Section 400.980, Florida Statutes 2003
400.980 Health care services pools.--
(1) As used in this section, the term:
(a) "Agency" means the Agency for Health Care Administration.
(b) "Health care services pool" means any person, firm, corporation, partnership, or association engaged for hire in the business of providing temporary employment in health care facilities, residential facilities, and agencies for licensed, certified, or trained health care personnel including, without limitation, nursing assistants, nurses' aides, and orderlies. However, the term does not include nursing registries, a facility licensed under chapter 400, a health care services pool established within a health care facility to provide services only within the confines of such facility, or any individual contractor directly providing temporary services to a health care facility without use or benefit of a contracting agent.
(2) Each person who operates a health care services pool must register each separate business location with the agency. The agency shall adopt rules and provide forms required for such registration and shall impose a registration fee in an amount sufficient to cover the cost of administering this section. In addition, the registrant must provide the agency with any change of information contained on the original registration application within 14 days prior to the change. The agency may inspect the offices of any health care services pool at any reasonable time for the purpose of determining compliance with this section or the rules adopted under this section.
(3) Each application for registration must include:
(a) The name and address of any person who has an ownership interest in the business, and, in the case of a corporate owner, copies of the articles of incorporation, bylaws, and names and addresses of all officers and directors of the corporation.
(b) Any other information required by the agency.
(4) Each applicant for registration must comply with the following requirements:
(a) Upon receipt of a completed, signed, and dated application, the agency shall require background screening, in accordance with the level 1 standards for screening set forth in chapter 435, of every individual who will have contact with patients. The agency shall require background screening of the managing employee or other similarly titled individual who is responsible for the operation of the entity, and of the financial officer or other similarly titled individual who is responsible for the financial operation of the entity, including billings for services in accordance with the level 2 standards for background screening as set forth in chapter 435.
(b) The agency may require background screening of any other individual who is affiliated with the applicant if the agency has a reasonable basis for believing that he or she has been convicted of a crime or has committed any other offense prohibited under the level 2 standards for screening set forth in chapter 435.
(c) Proof of compliance with the level 2 background screening requirements of chapter 435 which has been submitted within the previous 5 years in compliance with any other health care or assisted living licensure requirements of this state is acceptable in fulfillment of paragraph (a).
(d) A provisional registration may be granted to an applicant when each individual required by this section to undergo background screening has met the standards for the Department of Law Enforcement background check but the agency has not yet received background screening results from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A standard registration may be granted to the applicant upon the agency's receipt of a report of the results of the Federal Bureau of Investigation background screening for each individual required by this section to undergo background screening which confirms that all standards have been met, or upon the granting of a disqualification exemption by the agency as set forth in chapter 435. Any other person who is required to undergo level 2 background screening may serve in his or her capacity pending the agency's receipt of the report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, the person may not continue to serve if the report indicates any violation of background screening standards and if a disqualification exemption has not been requested of and granted by the agency as set forth in chapter 435.
(e) Each applicant must submit to the agency, with its application, a description and explanation of any exclusions, permanent suspensions, or terminations of the applicant from the Medicare or Medicaid programs. Proof of compliance with the requirements for disclosure of ownership and controlling interests under the Medicaid or Medicare programs may be accepted in lieu of this submission.
(f) Each applicant must submit to the agency a description and explanation of any conviction of an offense prohibited under the level 2 standards of chapter 435 which was committed by a member of the board of directors of the applicant, its officers, or any individual owning 5 percent or more of the applicant. This requirement does not apply to a director of a not-for-profit corporation or organization who serves solely in a voluntary capacity for the corporation or organization, does not regularly take part in the day-to-day operational decisions of the corporation or organization, receives no remuneration for his or her services on the corporation's or organization's board of directors, and has no financial interest and no family members having a financial interest in the corporation or organization, if the director and the not-for-profit corporation or organization include in the application a statement affirming that the director's relationship to the corporation satisfies the requirements of this paragraph.
(g) A registration may not be granted to an applicant if the applicant or managing employee has been found guilty of, regardless of adjudication, or has entered a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to, any offense prohibited under the level 2 standards for screening set forth in chapter 435, unless an exemption from disqualification has been granted by the agency as set forth in chapter 435.
(h) Failure to provide all required documentation within 30 days after a written request from the agency will result in denial of the application for registration.
(i) The agency must take final action on an application for registration within 60 days after receipt of all required documentation.
(j) The agency may deny, revoke, or suspend the registration of any applicant or registrant who:
1. Has falsely represented a material fact in the application required by paragraph (e) or paragraph (f), or has omitted any material fact from the application required by paragraph (e) or paragraph (f); or
2. Has had prior action taken against the applicant under the Medicaid or Medicare program as set forth in paragraph (e).
3. Fails to comply with this section or applicable rules.
4. Commits an intentional, reckless, or negligent act that materially affects the health or safety of a person receiving services.
(5) It is a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable under s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, for any person willfully, knowingly, or intentionally to:
(a) Fail, by false statement, misrepresentation, impersonation, or other fraudulent means, to disclose in any application for voluntary or paid employment a material fact used in making a determination as to an applicant's qualifications to be a contractor under this section;
(b) Operate or attempt to operate an entity registered under this part with persons who do not meet the minimum standards of chapter 435 as contained in this section; or
(c) Use information from the criminal records obtained under this section for any purpose other than screening an applicant for temporary employment as specified in this section, or release such information to any other person for any purpose other than screening for employment under this section.
