A Florida emergency room doctor got the boot from the hospital he contracts with after he offered opt-out letters for $50 to parents who wanted their kids exempt from school mask mandates.
Brian Warden, an emergency room doctor who contracts with Capital Regional Medical Center in Tallahassee, advertised his opt-out letters in a Facebook group called Parents Against Masks, according to the Washington Post.
Screenshots of the posts obtained by a local CBS affiliate show that Warden implored parents in Leon County, Florida to reach out if they wanted a medical exemption for their child.
Warden issued a signed opt-out form on official letterhead through his company, Dove Field Health, in addition to PDFs and originals that would be mailed.
“Also, I am a real doctor,” Warden wrote in the comments of a post when claiming that his opt-out letters are not affiliated with any hospital or group, according to the Post.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported that the Capital Regional’s chief executive, Alan Keesee, announced that Warden had been removed from patient care during a board of trustees meeting on Tuesday night.
Capital Regional spokesperson Rachel Stiles told the Post in a statement that “third-party providers”are expected to adhere to the hospital system’s values such as “absolute integrity.” Stiles did not indicate whether Warden retains any affiliation with the hospital. Stiles confirmed that Warden can no longer see patients.
“Immediately upon learning of this physician’s actions, we began the process of removing him from providing services to our hospital patients,” Stiles told the Post.
Warden’s ouster comes amid a growing number of school districts in Florida defying Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) ban on school mask mandates. Ten districts in the state have bucked DeSantis’ order, meaning that more than half of Florida’s students are required to wear masks thus far.
Leon County — the school district Warden marked his opt-out letters to — joined several other school districts in the state on Sunday in defying DeSantis’ ban by nixing the option for parents to opt their children out of the mask mandate, with the exception of medical accommodations.