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Summaries of the enrolled bills from the 2014 legislative session that affect Florida's health care professions. Click on hyperlinks to view a brief summary, effective date and a link to the final enrolled text.
- HB 323: Pharmacy
HB 323 : This bill removes the cap on the number of pharmacy technicians the Board of Pharmacy may authorize one pharmacist to supervise and revises the composition of the Board. The number of pharmacists representing community and Class II institutional pharmacies is increased from a minimum of one in each category, to a minimum of two each. The bill authorizes pharmacists to administer the meningococcal vaccine under physician protocol and removes the requirement for a pharmacist to have a prescription from a physician to administer the shingles vaccine. The bill revises the format for written prescriptions for controlled substances by permitting the date to be in numeric month/day/year format or the month written out in whole, and by removing the requirement that the quantity and date appear on the face of the prescription.
- SB 390: Public Records
SB 390 : This bill creates a public records exemption for identification and location information of certain current and former personnel of the Department of Health, their spouses, and their children. The exemption applies to records of those personnel whose duties include or result in the determination or adjudication of eligibility for social security disability benefits, the investigation or prosecution of complaints against health care practitioners, or the inspection of health care practitioners or health care facilities.
- SB 520: Public Records
SB 520 : This bill creates a public records exemption for personal identifying information provided by dentists or dental hygienists to the Department of Health in their responses to dental workforce surveys. The bill makes the information confidential and exempt, but requires disclosure of the data with written consent of the licensee or his or her authorized representative or by court order, and allows disclosure to a research entity pursuant to an approved research protocol and purchase and use agreement.
- SB 674: Background Screening
SB 674 : This bill revises the background screening provisions for persons required by law to undergo criminal background screening. The bill updates the disqualifying offenses to include additional offenses involving fraudulent activity for persons screened as part of health care facility licensure and added offenses involving attempting, soliciting, or conspiring to commit a listed disqualifying offense for any person subject to background screening. The three-year waiting period after payment of court-ordered monetary amounts in order to be eligible for an exemption from disqualification for certain felony convictions is eliminated. Screenings handled through the Care Provider Background Screening Clearinghouse (clearinghouse) must now be initiated and registered through the clearinghouse prior to referring the employee or potential employee for fingerprinting. Additionally, certain identifying information of the person to be fingerprinted must be submitted on behalf of all persons to be screened. The bill provides for the submission of an individual taxpayer identification number if a social security number cannot be obtained and allows health care facilities and employers that are required to conduct background screenings to submit an attestation, rather than an affidavit, that they have complied with the screening requirements. The statutory placement of the requirement for submission of a photograph taken at the time of fingerprinting is relocated so that it is not a requirement for all screenings but only for those handled through the clearinghouse. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is authorized to provide driver’s license photographs to the Department of Health and the Agency for Health Care Administration pursuant to an interagency agreement with each agency.
- SB 1030: Cannabis
SB 1030 : This bill creates the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014. Notwithstanding the criminal prohibitions in Ch. 893, F.S., the act allows: Patients and their legal representatives to possess and purchase low-THC cannabis; Owners, managers, and employees of a dispensing organization to manufacture, possess, sell, deliver, distribute, dispense, and lawfully dispose of low-THC cannabis; Recognized medical centers to conduct research on cannabidiol and low-THC cannabis, and; State universities, with both medical and agricultural research programs, to conduct research on cannabidiol and low-THC cannabis. The act also creates an exception from the definition of “cannabis” in s. 893.02, F.S., for low-THC cannabis that is manufactured, possessed, sold, purchased, delivered, distributed, or dispensed, in conformance with newly created s. 381.986, F.S.
