There is created a Department of Elderly Affairs.
(1) The head of the department is the Secretary of Elderly Affairs. The secretary must be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate. The secretary serves at the pleasure of the Governor. The secretary shall administer the affairs of the department and may employ assistants, professional staff, and other employees as necessary to discharge the powers and duties of the department.
(2) The department shall plan and administer its programs and services through planning and service areas as designated by the department.
(3) The department shall maintain its headquarters in Tallahassee.
(4) The department shall administer the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Council, created by s. 400.0067, and the local long-term care ombudsman councils, created by s. 400.0069 and shall, as required by s. 712 of the federal Older Americans Act of 1965, ensure that both the state and local long-term care ombudsman councils operate in compliance with the Older Americans Act.
(5) The department shall be the state unit on aging as defined in the federal Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended, and shall exercise all responsibilities pursuant to that act.
(6) In accordance with the federal Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended, the department shall designate and contract with area agencies on aging in each of the department’s planning and service areas. Area agencies on aging, as nongovernmental, independent, not-for-profit corporations under s. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, shall ensure a coordinated and integrated provision of long-term care services to the elderly and shall ensure the provision of prevention and early intervention services. The department shall have overall responsibility for information system planning. The department shall ensure, through the development of equipment, software, data, and connectivity standards, the ability to share and integrate information collected and reported by the area agencies in support of their contracted obligations to the state. The department shall contract with area agencies on aging to fulfill programmatic and funding requirements.
(7) The area agency on aging shall, in consultation with the secretary, appoint a chief executive officer, hereafter referred to as the “executive director,” who shall be accountable for the agency’s performance.
(8) Area agencies on aging are subject to chapter 119, relating to public records, and, when considering any contracts requiring the expenditure of funds, are subject to ss. 286.011-286.012, relating to public meetings.