Florida Senate - 2021 SB 130
By Senator Rouson
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to mental health and substance use
3 disorders; amending s. 394.4573, F.S.; providing that
4 the use of peer specialists is an essential element of
5 a coordinated system of care in recovery from a
6 substance use disorder or mental illness; making a
7 technical change; amending s. 397.4073, F.S.; revising
8 background screening requirements for certain peer
9 specialists; amending s. 397.417, F.S.; providing
10 legislative findings and intent; revising requirements
11 for certification as a peer specialist; requiring the
12 Department of Children and Families to develop a
13 training program for peer specialists and to give
14 preference to trainers who are certified peer
15 specialists; requiring the training program to
16 coincide with a competency exam and to be based on
17 current practice standards; requiring the department
18 to certify peer specialists, either directly or by
19 approving a third-party credentialing entity;
20 requiring that a person providing recovery support
21 services be certified or be supervised by a licensed
22 behavioral health care professional or a certified
23 peer specialist; authorizing the department, a
24 behavioral health managing entity, or the Medicaid
25 program to reimburse a peer specialist service as a
26 recovery service; encouraging Medicaid managed care
27 plans to use peer specialists in providing recovery
28 services; requiring peer specialists and certain
29 persons to meet the requirements of a background
30 screening as a condition of employment and continued
31 employment; requiring certain entities to forward
32 fingerprints to specified entities; requiring that
33 fees for state and federal fingerprint processing be
34 borne by the peer specialist applying for employment;
35 requiring that any arrest record identified through
36 background screening be reported to the department;
37 authorizing the department or certain other agencies
38 to contract with certain vendors for fingerprinting;
39 specifying requirements for vendors; specifying
40 disqualifying offenses for a peer specialist who
41 applies for certification; authorizing a person who
42 does not meet background screening requirements to
43 request an exemption from disqualification from the
44 department or the agency; providing that a peer
45 specialist certified as of the effective date of this
46 act is deemed to satisfy the requirements of this act;
47 providing an effective date.
49 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
51 Section 1. Paragraph (l) of subsection (2) and subsection
52 (3) of section 394.4573, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
53 394.4573 Coordinated system of care; annual assessment;
54 essential elements; measures of performance; system improvement
55 grants; reports.—On or before December 1 of each year, the
56 department shall submit to the Governor, the President of the
57 Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives an
58 assessment of the behavioral health services in this state. The
59 assessment shall consider, at a minimum, the extent to which
60 designated receiving systems function as no-wrong-door models,
61 the availability of treatment and recovery services that use
62 recovery-oriented and peer-involved approaches, the availability
63 of less-restrictive services, and the use of evidence-informed
64 practices. The assessment shall also consider the availability
65 of and access to coordinated specialty care programs and
66 identify any gaps in the availability of and access to such
67 programs in the state. The department’s assessment shall
68 consider, at a minimum, the needs assessments conducted by the
69 managing entities pursuant to s. 394.9082(5). Beginning in 2017,
70 the department shall compile and include in the report all plans
71 submitted by managing entities pursuant to s. 394.9082(8) and
72 the department’s evaluation of each plan.
73 (2) The essential elements of a coordinated system of care
75 (l) Recovery support, including, but not limited to, the
76 use of peer specialists to assist in the individual’s recovery
77 from a substance use disorder or mental illness; support for
78 competitive employment, educational attainment, independent
79 living skills development, family support and education,
80 wellness management, and self-care;
, and assistance in obtaining
81 housing that meets the individual’s needs. Such housing may
82 include mental health residential treatment facilities, limited
83 mental health assisted living facilities, adult family care
84 homes, and supportive housing. Housing provided using state
85 funds must provide a safe and decent environment free from abuse
86 and neglect.
87 (3) SYSTEM IMPROVEMENT GRANTS.—Subject to a specific
88 appropriation by the Legislature, the department may award
89 system improvement grants to managing entities based on a
90 detailed plan to enhance services in accordance with the no
91 wrong-door model as defined in subsection (1) and to address
92 specific needs identified in the assessment prepared by the
93 department pursuant to this section. Such a grant must be
94 awarded through a performance-based contract that links payments
95 to the documented and measurable achievement of system
97 Section 2. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section
98 397.4073, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
99 397.4073 Background checks of service provider personnel.—
100 (1) PERSONNEL BACKGROUND CHECKS; REQUIREMENTS AND
102 (a) For all individuals screened on or after July 1, 2021
103 2019, background checks shall apply as follows:
104 1. All owners, directors, chief financial officers, and
105 clinical supervisors of service providers are subject to level 2
106 background screening as provided under s. 408.809 and chapter
107 435. Inmate substance abuse programs operated directly or under
108 contract with the Department of Corrections are exempt from this
110 2. All service provider personnel who have direct contact
111 with children receiving services or with adults who are
112 developmentally disabled receiving services are subject to level
113 2 background screening as provided under s. 408.809 and chapter
115 3. All peer specialists who have direct contact with
116 individuals receiving services are subject to a background
117 screening as provided in s. 397.417(5) level 2 background
118 screening as provided under s. 408.809 and chapter 435.