- SB 1036: Nursing Education Programs
SB 1036 : This bill establishes a schedule for all registered nurse (RN) pre-licensure education programs to become accredited by a specialized nursing accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. The accrediting agencies that are currently recognized include the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. The bill requires an applicant for licensure who takes the exam more than six months after graduation to take a licensure examination preparatory course. The applicant may not use state or federal financial aid to pay for the course. The bill revises the graduate passage rate a licensed practical nurse or RN education program which is not accredited must have in order to retain its approval from the Board of Nursing to operate. In addition, the bill: Increases the limit on clinical training that can be by simulation from 25% to 50%; adds clinical simulation to the definition of clinical training, thereby allowing it to count toward the required amount, and; specifies that the required clinical training be completed in the United States, the District of Columbia, or a possession or territory of the United States. The bill exempts a nurse who is certified by a health care specialty program that is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies or Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification from the biennial continuing education requirement. It also modifies the definition of practice of practical nursing to include the teaching of general principles of health and wellness to the public.
- HB 1065: Licensed Massage Therapists
HB 1065 : This bill requires certain persons to submit to background screening. Such persons include applicants for licensure as a massage therapist and persons with an ownership interest in, or management responsibilities for a corporation that has more than $250,000 of business assets in this state, the owner, officer, or individual directly involved in the management of, a massage establishment. Current licensees must comply by January 1, 2015. The applicant or licensee must submit fingerprints electronically to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for an FBI national criminal history check and ongoing verification against incoming Florida arrests. The fingerprints and the results of the screens are entered into the Care Provider Background Clearinghouse for use by the Department of Health in its licensing activities. The bill requires the Board of Massage Therapy and the Department to deny an application for new or renewed licensure if the applicant is determined to have been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to certain disqualifying offenses. The bill also requires the Department to enter an emergency order suspending the license of a massage therapist or massage establishment if it learns that the massage therapist or person who is subject to background screening for the massage establishment license has been convicted of, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, one of the specified criminal acts. Finally, the bill exempts physicians and chiropractors who employ a licensed massage therapist to provide service to patients in their office from the requirement to obtain a massage establishment license.
- HB 1131: Emergency Allergy Treatment
HB 1131 : This bill renames the Insect Sting Emergency Treatment Act to the Emergency Allergy Treatment Act. The act’s scope is expanded to include all emergency allergy reactions and to broaden the availability of epinephrine auto-injectors to additional authorized entities. For persons who administer lifesaving treatment to persons who have severe allergic reactions when a physician is not immediately available, the requirements for certification are modified to require training to be conducted by a nationally recognized organization or entity approved by the Department of Health, rather than a physician. Authorized entities may also obtain a prescription for epinephrine auto-injectors, then stock and store it for later use by a certified individual on a person who the individual believes in good faith is experiencing a severe allergic reaction. An authorized entity may make an epinephrine auto-injector available to a person who does not have a certification upon remote authorization from a health care practitioner. Immunity from civil liability is provided under s. 768.13, F.S., the Good Samaritan Act, to certain persons who possess, administer, or store an epinephrine auto-injector in compliance with the Emergency Allergy Treatment Act under specific parameters.
- SB 1194: Citizen Support and Direct Support Organizations
SB 1194 : This bill creates new reporting and transparency requirements for each Citizen Support Organization (CSO) and Direct Support Organization (DSO) that is created or authorized pursuant to law or executive order and created, approved, or administered by a state agency. The bill requires each CSO and DSO to report information related to its organization, mission, and finances to the agency it was created to support. A contract between an agency and a CSO or DSO must require the CSO or DSO to provide such information to the agency, and must require the agency to terminate the contract if the CSO or DSO fails to provide the information for two consecutive years. The bill requires each agency receiving such information from a CSO or DSO to make the information available on its website, and to provide a link to the CSO’s or DSO’s website if such a website exists. The bill requires each agency to annually report to the Governor, the Legislature, and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability the information provided to the agency by the CSO or DSO, and to make a recommendation on whether to continue, terminate, or modify the agency’s association with the CSO or DSO. The bill provides that a law creating or authorizing the creation of a CSO or DSO must state that the creation or authorization is repealed on October 1 of the fifth year after enactment, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature. The bill directs the Legislature to review CSOs and DSOs in existence on the effective date of the bill by July 1, 2019. The bill provides for the future repeal of certain sections of law authorizing CSOs and DSOs, unless those sections are reviewed and saved from repeal by the Legislature.
