Florida Senate - 2020                                     SB 350
       By Senator Bean
       4-00070-20                                             2020350__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the impaired practitioner program;
    3         amending s. 456.076, F.S.; creating the student
    4         evaluation program within the Department of Health for
    5         a specified purpose; providing program eligibility;
    6         requiring consultants to redact a student’s personal
    7         identifying information and to forward the invoice for
    8         an evaluation to the department; requiring the
    9         department to pay the evaluator upon receipt of the
   10         invoice from the consultant; requiring the consultant
   11         to provide certain monthly reports to the department;
   12         providing for legislative approval of program funding
   13         from the Medical Quality Assurance Trust Fund;
   14         requiring that, if program funding is exhausted in a
   15         fiscal year, the program cease operations until
   16         additional funding becomes available; providing an
   17         effective date.
   19  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   21         Section 1. Present subsection (18) of section 456.076,
   22  Florida Statutes, is renumbered, and a new subsection (18) is
   23  added to that section, to read:
   24         456.076 Impaired practitioner programs.—
   25         (18) A student evaluation program is created within the
   26  department to fund the evaluation of students who are preparing
   27  for licensure as practitioners and who have or are suspected of
   28  having an impairment that could affect a student’s ability to
   29  practice with skill and safety if the student were licensed,
   30  registered, or certified. The purpose of the student evaluation
   31  program is to reduce risks to patients which are caused by
   32  impaired practice.
   33         (a) All of the following conditions must be satisfied for a
   34  student to be eligible to participate in the student evaluation
   35  program:
   36         1. The student must be enrolled in a school or program
   37  located in this state for the purpose of preparing for
   38  licensure, registration, or certification as a practitioner.
   39         2.The student’s school or program must have a contract in
   40  place with a consultant to provide impaired practitioner program
   41  services to its students, as provided in this section.
   42         3.At the time of the referral to the consultant, the
   43  student must have or be suspected of having an impairment that
   44  could affect his or her ability to practice with skill and
   45  safety if he or she were licensed, registered, or certified.
   46         4.The consultant must have required the student to be
   47  evaluated by an evaluator to determine whether the student has
   48  an impairment and whether treatment or other actions are
   49  necessary to ensure the student is safe to practice.
   50         5.The student must be unable to afford the cost of the
   51  evaluation due to financial hardship, as determined by the
   52  student’s school or program. For purposes of this subparagraph,
   53  a student is deemed to have a financial hardship if he or she is
   54  unemployed; is receiving payments under a federal or state
   55  public assistance program; has a monthly income that is at or
   56  below 150 percent of the federal income poverty level, as
   57  published annually by the United States Department of Health and
   58  Human Services; or does not have insurance that would fully fund
   59  the evaluation. The student’s school or program is solely
   60  responsible for determining whether the student has a financial
   61  hardship and must consider the magnitude of the student’s
   62  indebtedness. This eligibility determination is final and is not
   63  subject to review under chapter 120.
   64         (b) After the student’s eligibility for the student
   65  evaluation program has been determined and the evaluation has
   66  been completed, the consultant shall redact the student’s
   67  personal identifying information and forward the invoice for the
   68  evaluation to the department. Upon receipt of the invoice, the
   69  department shall directly pay the evaluator.
   70         (c) The consultant must provide to the department monthly
   71  reports relating to the student evaluation program which include
   72  the number of students who have been evaluated and, for each
   73  student, the cost of evaluation. For any eligible student
   74  participating in an impaired practitioner program, the reports
   75  must give the student’s current status in the program, the
   76  student’s expected completion date, the evaluator’s name, and
   77  the evaluation date. Such reports may not contain any personal
   78  identifying information.
   79         (d) Program funding must be made available each fiscal year
   80  from the Medical Quality Assurance Trust Fund, as provided by
   81  legislative appropriation or by an approved amendment to the
   82  department’s operating budget pursuant to chapter 216. If
   83  available funding is exhausted in any fiscal year, the program
   84  must cease operations until additional funding becomes
   85  available.
   86         (19)(18)(a) The consultant may contract with a school or
   87  program to provide impaired practitioner program services to a
   88  student enrolled for the purpose of preparing for licensure as a
   89  health care practitioner as defined in this chapter or as a
   90  veterinarian under chapter 474 if the student has or is
   91  suspected of having an impairment. The department is not
   92  responsible for paying for the care provided by approved
   93  treatment providers or approved treatment programs or for the
   94  services provided by a consultant to a student.
   95         (b) A medical school accredited by the Liaison Committee on
   96  Medical Education or the Commission on Osteopathic College
   97  Accreditation, or another school providing for the education of
   98  students enrolled in preparation for licensure as a health care
   99  practitioner as defined in this chapter, or a veterinarian under
  100  chapter 474, which is governed by accreditation standards
  101  requiring notice and the provision of due process procedures to
  102  students, is not liable in any civil action for referring a
  103  student to the consultant retained by the department or for
  104  disciplinary actions that adversely affect the status of a
  105  student when the disciplinary actions are instituted in
  106  reasonable reliance on the recommendations, reports, or
  107  conclusions provided by such consultant, if the school, in
  108  referring the student or taking disciplinary action, adheres to
  109  the due process procedures adopted by the applicable
  110  accreditation entities and if the school committed no
  111  intentional fraud in carrying out the provisions of this
  112  section.
  113         Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.