The Florida House of Representatives recently selected Jay Epstein, M.D., FASA, Envision Physician Services, for the unique honor of providing care to the members of the legislature as a part of its “Doctor of the Day” program.
During his day of service, Dr. Epstein assessed and treated patients for common ailments and observed chamber sessions in between seeing patients. He was consulted on issues ranging from pharyngitis, coronavirus concerns, chest pain, asthma exacerbations and diabetic complications. His visit was sponsored by State Representative Chris Sprowls from Palm Harbor, who is designated to be the next Speaker of the Florida House for the 2021 and 2022 legislative sessions.
The “Doctor of the Day” program began in the 1960s when a former lawmaker from Miami collaborated with the Florida Medical Association to bring a physician to Tallahassee each day of the regular legislative session. Physicians who are sponsored by a lawmaker spend a day at the Florida Capitol providing healthcare for members of the legislature as well as legislative employees.
An anesthesiologist partner at Greater Florida Anesthesiologists, a division of Envision, Dr. Epstein said the experience was an opportunity to advocate before state lawmakers on the role physician anesthesiologists play in leading the anesthesia care team.
“To give an example, I cared for two state senators and a representative who each saw ‘Anesthesiologist’ on my Envision lab coat and were surprised that I was able to take care of them outside the operating room,” Dr. Epstein said. “It was a great chance to highlight the medical education and extensive clinical training that anesthesiologists undergo. I had the opportunity to show them that I was a doctor first and a specialist in anesthesiology second, and this was illuminating to these lawmakers and could potentially influence public policy in the area of perioperative care.”
Dr. Epstein’s opportunities also included the privilege of being on the floor of the House as the chamber deliberated and voted on pieces of legislation. While physicians are not permitted to lobby while on duty, he did take the chance to discuss Envision and our physician services line with several lawmakers.
“I’ve been going to Tallahassee for 22 years as an advocate for both our specialty and the greater house of medicine, but I’ve never had an experience like this,” Dr. Epstein said. “Lawmakers were intrigued to learn about Envision, our role in the healthcare marketplace, and the wide range of services that we provide as one of the largest multispecialty physician groups in the country. I think there were some misconceptions about large medical groups like Envision, and I was happy to talk to them about the value and service that we bring to their Florida constituents.”