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2016 Legislation

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Summaries of the enrolled bills from the 2016 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.

House Bills

  • 173 Medical Faculty Certificates
  • 221 Health Care Services
  • 307/1313 Medical Use of Cannabis/Low-THC Cannabis for Medical Use
  • 373 Mental Health Counseling Interns
  • 375 Physician Assistants
  • 423 Access to Health Care Services
  • 545 Human Trafficking (Massage Therapists and Massage Establishments)
  • 941 Department of Health (all health care practitioners)
  • 977 Behavioral Health Workforce (Psychiatric nurse certification)
  • 1061 Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC)
  • 1063 Public Records (per NLC)
  • 1175 Transparency in Health Care (all health care practitioners)
  • 1241 Ordering of Medication (Pharmacists, physicians, PAs and ARNPs)
  • 7087 Health Care (Telehealth Council)

Medical Faculty Certificates
Effective Date: July 1, 2016
House Bill 173 (Full Text)

This bill revises the list of schools at which certain faculty members are eligible to receive medical faculty certificate to include Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Florida Atlantic University.

Health Care Services (all health care practitioners)
Effective Date: July 1, 2016
House Bill 221 (Full Text)

Prohibits providers from balance biller members of a PPO or EPO for emergency services, or for nonemergency services, when the nonemergency services are provided in a network hospital and the patient had no ability or opportunity to choose a network provider. Consumers who have PPO or EPO coverage would therefore only be responsible for billing differences in circumstances where they knowingly opted to receive out-of-network care. Hospitals are exempt from the balance billing prohibition. Under the bill, the protections for members of HMOs would remain unchanged. Participating and non-participating providers are those defined in s. 627.419, F.S. and s. 627.6471, F.S.

Medical Use of Cannabis/Low-THC Cannabis for Medical Use
Effective Date: Upon becoming law
House Bill 307 (Full Text)
House Bill 1313 (Full Text)

Revising requirements for physicians ordering low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, or a cannabis delivery device; revising the information that the Department of Health is required to include in its online compassionate use registry; providing that dispensing organizations may not dispense low-THC cannabis and medical cannabis unless they meet certain testing requirements; requiring the department to authorize certain dispensing organizations or applicants to provide low-THC cannabis, medical cannabis, and cannabis delivery devices to eligible patients, etc.

Mental Health Counseling Interns
Effective Date: July 1, 2016
House Bill 373 (Full Text)
Senate Bill 12 (Full Text)


During the 2016 Legislative Session, House Bill 373, and companion Senate Bill 12, were passed into law. These bills establish an expiration date for mental health professional intern registrations and update current statutory language. Effective July 1, 2016, the new law:

  • Limits the length of time an intern may practice in the fields of clinical social work, marriage and family therapy and mental health counseling. A registration issued on or before March 31, 2017, may not be renewed or reissued and will expire on March 31, 2022. Current registered interns will receive updated licenses with the new expiration date printed, beginning July 1, 2016. Any registration issued after March 31, 2017, will now expire after five years. No subsequent intern registration may be issued unless the intern has passed the theory and practice examination.
  • Prohibits a person who has held a provisional license issued by the board from applying for an intern registration in the same profession.
  • Clarifies certain supervision requirements detailed in Chapter 491, Florida Statutes. A licensed mental health professional must be on the premises when clinical services are provided by a registered intern in a private practice setting.

For more information, contact the Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling at 850-245-4474 or visit

Physician Assistants
Effective Date: July 1, 2016
House Bill 375 (Full Text)


During the 2016 Legislative Session, House Bill 375 was passed and became law on March 28, 2016, as Chapter 2016-125, Laws of Florida. The bill relates to physician assistant (PA) applicants and licensees and includes the following changes to the law:

  • At renewal, a PA must acknowledge that he/she has completed a minimum of ten (10) hours of continuing medical education in the specialty practice in which the PA has prescriptive privileges. A signed affidavit is no longer required.
  • A PA may perform services delegated by the supervising physician in the PA's practice in accordance with his/her education and training unless expressly prohibited under Chapter 458, Florida Statutes, or the rules adopted by the Board of Medicine, or Chapter 459, Florida Statutes, or the rules adopted by the Board of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • Prescriptions may be written in paper or electronic form but must comply with sections 456.0392(1) and 456.42(1), Florida Statutes.
  • Changes to requirements for licensure:
    • No longer need two letters of recommendation
    • No longer required to submit a sworn, notarized statement regarding criminal history
    • Deletes obsolete provisions related to administering a licensure examination for certain foreign-trained PA applicants

These changes affect PA licensees who practice with allopathic physicians and osteopathic physicians.

