Section 408.18, Florida Statutes 2001
408.18 Health Care Community Antitrust Guidance Act; antitrust no-action letter; market-information collection and education.--
(1) This section may be cited as the "Florida Health Care Community Antitrust Guidance Act."
(2) This section is created to provide instruction to the health care community in a time of tremendous change, and to resolve, as completely as possible, the problem of antitrust uncertainty that may deter mergers, joint ventures, or other business activities that can improve the delivery of health care, without creating costly, time-consuming regulations that can lead to more litigation and delay.
(3) For purposes of this section, the term:
(a) "Health care community" means all licensed health care providers, insurers, networks, purchasers, and other participants in the health care system.
(b) "Antitrust no-action letter" means a letter that states the intention of the Attorney General's office not to take antitrust enforcement actions with respect to the requesting party, based on the specific facts then presented, as of the date the letter is issued.
(4)(a) Members of the health care community who seek antitrust guidance may request a review of their proposed business activity by the Attorney General's office. In conducting its review, the Attorney General's office may seek whatever documentation, data, or other material it deems necessary from the Agency for Health Care Administration, the State Center for Health Statistics, and the Department of Insurance.
(b) In order to receive an antitrust no-action letter, a member of the health care community must submit in writing to the Attorney General's office a request for an antitrust no-action letter.
(c) The requesting parties are under an affirmative obligation to make full, true, and accurate disclosure with respect to the activities for which the antitrust no-action letter is requested. Requests relating to unnamed persons or companies may not be answered. Each request must be accompanied by all relevant material information; relevant data, including background information; complete copies of all operative documents; the provisions of law under which the request arises; and detailed statements of all collateral oral understandings, if any.
(d) All parties requesting the antitrust no-action letter must provide the Attorney General's office with whatever additional information or documents the Attorney General's office requests for its review of the matter.
(5) The Attorney General's office shall act on the no-action letter request within 90 days after it receives all information necessary to complete its review.
(6) At the completion of its review of a request for an antitrust no-action letter, the Attorney General's office shall do one of the following:
(a) Issue the antitrust no-action letter;
(b) Decline to issue any type of letter; or
(c) Take such other position or action as it considers appropriate.
(7) The recipient of a no-action letter must annually file with the Attorney General's office an affidavit stating that there has been no change in the facts the recipient has presented, at which time the Attorney General may renew the no-action letter. As long as there is no change in any material fact, the Attorney General's office is estopped from bringing any action pursuant to the antitrust laws concerning any specific conduct that is the subject of the no-action letter. Further, the no-action letter, if it meets the requirements of the Florida Evidence Code, is admissible in any court proceeding in this state. The Attorney General's office remains free to bring an action or proceeding based on a different set of facts presented.
(8) The Agency for Health Care Administration shall coordinate all existing data received, such as the hospital patient discharge database, ambulatory patient database, ambulatory facilities' financial data, health facility licensure and certification tracking system, health facility plans and construction data, local health council data, Medicaid data, provider claims data, psychiatric hospital discharge data, pharmaceutical data, licensure data of health maintenance organizations, licensure data of health insurers, health care practitioner licensure data, hospital financial database, health facility utilization and projected need data, nursing home financial database, nursing home patient database, and joint venture database. This information shall be made available to the Attorney General's office, as needed.
(9) When the member of the health care community seeking the no-action letter is regulated by the Department of Insurance, the Department of Insurance shall make available to the Attorney General's office, as needed, any information it maintains in its regulatory capacity.
History.--s. 12, ch. 96-223; s. 98, ch. 97-261.
Note.--Former s. 455.277.