FL Senate set to begin confirmation review of Surgeon General Rivkees. Will it be controversial?

Florida's surgeon general
Florida's new surgeon general. Credit: University of Florida

The Florida Senate is scheduled to begin the confirmation process for state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees this week, and it could become controversial.

The Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations subcommittee will consider his  confirmation at a 4 p.m. meeting Wednesday.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Rivkees, a prominent pediatric researcher from the University of Florida, last spring. But after questions were raised about Rivkees’ time at UF, including a sexual harassment investigation, the Senate delayed his confirmation process until the 2020 session, which begins Tuesday.

Here is a Florida Phoenix story on Rivkees’ background.

Aside from the sexual harassment investigation, senators have already raised questions about how Rivkees can balance his job as a UF researcher along with his duties as surgeon general and his supervision of the Florida Department of Health.

If Rivkees wins a favorable vote from the Senate health budget subcommittee, he will face additional hearings before the Senate Health Policy and Ethics and Elections committees. Once he clears the committee reviews, the full Senate will vote on his confirmation.

If the Senate fails to confirm Rivkees in the 2020 session, DeSantis will be forced to name a new surgeon general, who will face a future confirmation process.