Dr. Raul Pino returns to work in Orange County following investigation by inspector general, FDOH says

Pino had been on leave for more than a month after sending an email to staff including staff vaccination data

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Dr. Raul Pino returns to work Friday as the head of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County following an investigation by Florida’s inspector general into an email the doctor sent to staff about the rate of vaccinations within his department, according to FDOH.

The state has not yet released the results of the inspector general’s investigation.

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FDOH released a statement to News 6 about Pino’s return to work.

“Following a full administrative review that addressed compliance issues with department policy, Dr. Pino has returned from administrative leave as of March 11, 2022. As a result of the administrative review, the Department established a corrective action plan to address these compliance issues. We will continue to work closely with Dr. Pino to ensure residents of Orange County are receiving the best health services from their county health department.”

Office of Communications, Florida Department of Health

Pino had been on leave for more than a month after sending an email to staff, which included data regarding staff vaccinations.

Within the email, Pino wrote, “I am sorry, but at this point in the absence of reasonable and real reasons, it is irresponsible not to be vaccinated.”

“As the decision to get vaccinated is a personal medical choice that should be made free from coercion and mandates from employers, the employee in question (Pino) has been placed on administrative leave, and the Florida Department of Health is conducting an inquiry to determine if any laws were broken in this case,” FDOH press secretary Jeremy Redfern said in a statement on Jan. 18 after Pino was placed on leave.

About a week after his suspension, Florida’s new Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo defended the decision.

“I want to clarify that that particular physician was absolutely not placed on admin leave for any reason that was potentially political or related to anything other than the policies that we have at the department of health,” Ladapo said on Jan. 26.

Pino was named Orange County medical director in May 2019. He previously worked in Connecticut, including as Director of Health Services for the City of Hartford.


About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.