Bill Text: FL H0623 | 2011 | Regular Session | Introduced

Bill Title: Emergency Health Care Providers

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced - Dead) 2011-05-07 - Indefinitely postponed and withdrawn from consideration [H0623 Detail]

Download: Florida-2011-H0623-Introduced.html
HB 623

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to emergency health care providers;
3providing legislative findings and intent; amending s.
4768.28, F.S.; providing that certain emergency health care
5providers are agents of the state for purposes of
6sovereign immunity when acting pursuant to specified
7statutory obligations; requiring certain indemnity for the
8state from providers; providing penalties; providing
9definitions; providing applicability; providing an
10effective date.
12Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
14     Section 1.  Legislative findings and intent.-The
15Legislature finds and declares it to be of vital importance that
16emergency services and care be provided by hospitals,
17physicians, and emergency medical services providers to every
18person in need of such care. The Legislature finds that
19providers of emergency services and care are critical elements
20in responding to disaster and emergency situations that may
21affect local communities, the state, and the country. The
22Legislature recognizes the importance of maintaining a viable
23system of providing for the emergency medical needs of the
24state's residents and visitors. The Legislature and the Federal
25Government have required such providers of emergency medical
26services and care to provide emergency services and care to all
27persons who present themselves to hospitals seeking such care.
28The Legislature has further mandated that emergency medical
29treatment may not be denied by emergency medical services
30providers to persons who have or are likely to have an emergency
31medical condition. Such governmental requirements have imposed a
32unilateral obligation for providers of emergency services and
33care to provide services to all persons seeking emergency care
34without ensuring payment or other consideration for provision of
35such care. The Legislature also recognizes that providers of
36emergency services and care provide a significant amount of
37uncompensated emergency medical care in furtherance of such
38governmental interest. The Legislature finds that a significant
39proportion of the residents of this state who are uninsured or
40are Medicaid or Medicare recipients are unable to access needed
41health care on an elective basis because health care providers
42fear the increased risk of medical malpractice liability. The
43Legislature finds that such patients, in order to obtain medical
44care, are frequently forced to seek care through providers of
45emergency medical services and care. The Legislature finds that
46providers of emergency medical services and care in this state
47have reported significant problems with respect to the
48affordability of professional liability insurance, which is more
49expensive in this state than the national average. The
50Legislature further finds that a significant number of
51specialist physicians have resigned from serving on hospital
52staffs or have otherwise declined to provide on-call coverage to
53hospital emergency departments due to the increased exposure to
54medical malpractice liability created by treating such emergency
55department patients, thereby creating a void that has an adverse
56effect on emergency patient care. It is the intent of the
57Legislature that hospitals, emergency medical services
58providers, and physicians be able to ensure that patients who
59may need emergency medical services treatment and who present
60themselves to hospitals for emergency medical services and care
61have access to such needed services.
62     Section 2.  Subsection (9) of section 768.28, Florida
63Statutes, is amended to read:
64     768.28  Waiver of sovereign immunity in tort actions;
65recovery limits; limitation on attorney fees; statute of
66limitations; exclusions; indemnification; risk management
68     (9)(a)  No officer, employee, or agent of the state or of
69any of its subdivisions shall be held personally liable in tort
70or named as a party defendant in any action for any injury or
71damage suffered as a result of any act, event, or omission of
72action in the scope of her or his employment or function, unless
73such officer, employee, or agent acted in bad faith or with
74malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful
75disregard of human rights, safety, or property. However, such
76officer, employee, or agent shall be considered an adverse
77witness in a tort action for any injury or damage suffered as a
78result of any act, event, or omission of action in the scope of
79her or his employment or function. The exclusive remedy for
80injury or damage suffered as a result of an act, event, or
81omission of an officer, employee, or agent of the state or any
82of its subdivisions or constitutional officers shall be by
83action against the governmental entity, or the head of such
84entity in her or his official capacity, or the constitutional
85officer of which the officer, employee, or agent is an employee,
86unless such act or omission was committed in bad faith or with
87malicious purpose or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful
88disregard of human rights, safety, or property. The state or its
89subdivisions shall not be liable in tort for the acts or
90omissions of an officer, employee, or agent committed while
