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Vetoes Target Biomed, Health Projects

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Gov. Rick Scott vetoed nearly $57 million from the state’s Health and Human Services budget Tuesday, including $9.25 million for biomedical research.

Scott’s red pen cut $3 million earmarked for the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in Orlando's Lake Nona. Sanford-Burnham officials said the money was to fund the Florida Translational Research Program for another year.

The program provides Florida-based scientists access to professionals and state-of-the-art technological resources for drug discovery, said Patrick Bartosch, a spokesman for Sanford-Burnham. It’s aimed at unmet medical needs, he said.

“The (program) is an extremely successful program that has grown over three years, and researchers from universities and nonprofit institutes across the state have participated in it,” Bartosch said in a statement. “We are currently evaluating what the governor’s veto means for the FTRP and how to proceed.”

A total of $461 million was cut from the final $78 billion budget for the state on Tuesday. Scott said many of the projects he cut were either allocated in a non-competitive manner, or because the money was addressed elsewhere in the budget.

In his veto note, Scott said his health care budget was focused on access, quality and costs.

The vetoes related to health care totaling $1 million or more include: 

·         Florida State University Medical School, Facility for Rural and Underserved Areas: $3 million

·         Intermediate Care Facilities for Developmentally Disabled rate increase: $3.9 million

·         Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, St. Petersburg: $9.5 million

·         Florida State University Rural Primary Care Residency Program: $3 million

·         Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Orlando: $3 million

·         Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies – Florida Drug Discovery Acceleration Program, Port St. Lucie: $2.5 million

·         Scripps Research Institute, Jupiter: $1 million

·         Vaccine and Gene Research Institute, Port St. Lucie: $2.5 million

·         Miami Project to Cure Paralysis: $1 million

·         All Children’s Hospital Pediatric Research Zone, St. Petersburg: $2 million

Mary Shedden contributed to this report. Abe Aboraya is a reporter with WMFEin Orlando. Health News Florida receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.