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John H. Armstrong, MD, FACS

State Surgeon General

As Florida’s State Surgeon General

and Secretary of Health,

it gives me great

pleasure to present the Division of Medical Quality Assurance (MQA)

2014-2015 Annual Report. MQA exemplifies the Department’s

values of Innovation, Collaboration, Accountability, Responsiveness

and Excellence in many areas including healthiest weight

initiatives, licensing of military veterans, and curbing prescription

drug abuse.

In Florida, we promote healthy choices in all places. It is an

investment in our personal lives as well as in the lives of those

around us. Looking at the health landscape, we see that the

number one health issue is weight. Currently, only 36 percent of

Floridians are at a healthy weight; one quarter are obese, and the

rest are overweight. This situation has serious consequences for

our future. Fortunately, we have seen meaningful progress in our

mission to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in

Florida. This past year, the Healthiest Weight initiative engaged with

hundreds of public and private organizations to promote healthy choices

in our daily environments. MQA plays an integral role with its collaboration

between health care providers, professional health care associations, other

state agencies, nonprofits, businesses, and entire communities to help make

Florida the healthiest state in the nation.

More than 1.5 million veterans call Florida home. MQA works to honor and support veterans, current members of the military, and all

military families while making Florida the most veteran-friendly state in the nation. Since July 2013, 1,043 veterans have been licensed

using the military fee waiver and 268 military spouses have been licensed since July 2014, leading to $161,449 in savings. Since

July 2014, 113 veterans were also licensed using the VALOR, or Veterans Application for Licensure Online Response, program. MQA

is currently working with the Florida Department of Veteran Affairs to raise further awareness about the program while promoting job

opportunities within local county health departments.

Much progress has also been made in the area of controlled substance abuse through regulation of pain management clinics. MQA is

at the forefront of the Department’s efforts to enforce regulation and reduce over-prescribing and unchecked dispensing of controlled

substances. Before pain management clinics were regulated and required to meet patient safety standards, the landscape was dotted

with what were coined “pill mills.” Through collaboration with law enforcement partners, other agencies and concerned entities, we have

reduced the numbers of pain management facilities and made those in business more accountable.

This report reflects our achieved success and shares improvement strategies with our customers and stakeholders. I am confident that

the achievements highlighted only foreshadow similar advancements in the years to come.