2004 Florida Statutes
Photographs, videotapes, and medical examinations; abrogation of privileged communications; confidential records and documents.
(1) PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEOTAPES.--
(a) The protective investigator, while investigating a report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, may take or cause to be taken photographs and videotapes of the vulnerable adult, and of his or her environment, which are relevant to the investigation. All photographs and videotapes taken during the course of the protective investigation are confidential and exempt from public disclosure as provided in s. 415.107
(b) Any photographs or videotapes made pursuant to this subsection, or copies thereof, must be sent to the department as soon as possible.
(2) MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS.--
(a) With the consent of the vulnerable adult who has the capacity to consent or the vulnerable adult's guardian, or pursuant to s. 415.1051, the department may cause the vulnerable adult to be referred to a licensed physician or any emergency department in a hospital or health care facility for medical examination, diagnosis, or treatment if any of the following circumstances exist:
1. The areas of trauma visible on the vulnerable adult indicate a need for medical examination;
2. The vulnerable adult verbally complains or otherwise exhibits signs or symptoms indicating a need for medical attention as a consequence of suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation; or
3. The vulnerable adult is alleged to have been sexually abused.
(b) Upon admission to a hospital or health care facility, with the consent of the vulnerable adult who has capacity to consent or that person's guardian, or pursuant to s. 415.1051, the medical staff of the facility may examine, diagnose, or treat the vulnerable adult. If a person who has legal authority to give consent for the provision of medical treatment to a vulnerable adult has not given or has refused to give such consent, examination and treatment must be limited to reasonable examination of the patient to determine the medical condition of the patient and treatment reasonably necessary to alleviate the medical condition or to stabilize the patient pending a determination by the court of the department's petition authorizing protective services. Any person may seek an expedited judicial intervention under rule 5.900 of the Florida Probate Rules concerning medical treatment procedures.
(c) Medical examination, diagnosis, and treatment provided under this subsection must be paid for by third-party reimbursement, if available, or by the vulnerable adult, if he or she is able to pay; or, if he or she is unable to pay, the department shall pay the costs within available emergency services funds.
(d) Reports of examination, diagnosis, and treatment made under this subsection, or copies thereof, must be sent to the department as soon as possible.
(e) This subsection does not obligate the department to pay for any treatment other than that necessary to alleviate the immediate presenting problems.
(3) ABROGATION OF PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATIONS.--The privileged quality of communication between husband and wife and between any professional and the professional's patient or client, and any other privileged communication except that between attorney and client or clergy and person, as such communication relates to both the competency of the witness and to the exclusion of confidential communications, does not apply to any situation involving known or suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult and does not constitute grounds for failure to report as required by s. 415.1034, for failure to cooperate with law enforcement or the department in its activities under ss. 415.101-415.113, or for failure to give evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding relating to abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
(4) MEDICAL, SOCIAL, OR FINANCIAL RECORDS OR DOCUMENTS.--
(a) The protective investigator, while investigating a report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, must have access to, inspect, and copy all medical, social, or financial records or documents in the possession of any person, caregiver, guardian, or facility which are relevant to the allegations under investigation, unless specifically prohibited by the vulnerable adult who has capacity to consent.
(b) The confidentiality of any medical, social, or financial record or document that is confidential under state law does not constitute grounds for failure to:
1. Report as required by s. 415.1034;
2. Cooperate with the department in its activities under ss. 415.101-415.113;
3. Give access to such records or documents; or
4. Give evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding relating to abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult.
(5) ACCESS TO RECORDS AND DOCUMENTS.--If any person refuses to allow a law enforcement officer or the protective investigator to have access to, inspect, or copy any medical, social, or financial record or document in the possession of any person, caregiver, guardian, or facility which is relevant to the allegations under investigation, the department may petition the court for an order requiring the person to allow access to the record or document. The petition must allege specific facts sufficient to show that the record or document is relevant to the allegations under investigation and that the person refuses to allow access to such record or document. If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the record or document is relevant to the allegations under investigation, the court may order the person to allow access to and permit the inspection or copying of the medical, social, or financial record or document.
(6) WORKING AGREEMENTS.--By March 1, 2004, the department shall enter into working agreements with the jurisdictionally responsible county sheriffs' office or local police department that will be the lead agency when conducting any criminal investigation arising from an allegation of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult. The working agreement must specify how the requirements of this chapter will be met. The Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability shall conduct a review of the efficacy of the agreements and report its findings to the Legislature by March 1, 2005. For the purposes of such agreement, the jurisdictionally responsible law enforcement entity is authorized to share Florida criminal history and local criminal history information that is not otherwise exempt from s. 119.07(1) with the district personnel. A law enforcement entity entering into such agreement must comply with s. 943.0525 Criminal justice information provided by such law enforcement entity shall be used only for the purposes specified in the agreement and shall be provided at no charge. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Department of Law Enforcement shall provide to the department electronic access to Florida criminal justice information which is lawfully available and not exempt from s. 119.07(1), only for the purpose of protective investigations and emergency placement. As a condition of access to such information, the department shall be required to execute an appropriate user agreement addressing the access, use, dissemination, and destruction of such information and to comply with all applicable laws and rules of the Department of Law Enforcement.
History.--s. 99, ch. 95-418; s. 2, ch. 98-182; s. 32, ch. 2000-349; s. 4, ch. 2002-174; s. 1, ch. 2003-262.