Broward County

Hollywood eye doctor keeps license while doing time

Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, left, is a Hollywood ophthalmologist who has raised millions for Florida politicians. Here he exits federal court with his lawyers after his bond hearing in September 2009.
Dr. Alan Mendelsohn, left, is a Hollywood ophthalmologist who has raised millions for Florida politicians. Here he exits federal court with his lawyers after his bond hearing in September 2009. AP

A Florida appeals court has rejected an emergency request by the state’s Department of Health to temporarily reverse the reinstated medical license of a prominent ophthalmologist while he completes a federal prison sentence in a Dania Beach halfway house.

But the court also moved on Nov. 26 to expedite the health department’s appeal of a ruling by the state Board of Medicine, which in August reinstated the license of Alan Mendelsohn, a Hollywood eye doctor who raised millions for Florida politicians.

The Department of Health asked the Board of Medicine to reconsider that decision in October, emphasizing that Mendelsohn had not yet complied with the terms of a settlement agreement. The agreement states, in part, that Mendelsohn will not apply for reinstatement of his license until his “release’’ from prison.

Mendelsohn was sentenced to four years in federal prison, followed by two years of probation, for his role in a highly publicized political corruption case. He began serving his sentence in January 2012.

The federal Bureau of Prisons, which operates the Dania Beach halfway house, has custody of Mendelsohn until June 30, 2015.

The Board of Medicine denied the health department’s request for reconsideration, leading the agency to file an appeal with the 1st District Court of Appeal and to request an emergency stay on the board’s action.

The three-judge appeals court denied the department’s request for a stay by a 2-1 vote, with Judge Scott Makar writing in his dissent that “absent a stay, a felon is allowed to practice medicine from a federally controlled halfway house while still serving his criminal sentence.’’

— DANIEL CHANG

A previous version of this article reported a shorter prison sentence for Alan Mendelsohn.

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