New Legislation Impacting Your Profession

Posted in Latest News on July 7, 2023.

HB 139 - Benefits, Training and Employment for Veterans and Their Spouses

Effective Date: July 1, 2023
HB 139 (Full Text)

Summary:

The bill establishes the Office of Veteran Licensure Services within the Florida Department of Health, Division of Medical Quality Assurance to provide information, guidance, direction, and assistance with health care licensure processes for all veterans and their spouses. Additionally, the bill requires Veterans Florida to assist veterans and their spouses with access, training, education, and employment in Florida’s health care professions.

SB 252 - Protection from Discrimination Based on Health Care Choices

Effective Date: June 1, 2023, except as otherwise provided in the act
SB 252 (Full Text)

Summary:

The bill prohibits business entities and governmental entities from requiring a person to provide certain documentation or requiring a COVID-19 test to gain access to, entry upon, or service from such entities or as a condition of contracting, hiring, promotion, or continued employment; prohibiting business and governmental entities from refusing to hire persons, discharging persons, depriving or attempting to deprive persons of employment opportunities, adversely affecting persons with respect to employment, or otherwise discriminating against any person based on knowledge or belief of a person’s vaccination or COVID-19 post infection recovery status or failure to take a COVID-19 test. The bill requires such entities to provide exemptions and reasonable accommodations for religious and medical reasons.

The bill amends several statutes in order to prohibit mask mandates, mandates on emergency use authorizations (EUA) vaccinations, messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccinations, and COVID-19 vaccinations, and COVID-19 testing mandates in educational institutions, business entities, and governmental entities. The bill prohibits these entities and institutions from requiring proof of a vaccination with one of the specified types of vaccinations, post infection recovery from COVID-19, or a COVID-19 test to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the entity or institution. The bill also prohibits business and governmental entities from certain employment practices based on an employee’s, or a potential employee’s, vaccination or post infection status or the refusal to take a COVID-19 test. The bill’s provisions relating to mRNA vaccines are repealed on June 1, 2025.

Additionally, the bill prohibits business entities, governmental entities, and educational institutions from requiring a person to wear a mask, a face shield, or any other facial covering that covers the nose and mouth or denying a person access to, entry upon, service from, or admission to such entity or institution or otherwise discriminating against any person based on his or her refusal to wear a mask, face shield, or other facial covering. The bill provides exceptions to these prohibitions for health care providers and practitioners, if the provider or practitioner meets specific requirements established by the bill, and for when a mask or facial covering is required safety equipment. Business entities and governmental entities that violate these provisions are subject to discipline by the Florida Department of Legal Affairs (DLA) while educational institutions are subject to discipline by the Florida Department of Health (DOH). Such discipline may include fines of up to $5,000 for each violation.

The bill establishes requirements for mandating masks in health care settings. The bill requires the DOH and the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to jointly develop standards for the use of facial coverings in such settings by July 1, 2023, and requires each health care provider and health care practitioner who operates or manages an office to establish policies and procedures for facial coverings by August 1, 2023, that are consistent with the standards adopted by the DOH and the AHCA if they require any individual to wear a mask.

The bill prohibits governmental entities and educational institutions from adopting, implementing, or enforcing an international health organization guideline unless authorized by state law, rule, or executive order issued pursuant to a declared emergency.

The bill also creates and amends several statutes related to the provision of health care for COVID-19 including:

  • Prohibiting a hospital from interfering with COVID-19 treatment alternatives that are recommended by a health care practitioner with privileges at the hospital.
  • Requiring a health care practitioner to obtain specified informed consent from a patient before prescribing any medication for the treatment of COVID-19 to the patient.
  • Prohibiting a pharmacist from being disciplined for properly dispensing medications prescribed for the treatment of COVID-19.

HB 267 - Telehealth Practice Standards

Effective Date: July 1, 2023
HB 267 (Full Text)

Summary:

The bill revises the definition of telehealth to include audio-only telephone call in the telehealth technology authorization statute.

HB 1387 - Department of Health

Effective Date: July 1, 2023
HB 1387 (Full Text)

Summary:

The bill exempts individuals who have successfully completed a board-approved certified nursing assistant (CNA) training program within six months of applying for certification from the clinical skills portion of the licensure exam.

The bill conforms Florida law to the new FDA rule by eliminating now-preempted over the counter (OTC) hearing aid regulation. The bill distinguishes between OTC hearing aids and prescription hearing aids, retaining regulation of the latter. The bill amends the statute regulating distribution of hearing aids by hearing aid specialists and audiologists to limit its application exclusively to prescription hearing aids. The bill exempts individuals exclusively dispensing OTC hearing aids from regulation. This aligns Florida law with the federal rule which specifies that states may not establish regulatory measures or require licensure for individuals who dispense OTC hearing aids. The bill makes conforming changes throughout Chapters 468 and 484, F.S., to specify that regulations apply only to prescription hearing aids. The bill limits the consumer protections in current law to only apply to prescription hearing aids, and not to OTC hearing aids. The bill also specifies that the prohibition on distributing of hearing aids by mail applies only to prescription hearing aids.

The bill authorizes autonomous advanced practice registered nurses and adds board-eligible or board-certified family medicine physicians as health care practitioners eligible to certify brain deaths under certain conditions.

If you’d like to view all 2023 bills impacting health care professions, please go to www.flhealthsource.gov/2023-bills



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