119 Section 3. Section 397.417, Florida Statutes, is amended to
121 397.417 Peer specialists.—
122 (1) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND INTENT.—
123 (a) The Legislature finds that:
124 1. The ability to provide adequate behavioral health
125 services is limited by a shortage of professionals and
127 2. The state is experiencing an increase in opioid
128 addictions, many of which prove fatal.
129 3. Peer specialists provide effective support services
130 because they share common life experiences with the persons they
132 4. Peer specialists promote a sense of community among
133 those in recovery.
134 5. Research has shown that peer support facilitates
135 recovery and reduces health care costs.
136 6. Persons who are otherwise qualified to serve as peer
137 specialists may have a criminal history that prevents them from
138 meeting background screening requirements.
139 (b) The Legislature intends to expand the use of peer
140 specialists as a cost-effective means of providing services. The
141 Legislature also intends to ensure that peer specialists meet
142 specified qualifications and modified background screening
143 requirements and are adequately reimbursed for their services.
144 (2) QUALIFICATIONS.—
145 (a) A person may seek certification as a peer specialist if
146 he or she has been in recovery from a substance use disorder or
147 mental illness for the past 2 years or if he or she is a family
148 member or caregiver of a person with a substance use disorder or
149 mental illness.
150 (b) To obtain certification as a peer specialist, a person
151 must complete the training program developed under subsection
152 (3), achieve a passing score on the competency exam described in
153 paragraph (3)(a), and meet the background screening requirements
154 specified in subsection (5).
155 (3) DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT.—
156 (a) The department shall develop a training program for
157 persons seeking certification as peer specialists. The
158 department must give preference to trainers who are certified
159 peer specialists. The training program must coincide with a
160 competency exam and be based on current practice standards.
161 (b) The department may certify peer specialists directly or
162 may approve one or more third-party credentialing entities for
163 the purposes of certifying peer specialists, approving training
164 programs for individuals seeking certification as peer
165 specialists, approving continuing education programs, and
166 establishing the minimum requirements and standards applicants
167 must meet to maintain certification.
168 (c) The department shall require that a person providing
169 recovery support services be certified; however, an individual
170 who is not certified may provide recovery support services as a
171 peer specialist for up to 1 year if he or she is working toward
172 certification and is supervised by a qualified professional or
173 by a certified peer specialist who has at least 2 years of full
174 time experience as a peer specialist at a licensed behavioral
175 health organization.
176 (4) PAYMENT.—Recovery support services may be reimbursed as
177 a recovery service through the department, a behavioral health
178 managing entity, or the Medicaid program. Medicaid managed care
179 plans are encouraged to use peer specialists in providing
180 recovery services.
181 (5) BACKGROUND SCREENING.—
182 (a) A peer specialist, or an individual who is working
183 toward certification and providing recovery support services as
184 provided in subsection (3), must have completed or have been
185 lawfully released from confinement, supervision, or any
186 nonmonetary condition imposed by the court for any felony and
187 must undergo a background screening as a condition of initial
188 and continued employment. The applicant must submit a full set
189 of fingerprints to the department or to a vendor, an entity, or
190 an agency that enters into an agreement with the Department of
191 Law Enforcement as provided in s. 943.053(13). The department,
192 vendor, entity, or agency shall forward the fingerprints to the
193 Department of Law Enforcement for state processing and the
194 Department of Law Enforcement shall forward the fingerprints to
195 the Federal Bureau of Investigation for national processing. The
196 applicant is responsible for all fees charged in connection with
197 state and federal fingerprint processing and retention. The
198 state cost for fingerprint processing shall be as provided in s.
199 943.053(3)(e) for records provided to persons or entities other
200 than those specified as exceptions therein. Fingerprints
201 submitted to the Department of Law Enforcement pursuant to this
202 paragraph shall be retained as provided in s. 435.12 and, when
203 the Department of Law Enforcement begins participation in the
204 program, enrolled in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s
205 national retained fingerprint arrest notification program, as
206 provided in s. 943.05(4). Any arrest record identified must be
207 reported to the department.
