HB 249

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to the Florida 211 Network; amending s.
3408.918, F.S.; requiring the Florida 211 Network to
4provide services in each county and to coordinate services
5with county emergency management agencies during
6disasters; providing requirements for distribution of
7state funds appropriated for such purposes; requiring
8local matching funds; requiring expenditure reports to the
9Florida Alliance of Information and Referral Services, the
10Agency for Health Care Administration, the Governor, and
11the Legislature; providing an appropriation; providing an
12effective date.
14     WHEREAS, the 2002 Legislature created the "Florida Health
15and Human Services Access Act" in ss. 408.911-408.918, Florida
16Statutes, and
17     WHEREAS, the act "authorizes the planning, development,
18and, subject to appropriations, the implementation of a
19statewide Florida 211 Network, which shall serve as the single
20point of coordination for information and referral for health
21and human services" in s. 408.918(1), Florida Statutes, and
22     WHEREAS, in order to participate in the Florida 211
23Network, a 211 provider must be certified by the Agency for
24Health Care Administration under s. 408.918(2), Florida
25Statutes, and
26     WHEREAS, 211 is the 911 telephone number for nonemergency
27health and human services and for crisis response information,
28is available in 36 counties, and represents 13.1 million people,
29or 77.5 percent of the state's population, and
30     WHEREAS, the Florida Alliance of Information and Referral
31Services is the statewide membership organization in which all
32211 providers participate and which has drafted the Florida 211
33Network business plan identifying the most efficient processes
34by which the Florida 211 Network should expand statewide, and
35     WHEREAS, 211 providers, who answer 3 million telephone
36inquiries about human services annually, have compiled
37information on thousands of human services programs across the
38state, and
39     WHEREAS, 211 call centers make it easier for 11 million
40Floridians to get the information they need to keep them out of
41emergency rooms, off government assistance, out of "deep-end"
42social services programs, safe from abuse, and in stable
43housing, and
44     WHEREAS, 211 call centers also help people find job
45training and assistance, elder care and child care, and before-
46school and after-school care that allow them to stay employed,
48     WHEREAS, during the 2004 hurricanes, 211 call centers
49provided critically needed support to many emergency management
50agencies, provided information to more than 100,000 Floridians
51impacted by hurricanes, were instrumental in identifying unmet
52and emerging needs, and helped mobilize and manage volunteers,
54     WHEREAS, 211 will continue to be a critical part of
55recovery efforts, providing a connection to help for people
56whose lives have been dramatically affected by the 2004
57hurricanes, NOW, THEREFORE,
59Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
61     Section 1.  Section 408.918, Florida Statutes, is amended
62to read:
63     408.918  Florida 211 Network; uniform certification
65     (1)  The Legislature finds that a statewide Florida 211
66Network would be of great benefit to Floridians, particularly in
67times of disaster, and authorizes the planning, development,
68and, subject to appropriations, the implementation of a
69statewide Florida 211 Network, which shall serve as the single
70point of coordination for information and referral for health
71and human services. The objectives for establishing the Florida
72211 Network shall be to:
73     (a)  Provide comprehensive and cost-effective access to
74health and human services information.
75     (b)  Improve access to accurate information by simplifying
76and enhancing state and local health and human services
77information and referral systems and by fostering collaboration
78among information and referral systems.
79     (c)  Electronically connect local information and referral
80systems to each other, to service providers, and to consumers of
81information and referral services.
82     (d)  Establish and promote standards for data collection
83and for distributing information among state and local
85     (e)  Promote the use of a common dialing access code and
86the visibility and public awareness of the availability of
87information and referral services.
88     (f)  Provide a management and administrative structure to
89support the Florida 211 Network and establish technical
90assistance, training, and support programs for information and
91referral-service programs.
92     (g)  Test methods for integrating information and referral
93services with local and state health and human services programs
94and for consolidating and streamlining eligibility and case
95management processes.
96     (h)  Provide access to standardized, comprehensive data to
97assist in identifying gaps and needs in health and human
98services programs.
99     (i)  Provide a unified systems plan with a developed
100platform, taxonomy, and standards for data management and
102     (2)  In order to participate in the Florida 211 Network, a
103211 provider must be certified by the Agency for Health Care
104Administration. The agency shall develop criteria for
105certification, as recommended by the Florida Alliance of
106Information and Referral Services, and shall adopt the criteria
107as administrative rules.
108     (a)  If any provider of information and referral services
109or other entity leases a 211 number from a local exchange
110company and is not certified by the agency, the agency shall,
111after consultation with the local exchange company and the
112Public Service Commission, request that the Federal
113Communications Commission direct the local exchange company to
114revoke the use of the 211 number.
115     (b)  The agency shall seek the assistance and guidance of
116the Public Service Commission and the Federal Communications
117Commission in resolving any disputes arising over jurisdiction
118related to 211 numbers.
119     (3)(a)  The Florida 211 Network shall be expanded statewide
120to provide services in each county. Each 211 provider shall
121coordinate with each county emergency management agency in the
122211 service area to determine how the Florida 211 Network may be
123used in the event of a disaster.
124     (b)  To implement the Florida 211 Network business plan,
125the agency shall distribute to the Florida Alliance of
126Information and Referral Services funds appropriated to the
127agency to expand the Florida 211 Network statewide and to
128enhance operations of existing 211 providers. The funds
129distributed to the Florida Alliance of Information and Referral
130Services shall be made available to 211 providers based on a
131formula developed by the Florida Alliance of Information and
132Referral Services, which includes a disparity factor ensuring
133that all areas of the state, urban and rural, receive an
134equitable share of the state-appropriated funds, and on a
135matching basis, with each 211 provider required to provide $1
136for each $1 provided to that 211 provider from state funds
137appropriated for that purpose. At a minimum, the funds shall be
138used to achieve statewide coverage.
139     (c)1.  No later than December 15, 2006, each 211 provider
140that receives funding under this subsection shall report to the
141Florida Alliance of Information and Referral Services the
142expenditure of the state funds on a form developed by the
144     2.  No later than January 1, 2007, the Florida Alliance of
145Information and Referral Services shall provide a statewide
146report to the agency that includes the individual reports and
147aggregated data provided by the 211 providers.
148     3.  No later than February 15, 2007, the agency shall
149submit a report to the Governor, the President of the Senate,
150and the Speaker of the House of Representatives detailing
151expenditure of the funds appropriated to it for the purposes of
152this subsection.
153     Section 2.  The sum of $5 million is appropriated for
154fiscal year 2006-2007 from the General Revenue Fund to the
155Agency for Health Care Administration to fund the statewide
156expansion of the Florida 211 Network to all counties and to
157enhance the operations of existing 211 providers pursuant to s.
158408.918, Florida Statutes, as amended by this act.
159     Section 3.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.