For more information, contact the Florida Board of Medicine at 850-245-4131 or visit

Access to Health Care Services
Effective Date: April 14, 2016
(certain sections becoming effective January 1, 2017)

House Bill 423 (Full Text)


Beginning January 1, 2017, Physician Assistants (PAs) and Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNPs) can prescribe controlled substances listed in Schedule II, Schedule III or Schedule IV as defined in s. 893.03 Florida Statutes. An ARNP may only prescribe or dispense a controlled substance as defined in s. 893.03 Florida Statutes if the ARNP graduated from a program with a master’s or doctoral degree in a clinical nursing specialty area with training in specialized practitioner skills. However, all ARNPs and PAs are required to complete at least three hours of continuing education on the safe and effective prescribing of controlled substances. The bill further addresses Schedule II prescribing privileges for both ARNPs and PAs.

Controlled Substances Formulary Committee:
In accordance with HB 423, the Florida Board of Nursing has established a committee to recommend a formulary of controlled substances that an ARNP may or may not prescribe for specific uses or in limited quantities. The Controlled Substances Formulary Committee must consist of three ARNPs recommended by the Board of Nursing; three physicians recommended by the Board of Medicine who are licensed under chapter 458 or 459, Florida Statutes, and have experience with ARNPs; and a pharmacist licensed under chapter 465, Florida Statutes, who holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and is recommended by the Board of Pharmacy.

Appointed members include:
Doreen Cassarino, DNP, FNP-BC, BC-ADM, FAANP from Naples (who will serve as chair of the committee)
Vicky Stone-Gale, DNP, FNP-C, MSN from Plantation
Jim Quinlan, DNP, ARNP from Williston
Bernardo B. Fernandez, Jr., MD, MBA, FACP from Coral Gables
Joshua D. Lenchus, DO, RPh, FACP, SFHM from Davie
Eduardo C. Oliveira, MD, MBA, FCCP from Orlando
Jeffrey Mesaros, PharmD, JD from Orlando

"I am confident in the committee members' ability to carefully analyze the important issues associated with implementing full prescriptive authority for ARNPs. The Board looks forward to receiving the committee's recommendations," stated Jody B. Newman, EdD, EdS, Board Chair.

The Board must adopt, by rule, the committee's initial recommendations no later than October 31, 2016.

Human Trafficking
Effective Date: October 1, 2016
House Bill 545 (Full Text)

Includes human trafficking as predicate offense for felony murder; prohibits permanently branding, or directing permanent branding, of victim of human trafficking; requires DOH to suspend license of massage therapist or massage establishment for specified violations in conjunction with establishment; provides that licensed massage therapist may not receive new or renewal license if applicant is convicted of certain prostitution offenses in conjunction with massage establishment; provides that licensed massage establishment may not receive new or renewal license if specified persons connected with establishment are convicted of certain prostitution offenses in conjunction with establishment; provides that minors may not be charged with specified prostitution offenses; requires person convicted of specified racketeering offenses to register as sexual predator or sexual offender; reenacts various provisions.

Department of Health
Effective Date: July 1, 2016
House Bill 941 (Full Text)

Creating and revising reporting requirements for specified research programs; providing licensing requirements for military members and their spouses; revising provisions relating to regulatory activities of DOH and certain boards; revising education requirements for certain health professions to qualify for license renewal.

Behavioral Health Workforce
Effective Date: Upon becoming law
House Bill 977 (Full Text)

Authorizing a second opinion for admission to a treatment facility to be provided by certain licensed physicians in all counties, rather than counties with a specified population size; restricting to physicians the authorization to dispense certain medications or prescribe certain controlled substances on the premises of a registered pain-management clinic; providing certification criteria for psychiatric nurses; providing that certain acts by a psychiatric nurse constitute grounds for denial of a license or disciplinary action.