208 (b) The department or the Agency for Health Care
209 Administration, as applicable, may contract with one or more
210 vendors to perform all or part of the electronic fingerprinting
211 pursuant to this section. Such contracts must ensure that the
212 owners and personnel of the vendor performing the electronic
213 fingerprinting are qualified and will ensure the integrity and
214 security of all personal identifying information.
215 (c) Vendors who submit fingerprints on behalf of employers
217 1. Meet the requirements of s. 943.053; and
218 2. Have the ability to communicate electronically with the
219 department or the Agency for Health Care Administration, as
220 applicable, and to accept screening results from the Department
221 of Law Enforcement and provide the applicant’s full first name,
222 middle initial, and last name; social security number or
223 individual taxpayer identification number; date of birth;
224 mailing address; sex; and race.
225 (d) The background screening conducted under this
226 subsection must ensure that a peer specialist has not, during
227 the previous 3 years, been arrested for and is awaiting final
228 disposition of, been found guilty of, regardless of
229 adjudication, or entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to,
230 or been adjudicated delinquent and the record has not been
231 sealed or expunged for, any felony.
232 (e) The background screening conducted under this
233 subsection must ensure that a peer specialist has not been found
234 guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or entered a plea of nolo
235 contendere or guilty to, or been adjudicated delinquent and the
236 record has not been sealed or expunged for, any offense
237 prohibited under any of the following state laws or similar laws
238 of another jurisdiction:
239 1. Section 393.135, relating to sexual misconduct with
240 certain developmentally disabled clients and reporting of such
241 sexual misconduct.
242 2. Section 394.4593, relating to sexual misconduct with
243 certain mental health patients and reporting of such sexual
245 3. Section 409.920, relating to Medicaid provider fraud, if
246 the offense was a felony of the first or second degree.
247 4. Section 415.111, relating to abuse, neglect, or
248 exploitation of vulnerable adults.
249 5. Section 741.28, relating to domestic violence.
250 6. Section 777.04, relating to attempts, solicitation, and
251 conspiracy to commit an offense listed in this paragraph.
252 7. Section 782.04, relating to murder.
253 8. Section 782.07, relating to manslaughter, aggravated
254 manslaughter of an elderly person or a disabled adult,
255 aggravated manslaughter of a child, or aggravated manslaughter
256 of an officer, a firefighter, an emergency medical technician,
257 or a paramedic.
258 9. Section 782.071, relating to vehicular homicide.
259 10. Section 782.09, relating to killing an unborn child by
260 injury to the mother.
261 11. Chapter 784, relating to assault, battery, and culpable
262 negligence, if the offense was a felony.
263 12. Section 787.01, relating to kidnapping.
264 13. Section 787.02, relating to false imprisonment.
265 14. Section 787.025, relating to luring or enticing a
267 15. Section 787.04(2), relating to leading, taking,
268 enticing, or removing a minor beyond state limits, or concealing
269 the location of a minor, with criminal intent pending custody
271 16. Section 787.04(3), relating to leading, taking,
272 enticing, or removing a minor beyond state limits, or concealing
273 the location of a minor, with criminal intent pending dependency
274 proceedings or proceedings concerning alleged abuse or neglect
275 of a minor.
276 17. Section 790.115(1), relating to exhibiting firearms or
277 weapons within 1,000 feet of a school.
278 18. Section 790.115(2)(b), relating to possessing an
279 electric weapon or device, a destructive device, or any other
280 weapon on school property.
281 19. Section 794.011, relating to sexual battery.
282 20. Former s. 794.041, relating to prohibited acts of
283 persons in familial or custodial authority.
284 21. Section 794.05, relating to unlawful sexual activity
285 with certain minors.
286 22. Section 794.08, relating to female genital mutilation.
287 23. Section 796.07, relating to procuring another to commit
288 prostitution, except for those offenses expunged pursuant to s.
290 24. Section 798.02, relating to lewd and lascivious
292 25. Chapter 800, relating to lewdness and indecent
294 26. Section 806.01, relating to arson.
295 27. Section 810.02, relating to burglary, if the offense
296 was a felony of the first degree.
297 28. Section 810.14, relating to voyeurism, if the offense
298 was a felony.
299 29. Section 810.145, relating to video voyeurism, if the
300 offense was a felony.
301 30. Section 812.13, relating to robbery.
302 31. Section 812.131, relating to robbery by sudden
304 32. Section 812.133, relating to carjacking.