(6) It is a felony of the third degree, punishable under s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, for any person willfully, knowingly, or intentionally to use information from the juvenile records of a person obtained under this section for any purpose other than screening for employment under this section.
(7) It is unlawful for a person to offer or advertise services, as defined by rule, to the public without obtaining a certificate of registration from the Agency for Health Care Administration. It is unlawful for any holder of a certificate of registration to advertise or hold out to the public that he or she holds a certificate of registration for other than that for which he or she actually holds a certificate of registration. Any person who violates this subsection is subject to injunctive proceedings under s. 400.515.
(8) Each registration shall be for a period of 2 years. The application for renewal must be received by the agency at least 30 days before the expiration date of the registration. An application for a new registration is required within 30 days prior to the sale of a controlling interest in a health care services pool.
(9) A health care services pool may not require an employee to recruit new employees from persons employed at a health care facility to which the health care services pool employee is assigned. Nor shall a health care facility to which employees of a health care services pool are assigned recruit new employees from the health care services pool.
(10) A health care services pool shall document that each temporary employee provided to a health care facility has met the licensing, certification, training, or continuing education requirements, as established by the appropriate regulatory agency, for the position in which he or she will be working.
(11) When referring persons for temporary employment in health care facilities, a health care services pool shall comply with all pertinent state and federal laws, rules, and regulations relating to health, background screening, and other qualifications required of persons working in a facility of that type.
(12)(a) As a condition of registration and prior to the issuance or renewal of a certificate of registration, a health care services pool applicant must prove financial responsibility to pay claims, and costs ancillary thereto, arising out of the rendering of services or failure to render services by the pool or by its employees in the course of their employment with the pool. The agency shall promulgate rules establishing minimum financial responsibility coverage amounts which shall be adequate to pay potential claims and costs ancillary thereto.
(b) Each health care services pool shall give written notification to the agency within 20 days after any change in the method of assuring financial responsibility or upon cancellation or nonrenewal of professional liability insurance. Unless the pool demonstrates that it is otherwise in compliance with the requirements of this section, the agency shall suspend the registration of the pool pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57. Any suspension under this section shall remain in effect until the pool demonstrates compliance with the requirements of this section.
(c) Proof of financial responsibility must be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the agency, through one of the following methods:
1. Establishing and maintaining an escrow account consisting of cash or assets eligible for deposit in accordance with s. 625.52;
2. Obtaining and maintaining an unexpired irrevocable letter of credit established pursuant to chapter 675. Such letters of credit shall be nontransferable and nonassignable and shall be issued by any bank or savings association organized and existing under the laws of this state or any bank or savings association organized under the laws of the United States that has its principal place of business in this state or has a branch office which is authorized under the laws of this state or of the United States to receive deposits in this state; or
3. Obtaining and maintaining professional liability coverage from one of the following:
a. An authorized insurer as defined under s. 624.09;
b. An eligible surplus lines insurer as defined under s. 626.918(2);
c. A risk retention group or purchasing group as defined under s. 627.942; or
d. A plan of self-insurance as provided in s. 627.357.
(d) If financial responsibility requirements are met by maintaining an escrow account or letter of credit, as provided in this section, upon the entry of an adverse final judgment arising from a medical malpractice arbitration award from a claim of medical malpractice either in contract or tort, or from noncompliance with the terms of a settlement agreement arising from a claim of medical malpractice either in contract or tort, the financial institution holding the escrow account or the letter of credit shall pay directly to the claimant the entire amount of the judgment together with all accrued interest or the amount maintained in the escrow account or letter of credit as required by this section, whichever is less, within 60 days after the date such judgment became final and subject to execution, unless otherwise mutually agreed to in writing by the parties. If timely payment is not made, the agency shall suspend the registration of the pool pursuant to procedures set forth by the agency through rule. Nothing in this paragraph shall abrogate a judgment debtor's obligation to satisfy the entire amount of any judgment.
(e) Each health care services pool carrying claims-made coverage must demonstrate proof of extended reporting coverage through either tail or nose coverage, in the event the policy is canceled, replaced, or not renewed. Such extended coverage shall provide coverage for incidents that occurred during the claims-made policy period but were reported after the policy period.
(f) The financial responsibility requirements of this section shall apply to claims for incidents that occur on or after January 1, 1991, or the initial date of registration in this state, whichever is later.
(g) Meeting the financial responsibility requirements of this section must be established at the time of issuance or renewal of a certificate of registration.
(13) The agency shall adopt rules to implement this section, including rules providing for the establishment of:
(a) Minimum standards for the operation and administration of health care personnel pools, including procedures for recordkeeping and personnel.
(b) Fines for the violation of this section in an amount not to exceed $2,500 and suspension or revocation of registration.
(c) Disciplinary sanctions for failure to comply with this section or the rules adopted under this section.
History.--s. 1, ch. 89-354; s. 1, ch. 90-158; s. 1, ch. 90-192; s. 30, ch. 90-295; s. 184, ch. 91-108; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 52, ch. 94-218; s. 1061, ch. 95-148; s. 128, ch. 96-410; s. 3, ch. 97-264; s. 1, ch. 98-130; s. 24, ch. 2000-349; s. 38, ch. 2001-62; s. 29, ch. 2003-57.
Note.--Former s. 402.48.