Nurse Licensure Compact
Effective Date: December 31, 2018 or upon enactment of the Nurse Licensure Compact in to law by 26 states, whichever occurs first
House Bill 1061 (Full Text)

The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC or compact) is a multi-state agreement that establishes a mutual recognition system for the licensure of registered nurses and licensed practical or vocational nurses. Requires DOH to report certain investigative information to the coordinated licensure information system (CLIS). Requires IPN disclose certain information to DOH; requires a multistate nurse report participation in a treatment program to the DOH. Amends definition of an LPN and RN to include a multistate license. Requires the executive director of the Board of Nursing to serve as state administrator of the Nurse Licensure Compact. Establishes criteria for requesting a multistate license; requires a multistate license to be distinguished from a single-state license; exempts a person holding a multistate license in another state from license by exam or endorsement requirements in Florida.

Public Records and Meetings
Effective Date: December 31, 2018 or upon enactment of the Nurse Licensure Compact in to law by 26 states, whichever occurs first
House Bill 1063 (Full Text)

Exempts from public records a nurse's personal identification information that DOH obtains from the nurse licensing compact coordinated licensure information system; exempts certain meetings of the Interstate Commission of Nurse Licensure Compact Administrators from public meeting requirements and provides an exemption for recordings, minutes, and records generated during the closed portion of such meetings.

Transparency in Health Care (all health care practitioners)
Effective Date: July 1, 2016
House Bill 1175 (Full Text)

Requires a facility licensed under ch. 395, F.S., to provide timely and accurate financial information and quality of service measures to certain individuals; requires a health care practitioner to provide a patient upon his or her request a written or electronic good faith estimate of anticipated charges within a certain timeframe; requires a health insurer to make available on its website certain methods that a policyholder can use to make estimates of certain costs and charges; revises a requirement that a health maintenance organization make certain information available to its subscriber.

Ordering of Medication
Effective Date: July 1, 2016
House Bill 1241 (Full Text)

Providing that a pharmacist may dispense an emergency opioid antagonist pursuant to a non-patient-specific standing order for an autoinjection delivery system or intranasal application delivery system; revising the authority of a licensed physician assistant to order medication under the direction of a supervisory physician for a specified patient; revising the term "prescription" to exclude an order for drugs or medicinal supplies dispensed for administration; authorizing a licensed practitioner to authorize a licensed physician assistant or advanced registered nurse practitioner to order controlled substances for a specified patient under certain circumstances.

Health Care
Effective Date: July 1, 2016
House Bill 7087 (Full Text)

Requiring the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Health, and the Office of Insurance Regulation to collect certain information; creating the Telehealth Advisory Council within the agency for specified purposes; reenacting provisions relating to provider payment of managed medical assistance program participants.

Senate Bills

  • 238 Medical Assistant Certification
  • 450 Physical Therapy
  • 592 Public Records (Department of Financial Services/Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics)
  • 964 Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Medical Assistant Certification
Effective Date: July 1, 2016
Senate Bill 238 (Full Text)

Repealing provisions relating to certification of a medical assistant by the American Association of Medical Assistants or as a Registered Medical Assistant by the American Medical Technologists.

Physical Therapy
Effective Date: Upon becoming law
Senate Bill 450 (Full Text)

Physical Therapy; Revising the definition of the term "practice of physical therapy"; providing that a licensed physical therapist who holds a specified doctoral degree may use specified letters in connection with her or his name or place of business; revising the terms and specified letters prohibited from being used by certain unlicensed persons.

Public Records
Effective Date: Upon becoming law
Senate Bill 592 (Full Text)

Providing an exemption from public records requirements for the personal identifying and location information of certain non-sworn investigative personnel of the Department of Financial Services and the names and personal identifying and location information of the spouses and children of such personnel; providing an exemption from public records requirements for certain identifying and location information of current or former emergency medical technicians or paramedics certified under ch. 401, F.S., and the spouses and children of such emergency medical technicians or paramedics, under specified circumstances; providing for future review and repeal of the exemptions; providing statements of public necessity.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program
Effective Date: July 1, 2016
Senate Bill 964 (Full Text)

Providing that certain acts of dispensing controlled substances in specified facilities are not required to be reported to the prescription drug monitoring program; authorizing the designee of a health care practitioner, pharmacist, pharmacy, prescriber, or dispenser or an impaired practitioner consultant to receive certain information from the prescription drug monitoring program.