310.102 Treatment programs for impaired pilots and deputy pilots.—
(1) The department shall, by rule, designate approved treatment programs for impaired pilots and deputy pilots under this section. The department may adopt rules setting forth appropriate criteria for approval of treatment providers.
(2) The department shall retain one or more impaired practitioner consultants as recommended by the committee. A consultant shall be a licensee under the jurisdiction of the Division of Medical Quality Assurance within the Department of Health, and at least one consultant must be a practitioner licensed under chapter 458, chapter 459, or part I of chapter 464. The consultant shall assist the probable cause panel and department in carrying out the responsibilities of this section. This shall include working with department investigators to determine whether a pilot or deputy pilot is, in fact, impaired.
(3)(a) Whenever the department receives a written or oral legally sufficient complaint alleging that a pilot or deputy pilot licensed or certificated by the department is impaired as a result of the misuse or abuse of alcohol or drugs, or both, or due to a mental or physical condition which could affect the pilot’s or deputy pilot’s ability to practice with skill and safety, and no complaint against the pilot or deputy pilot other than impairment exists, the reporting of such information shall not constitute a complaint within the meaning of s. 455.225 if the probable cause panel finds:
1. The pilot or deputy pilot has acknowledged the impairment problem.
2. The pilot or deputy pilot has voluntarily enrolled in an appropriate, approved treatment program.
3. The pilot or deputy pilot has voluntarily withdrawn from piloting or limited the scope of piloting as determined by the panel, in each case, until such time as the panel is satisfied the pilot or deputy pilot has successfully completed an approved treatment program.
4. The pilot or deputy pilot has executed releases for medical records, authorizing the release of all records of evaluations, diagnoses, and treatment of the pilot or deputy pilot, including records of treatment for emotional or mental conditions, to the consultant. The consultant shall make no copies or reports of records that do not regard the issue of the pilot’s or deputy pilot’s impairment and his or her participation in a treatment program.
(b) If, however, the pilot or deputy pilot agrees to withdraw from piloting until such time as the consultant determines the pilot or deputy pilot has satisfactorily completed an approved treatment program or evaluation, the probable cause panel shall not become involved in the pilot’s or deputy pilot’s case.
(c) Inquiries related to impairment treatment programs designed to provide information to the pilot or deputy pilot and others and which do not indicate that the pilot or deputy pilot presents a danger to the public shall not constitute a complaint within the meaning of s. 455.225 and shall be exempt from the provisions of this subsection.
(d) Whenever the department receives a legally sufficient complaint alleging that a pilot or deputy pilot is impaired as described in paragraph (a) and no complaint against the pilot or deputy pilot other than impairment exists, the department shall forward all information in its possession regarding the impaired pilot or deputy pilot to the consultant.
(e) The probable cause panel shall work directly with the consultant, and all information concerning a licensee obtained by the panel from the consultant shall remain confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, subject to the provisions of subsections (5) and (6).
(f) A finding of probable cause shall not be made as long as the panel is satisfied, based upon information it receives from the consultant and the department, that the pilot or deputy pilot is progressing satisfactorily in an approved treatment program.
(4) In any disciplinary action for a violation other than impairment, if a pilot or deputy pilot establishes that the violation for which the pilot or deputy pilot is being prosecuted was due to or connected with impairment and further establishes that the pilot or deputy pilot is satisfactorily progressing through or has successfully completed an approved treatment program pursuant to this section, such information may be considered by the board as a mitigating factor in determining the appropriate penalty. This subsection does not limit mitigating factors the board may consider.
(5)(a) An approved treatment provider shall, upon request, disclose to the consultant all information in its possession regarding the issue of a licensee’s impairment and participation in the treatment program. All information obtained by the consultant and department pursuant to this section is confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, subject to the provisions of this subsection and subsection (6). Failure to provide such information to the consultant is grounds for withdrawal of approval of such program or provider.
(b) If in the opinion of the consultant, after consultation with the treatment provider, an impaired licensee has not progressed satisfactorily in a treatment program, all information regarding the issue of a licensee’s impairment and participation in a treatment program in the consultant’s possession shall be disclosed to the department. Such disclosure shall constitute a complaint pursuant to the general provisions of s. 455.225. Whenever the consultant concludes that impairment affects a licensee’s practice and constitutes an immediate, serious danger to the public health, safety, or welfare, that conclusion shall be communicated to the secretary of the department.
(6) A consultant, licensee, or approved treatment provider who makes a disclosure pursuant to this section is not subject to civil liability for such disclosure or its consequences. The provisions of s. 766.101 apply to any officer, employee, or agent of the department or the board and to any officer, employee, or agent of any entity with which the department has contracted pursuant to this section.
History.—s. 345, ch. 94-119; s. 1, ch. 94-349; s. 151, ch. 96-406; s. 17, ch. 98-166; s. 5, ch. 2000-160; ss. 30, 88, ch. 2000-318.