305 33. Section 812.135, relating to home-invasion robbery.
306 34. Section 817.034, relating to communications fraud, if
307 the offense was a felony of the first degree.
308 35. Section 817.234, relating to false and fraudulent
309 insurance claims, if the offense was a felony of the first or
310 second degree.
311 36. Section 817.50, relating to fraudulently obtaining
312 goods or services from a health care provider and false reports
313 of a communicable disease.
314 37. Section 817.505, relating to patient brokering.
315 38. Section 817.568, relating to fraudulent use of personal
316 identification, if the offense was a felony of the first or
317 second degree.
318 39. Section 825.102, relating to abuse, aggravated abuse,
319 or neglect of an elderly person or a disabled adult.
320 40. Section 825.1025, relating to lewd or lascivious
321 offenses committed upon or in the presence of an elderly person
322 or a disabled person.
323 41. Section 825.103, relating to exploitation of an elderly
324 person or a disabled adult, if the offense was a felony.
325 42. Section 826.04, relating to incest.
326 43. Section 827.03, relating to child abuse, aggravated
327 child abuse, or neglect of a child.
328 44. Section 827.04, relating to contributing to the
329 delinquency or dependency of a child.
330 45. Former s. 827.05, relating to negligent treatment of
332 46. Section 827.071, relating to sexual performance by a
334 47. Section 831.30, relating to fraud in obtaining
335 medicinal drugs.
336 48. Section 831.31, relating to sale, manufacture,
337 delivery, possession with intent to sell, manufacture, or
338 deliver of any counterfeit controlled substance, if the offense
339 was a felony.
340 49. Section 843.01, relating to resisting arrest with
342 50. Section 843.025, relating to depriving a law
343 enforcement, correctional, or correctional probation officer of
344 the means of protection or communication.
345 51. Section 843.12, relating to aiding in an escape.
346 52. Section 843.13, relating to aiding in the escape of
347 juvenile inmates of correctional institutions.
348 53. Chapter 847, relating to obscenity.
349 54. Section 874.05, relating to encouraging or recruiting
350 another to join a criminal gang.
351 55. Chapter 893, relating to drug abuse prevention and
352 control, if the offense was a felony of the second degree or
353 greater severity.
354 56. Section 895.03, relating to racketeering and collection
355 of unlawful debts.
356 57. Section 896.101, relating to the Florida Money
357 Laundering Act.
358 58. Section 916.1075, relating to sexual misconduct with
359 certain forensic clients and reporting of such sexual
361 59. Section 944.35(3), relating to inflicting cruel or
362 inhuman treatment on an inmate resulting in great bodily harm.
363 60. Section 944.40, relating to escape.
364 61. Section 944.46, relating to harboring, concealing, or
365 aiding an escaped prisoner.
366 62. Section 944.47, relating to introduction of contraband
367 into a correctional institution.
368 63. Section 985.701, relating to sexual misconduct in
369 juvenile justice programs.
370 64. Section 985.711, relating to introduction of contraband
371 into a detention facility.
372 (6) EXEMPTION REQUESTS.—A person who wishes to become a
373 peer specialist and is disqualified under subsection (5) may
374 request an exemption from disqualification pursuant to s. 435.07
375 from the department or the Agency for Health Care
376 Administration, as applicable.
377 (7) GRANDFATHER CLAUSE.—A peer specialist certified as of
378 the effective date of this act is deemed to satisfy the
379 requirements of this act
380 (1) An individual may seek certification as a peer
381 specialist if he or she has been in recovery from a substance
382 use disorder or mental illness for at least 2 years, or if he or
383 she has at least 2 years of experience as a family member or
384 caregiver of a person with a substance use disorder or mental
386 (2) The department shall approve one or more third-party
387 credentialing entities for the purposes of certifying peer
388 specialists, approving training programs for individuals seeking
389 certification as peer specialists, approving continuing
390 education programs, and establishing the minimum requirements
391 and standards that applicants must achieve to maintain
392 certification. To obtain approval, the third-party credentialing
393 entity must demonstrate compliance with nationally recognized
394 standards for developing and administering professional
395 certification programs to certify peer specialists.
396 (3) An individual providing department-funded recovery
397 support services as a peer specialist shall be certified
398 pursuant to subsection (2). An individual who is not certified
399 may provide recovery support services as a peer specialist for
400 up to 1 year if he or she is working toward certification and is
401 supervised by a qualified professional or by a certified peer
402 specialist who has at least 3 years of full-time experience as a
403 peer specialist at a licensed behavioral health organization.
404 Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.