Florida inspector general takes over case of Dr. Raul Pino being placed on administrative leave

Department of Health says move to put Pino on leave was to protect privacy of employees

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County health officer Dr. Raul Pino was placed on paid administrative leave earlier this week. Now the case is being referred to the Florida inspector general.

“The Department of Health is committed to upholding all laws and protecting the privacy of our employees’ personal medical records. Floridians place an enormous amount of trust in our Department to keep their medical information private, and we expect our health care staff to live up to those high expectations,” the Department of Health said in a statement.

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Pino was placed under administrative leave because he said “the decision to get vaccinated is a personal medical choice,” health officials said. The DOH conducted an inquiry “to determine if any laws were broken in this case” and now says the case will be handled by the inspector general.

A spokesperson for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office forwarded an email Pino sent to the Florida Department of Health office in Orange County saying, “I have a hard time understanding how can we be in public health and not practice it! The reasons can be many, but so many of us?”

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings released a statement Wednesday afternoon, calling Pino “our trusted partner and friend throughout the pandemic.”