- SB 1700: Public Records
SB 1700 : This bill creates a new public records exemption for patient and physician personal identifying information held by the Department of Health in the compassionate use registry (created by the passage of CS/CS/SB 1030). The bill makes such information confidential and exempt from the public records requirements of s. 119.07(1), F.S., and Art. I, s. 24(a), State Constitution. The bill allowed law enforcement agencies, low-THC marijuana dispensing organizations, physicians, the Department’s relevant health care regulatory boards, and persons engaged in bona fide research to access the information in the registry under certain circumstances. The bill also requires that such confidential information remain confidential once released from the registry, provides penalties for violating the provisions of the exemption, and states the public necessity of creating the public records exemption.
- HB 7015: Military and Veteran Support
HB 7015 : This bill broadens eligibility for initial licensing fee waivers for professions regulated by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Department of Health. Current law waives initial licensing fees for honorably discharged veterans who have separated from the military within 24 months. The bill expands the timeframe for eligibility to 60 months of separation and also extends the fee waiver to the spouse of an honorably discharged veteran (separated from the military within 60 months). The bill authorizes a recently separated military service member who served as a health care practitioner in the military to obtain a license to practice as a health care practitioner in Florida if the applicant: Has an active license in another state; Had no disciplinary actions taken against his or her license within five years of applying for licensure; Received or will receive an honorable discharge within 6 months of applying for licensure, and; Actively practiced the profession for three years prior to applying for licensure. This expedited licensure process applies to a wide range of health care occupations that are licensed and regulated by the Division of Medical Quality Assurance within the Department of Health. The bill requires the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine to establish a simplified application process for military and veteran physicians to obtain such a temporary certificate. The bill also allows a military or veteran physician with a temporary certificate to enter into a contract to provide volunteer services and obtain sovereign immunity pursuant to s. 766.1115, F.S.
- HB 7077: Non-Resident Sterile Compounding Permits
HB 7077 : This bill requires a non-resident pharmacy or an outsourcing facility that is not located in this state to obtain a non-resident sterile compounding permit prior to sending a compounded sterile product into this state. Currently-registered non-resident pharmacies must be permitted by February 28, 2015. Any compounded sterile product shipped, mailed, delivered, or dispensed into this state must meet or exceed this state’s standards for sterile compounding. The bill establishes application and inspection requirements for the nonresident sterile compounding permit as well as responsibilities for the Department of Health and the Board of Pharmacy to develop application forms, fees, and additional procedures to administer the permit. The Department and Board are provided with enhanced oversight responsibility for these entities including authority to inspect a non-resident pharmacy or a non-resident sterile compounding permittee; the cost of which is to be borne by the pharmacy or permittee. The Board is authorized to discipline a non-resident pharmacy for conduct which causes or could cause serious bodily or psychological injury to a human or serious bodily injury to an animal immediately, without waiting 180 days for the resident state to act. The Board is also authorized to discipline non-resident pharmacies and non-resident sterile compounding permittees for specified acts of noncompliance.
- HB 7177: Open Government Sunset Review Act
HB7177 : This bill re-enacts the public records exemption for personal identifying information held by the Department of Health in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) database. If not re-enacted by the Legislature the public records exemption would have been automatically repealed on October 2, 2014. The bill also made several substantive changes to the public records exemption. The bill requires a law enforcement agency to enter into a user agreement with the Department before the Department may release PDMP information to that agency. Information released to the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud investigators, the Department’s health care regulatory boards, and law enforcement agencies may only be shared with criminal justice agencies if the information is relevant to the investigation that prompted the request. Before sharing such information, the person or entity disclosing the information must take steps to ensure the continued confidentiality of all confidential and exempt information including, but not limited to, redacting any non-relevant information. The bill prohibits a state attorney from releasing confidential and exempt information shared by the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud investigators or law enforcement agencies in response to a discovery demand unless the information is directly related to the criminal case for which the information was requested. Unrelated information may be released upon a court order.
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