HB 249

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to the Florida 211 Network; amending s.
3408.918, F.S.; designating the Agency for Health Care
4Administration as the lead entity for purposes of
5receiving and distributing federal funds; requiring the
6Florida 211 Network to provide services in each county and
7to coordinate services with county emergency management
8agencies during disasters; providing requirements for
9distribution of state funds appropriated for such
10purposes; requiring local matching funds; requiring
11expenditure reports to the Florida Alliance of Information
12and Referral Services, the Agency for Health Care
13Administration, the Governor, and the Legislature;
14defining the term "Florida 211 Network provider";
15providing an appropriation; providing an effective date.
17     WHEREAS, the 2002 Legislature created the "Florida Health
18and Human Services Access Act" in sections 408.911-408.918,
19Florida Statutes, and
20     WHEREAS, the act "authorizes the planning, development,
21and, subject to appropriations, the implementation of a
22statewide Florida 211 Network, which shall serve as the single
23point of coordination for information and referral for health
24and human services" in section 408.918(1), Florida Statutes, and
25     WHEREAS, in order to participate in the Florida 211
26Network, a 211 provider must be certified by the Agency for
27Health Care Administration under section 408.918(2), Florida
28Statutes, and
29     WHEREAS, 211 is the 911 telephone number for nonemergency
30health and human services and for crisis response information,
31is available in 42 counties, and represents 14.7 million people,
32or 82.5 percent of the state's population, and
33     WHEREAS, the Florida Alliance of Information and Referral
34Services is the statewide membership organization in which all
35211 providers participate and which has drafted the Florida 211
36Network business plan identifying the most efficient processes
37by which the Florida 211 Network should expand statewide, and
38     WHEREAS, 211 providers have compiled information on
39thousands of human services programs across the state, and
40     WHEREAS, 211 call centers make it easier for more than 14
41million Floridians to get the information they need to keep them
42out of emergency rooms, off government assistance, out of "deep-
43end" social services programs, safe from abuse, and in stable
44housing, and
45     WHEREAS, 211 call centers also help people find job
46training and assistance, elder care and child care, and before-
47school and after-school care that allow them to stay employed,
49     WHEREAS, during the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons, 211
50call centers provided critically needed support to many
51emergency operations centers, provided information to Floridians
52impacted by hurricanes, were instrumental in identifying unmet
53and emerging needs, and helped mobilize and manage volunteers,
55     WHEREAS, 211 call centers will continue to be a critical
56part of recovery efforts, providing a connection to help for
57people whose lives have been dramatically affected by the 2005
58hurricanes, NOW, THEREFORE,
60Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
62     Section 1.  Section 408.918, Florida Statutes, is amended
63to read:
64     408.918  Florida 211 Network; uniform certification
66     (1)  The Legislature finds that a statewide Florida 211
67Network would be of great benefit to Floridians, particularly in
68times of disaster, and authorizes the planning, development,
69and, subject to appropriations, the implementation of a
70statewide Florida 211 Network, which shall serve as the single
71point of coordination for information and referral for health
72and human services. The objectives for establishing the Florida
73211 Network shall be to:
74     (a)  Provide comprehensive and cost-effective access to
75health and human services information.
76     (b)  Improve access to accurate information by simplifying
77and enhancing state and local health and human services
78information and referral systems and by fostering collaboration
79among information and referral systems, including those serving
80persons with disabilities and special health care needs.
81     (c)  Electronically connect local information and referral
82systems to each other, to service providers, and to consumers of
83information and referral services.
84     (d)  Establish and promote standards for data collection
85and for distributing information among state and local
87     (e)  Promote the use of a common dialing access code and
88the visibility and public awareness of the availability of
89information and referral services.
90     (f)  Provide a management and administrative structure to
91support the Florida 211 Network and establish technical
92assistance, training, and support programs for information and
93referral-service programs.
94     (g)  Test methods for integrating information and referral
95services with local and state health and human services programs
96and for consolidating and streamlining eligibility and case
97management processes.
98     (h)  Provide access to standardized, comprehensive data to
99assist in identifying gaps and needs in health and human
100services programs.
101     (i)  Provide a unified systems plan with a developed
102platform, taxonomy, and standards for data management and
104     (2)  In order to participate in the Florida 211 Network, a
105211 provider must be certified by the Agency for Health Care
106Administration. The agency shall develop criteria for
107certification, as recommended by the Florida Alliance of
108Information and Referral Services, and shall adopt the criteria
109as administrative rules.
110     (a)  If any provider of information and referral services
111or other entity leases a 211 number from a local exchange
112company and is not certified by the agency, the agency shall,
113after consultation with the local exchange company and the
114Public Service Commission, request that the Federal
115Communications Commission direct the local exchange company to
116revoke the use of the 211 number.
117     (b)  The agency shall seek the assistance and guidance of
118the Public Service Commission and the Federal Communications
119Commission in resolving any disputes arising over jurisdiction
120related to 211 numbers.
121     (c)  The agency is designated the lead entity for purposes
122of receiving and distributing funds that may become available
123from the Federal Government to support the Florida 211 Network.
124     (3)(a)  The Florida 211 Network shall be expanded statewide
125to provide services in each county. Each 211 provider shall
126coordinate with each county emergency management agency in the
127211 service area to determine how the Florida 211 Network may be
128used in the event of a disaster, including how a 211 provider
129will respond with information that is essential to assisting
130individuals during a natural disaster.
131     (b)  To implement the Florida 211 Network business plan,
132the agency shall distribute to the Florida Alliance of
133Information and Referral Services funds appropriated to the
134agency to expand the Florida 211 Network statewide and to
135enhance operations of existing 211 providers. The funds
136distributed to the Florida Alliance of Information and Referral
137Services shall be made available to 211 providers on a matching
138basis, with each 211 provider required to provide $1 for each $1
139provided to that 211 provider from state funds appropriated for
140that purpose. At a minimum, the funds shall be used to achieve
141statewide 211 coverage.
142     (c)1.  No later than December 15, 2006, each 211 provider
143that receives funding under this subsection shall report to the
144Florida Alliance of Information and Referral Services the
145expenditure of the state funds on a form developed by the
147     2.  No later than January 1, 2007, the Florida Alliance of
148Information and Referral Services shall provide a statewide
149report to the agency which includes the individual reports and
150aggregated data provided by the 211 providers.
151     3.  No later than February 15, 2007, the agency shall
152submit a report to the Governor, the President of the Senate,
153and the Speaker of the House of Representatives detailing
154expenditure of the funds appropriated to it for the purposes of
155this subsection.
156     (4)  As used in this section, the term "Florida 211 Network
157provider" or "211 provider" means an information and referral
158organization the primary purpose of which is to maintain
159information about human service resources in the community,
160supply descriptive information about the agencies or
161organizations that offer such services, and assist consumers in
162accessing appropriate providers of such services.
163     Section 2.  The sum of $5 million is appropriated for the
1642006-2007 fiscal year from nonrecurring general revenue to the
165Agency for Health Care Administration to fund the statewide
166expansion of the Florida 211 Network to all counties and to
167enhance the operations of existing 211 providers under s.
168408.918, Florida Statutes, as amended by this act. Any funds
169that are not encumbered for the 2006-2007 fiscal year shall
170revert on June 30, 2007, and may be reappropriated in the 2007-
1712008 fiscal year General Appropriations Act for the same
173     Section 3.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

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