down.
Scott lauded Armstrong in announcing Philip’s appointment, saying he made Florida a leading destination for cancer research and treatment and responded to epidemics like Zika.
“Even while battling cancer in recent months, Dr. Armstrong displayed unwavering determination to protect Florida families, and I truly appreciate his hard work,” the governor said in a statement..