Senator Sachs: Largest Tuberculosis Outbreak in 20 Years Brings Need to Reopen State Hospital

July 12, 2012

In a letter sent directly to Governor Scott on Tuesday, Senator Maria Sachs impressed upon him the need to reopen A.G. Holley State Hospital amidst the largest outbreak of tuberculosis our nation has seen in 20 years. She also requested that he empanel a committee to investigate the lack of information provided to state legislators before they voted on HB 1263, the bill that led to the hospital’s closure.

According to news reports, health officials in Duval County contacted the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia in February concerning the outbreak which has caused the death of 13 people and the illness of 100 others. Legislators were not briefed on the outbreak before they voted to close A.G. Holley in March.

“I did not have this information available to me before my decision to vote on the bill,” said Senator Sachs in her letter to the Governor. “In the interest of transparency in government, it is absolutely essential that all information be available to legislators and considered before a vote.”

Senator Sachs voted against the closure of A.G. Holley. A longtime supporter of Florida’s last TB hospital, she has consistently expressed concerns about the impact the facility’s closure would have on public health.

“With so many people at risk, we cannot afford to let patients go without medical care or have them contaminate or put in jeopardy any other people in our state,” Senator Sachs said. “It is imperative that we immediately investigate this lack of transparency, why the state rushed the closure of this hospital, and the steps we now need to take to protect the public.

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