91acting outside the course and scope of her or his employment or
92committed in bad faith or with malicious purpose or in a manner
93exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety,
94or property.
95     (b)  As used in this subsection, the term:
96     1.  "Employee" includes any volunteer firefighter.
97     2.  "Officer, employee, or agent" includes, but is not
98limited to:,
99     a.  Any health care provider when providing services
100pursuant to s. 766.1115, any member of the Florida Health
101Services Corps, as defined in s. 381.0302, who provides
102uncompensated care to medically indigent persons referred by the
103Department of Health, and any public defender or her or his
104employee or agent, including, among others, an assistant public
105defender and an investigator.
106     b.  Any emergency health care provider acting pursuant to
107obligations imposed by s. 395.1041 or s. 401.45, except for
108persons or entities that are otherwise covered under this
110     (c)1.  Emergency health care providers are agents of the
111state and shall indemnify the state for any judgments,
112settlement costs, or other liabilities incurred, only up to the
113liability limits in subsection (5).
114     2.  Any emergency health care provider who is licensed by
115the state and who fails to indemnify the state after reasonable
116notice and written demand to do so is subject to an emergency
117suspension order of the regulating authority having jurisdiction
118over the licensee.
119     3.  The Department of Health shall issue an emergency order
120suspending the license of any licensee under its jurisdiction or
121any licensee of a regulatory board within the Department of
122Health who fails to comply within 30 days following receipt by
123the department of a notice from the Division of Risk Management
124of the Department of Financial Services that the licensee has
125failed to satisfy his or her obligation to indemnify the state
126or enter into a repayment agreement with the state for costs
127under this subsection. The terms of such agreement must provide
128assurance of repayment of the obligation which is satisfactory
129to the state. For licensees within the Division of Medical
130Quality Assurance of the Department of Health, failure to comply
131with this paragraph constitutes grounds for disciplinary action
132under each respective practice act and under s. 456.072(l)(k).
133     4.  If the emergency health care provider is licensed under
134chapter 395 and fails to indemnify the state after reasonable
135notice and written demand to do so, any state funds payable to
136the licensed facility shall be withheld until the facility
137satisfies its obligation to indemnify the state or enters into a
138repayment agreement. The terms of such agreement must provide
139assurance of repayment of the obligation which is satisfactory
140to the state. In addition, the Agency for Health Care
141Administration shall impose an administrative fine, not to
142exceed $10,000 per violation of this paragraph.
143     5.  As used in this subsection, the term:
144     a.  "Emergency health care providers" includes all persons
145and entities providing services pursuant to obligations imposed
146by s. 395.1041 or s. 401.45, except those persons or entities
147that are otherwise covered under this section.
148     b.  "Emergency medical services" means all screenings,
149examinations, and evaluations by a physician, hospital, or other
150person or entity acting pursuant to obligations imposed by s.
151395.1041 or s. 401.45, and the care, treatment, surgery, or
152other medical services provided to relieve or eliminate the
153emergency medical condition, including all medical services to
154eliminate the likelihood that the emergency medical condition
155will deteriorate or recur without further medical attention
156within a reasonable period of time.
157     (d)(c)  For purposes of the waiver of sovereign immunity
158only, a member of the Florida National Guard is not acting
159within the scope of state employment when performing duty under
160the provisions of Title 10 or Title 32 of the United States Code
161or other applicable federal law; and neither the state nor any
162individual may be named in any action under this chapter arising
163from the performance of such federal duty.
164     (e)(d)  The employing agency of a law enforcement officer
165as defined in s. 943.10 is not liable for injury, death, or
166property damage effected or caused by a person fleeing from a
167law enforcement officer in a motor vehicle if:
168     1.  The pursuit is conducted in a manner that does not
169involve conduct by the officer which is so reckless or wanting
170in care as to constitute disregard of human life, human rights,
171safety, or the property of another;
172     2.  At the time the law enforcement officer initiates the
173pursuit, the officer reasonably believes that the person fleeing
174has committed a forcible felony as defined in s. 776.08; and
175     3.  The pursuit is conducted by the officer pursuant to a
176written policy governing high-speed pursuit adopted by the
177employing agency. The policy must contain specific procedures
178concerning the proper method to initiate and terminate high-
179speed pursuit. The law enforcement officer must have received
180instructional training from the employing agency on the written
181policy governing high-speed pursuit.
182     Section 3.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law,
183and applies to any cause of action accruing on or after that

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