Section 766.314, Florida Statutes 2001
766.314 Assessments; plan of operation.--
(1) The assessments established pursuant to this section shall be used to finance the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Plan.
(2) The assessments and appropriations dedicated to the plan shall be administered by the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association established in s. 766.315, in accordance with the following requirements:
(a) On or before July 1, 1988, the directors of the association shall submit to the Department of Insurance for review a plan of operation which shall provide for the efficient administration of the plan and for prompt processing of claims against and awards made on behalf of the plan. The plan of operation shall include provision for:
1. Establishment of necessary facilities;
2. Management of the funds collected on behalf of the plan;
3. Processing of claims against the plan;
4. Assessment of the persons and entities listed in subsections (4) and (5) to pay awards and expenses, which assessments shall be on an actuarially sound basis subject to the limits set forth in subsections (4) and (5); and
5. Any other matters necessary for the efficient operation of the birth-related neurological injury compensation plan.
(b) The plan of operation shall be subject to approval by the Department of Insurance after consultation with representatives of state agencies which collect revenue pursuant to this section and interested individuals and organizations. If the Department of Insurance disapproves all or any part of the plan of operation, the directors shall within 30 days submit for review an appropriate revised plan of operation. If the directors fail to do so, the Department of Insurance shall promulgate a plan of operation. The plan of operation approved or promulgated by the Department of Insurance shall become effective and operational upon order of the Department of Insurance.
(c) Amendments to the plan of operation may be made by the directors of the plan, subject to the approval of the Department of Insurance.
(3) All assessments shall be deposited with the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Association. The funds collected by the association and any income therefrom shall be disbursed only for the payment of awards under ss. 766.301-766.316 and for the payment of the reasonable expenses of administering the plan.
(4) The following persons and entities shall pay into the association an initial assessment in accordance with the plan of operation:
(a) On or before October 1, 1988, each hospital licensed under chapter 395 shall pay an initial assessment of $50 per infant delivered in the hospital during the prior calendar year, as reported to the Agency for Health Care Administration; provided, however, that a hospital owned or operated by the state or a county, special taxing district, or other political subdivision of the state shall not be required to pay the initial assessment or any assessment required by subsection (5). The term "infant delivered" includes live births and not stillbirths, but the term does not include infants delivered by employees or agents of the Board of Regents or those born in a teaching hospital as defined in s. 408.07. The initial assessment and any assessment imposed pursuant to subsection (5) may not include any infant born to a charity patient (as defined by rule of the Agency for Health Care Administration) or born to a patient for whom the hospital receives Medicaid reimbursement, if the sum of the annual charges for charity patients plus the annual Medicaid contractuals of the hospital exceeds 10 percent of the total annual gross operating revenues of the hospital. The hospital is responsible for documenting, to the satisfaction of the association, the exclusion of any birth from the computation of the assessment. Upon demonstration of financial need by a hospital, the association may provide for installment payments of assessments.
(b)1. On or before October 15, 1988, all physicians licensed pursuant to chapter 458 or chapter 459 as of October 1, 1988, other than participating physicians, shall be assessed an initial assessment of $250, which must be paid no later than December 1, 1988.
2. Any such physician who becomes licensed after September 30, 1988, and before January 1, 1989, shall pay into the association an initial assessment of $250 upon licensure.
3. Any such physician who becomes licensed on or after January 1, 1989, shall pay an initial assessment equal to the most recent assessment made pursuant to this paragraph, paragraph (5)(a), or paragraph (7)(b).
4. However, if the physician is a physician specified in this subparagraph, the assessment is not applicable:
a. A resident physician, assistant resident physician, or intern in an approved postgraduate training program, as defined by the Board of Medicine or the Board of Osteopathic Medicine by rule;
b. A retired physician who has withdrawn from the practice of medicine but who maintains an active license as evidenced by an affidavit filed with the Department of Health. Prior to reentering the practice of medicine in this state, a retired physician as herein defined must notify the Board of Medicine or the Board of Osteopathic Medicine and pay the appropriate assessments pursuant to this section;
c. A physician who holds a limited license pursuant to s. 458.317 and who is not being compensated for medical services;
d. A physician who is employed full time by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and whose practice is confined to United States Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals; or
e. A physician who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States and who meets the requirements of s. 456.024.
f. A physician who is employed full time by the State of Florida and whose practice is confined to state-owned correctional institutions, a county health department, or state-owned mental health or developmental services facilities, or who is employed full time by the Department of Health.
(c) On or before December 1, 1988, each physician licensed pursuant to chapter 458 or chapter 459 who wishes to participate in the Florida Birth-Related Neurological Injury Compensation Plan and who otherwise qualifies as a participating physician under ss. 766.301-766.316 shall pay an initial assessment of $5,000. However, if the physician is either a resident physician, assistant resident physician, or intern in an approved postgraduate training program, as defined by the Board of Medicine or the Board of Osteopathic Medicine by rule, and is supervised by a physician who is participating in the plan, such resident physician, assistant resident physician, or intern is deemed to be a participating physician without the payment of the assessment. Participating physicians also include any employee of the Board of Regents who has paid the assessment required by this paragraph and paragraph (5)(a), and any certified nurse midwife supervised by such employee. Participating physicians include any certified nurse midwife who has paid 50 percent of the physician assessment required by this paragraph and paragraph (5)(a) and who is supervised by a participating physician who has paid the assessment required by this paragraph and paragraph (5)(a). Supervision shall require that the supervising physician will be easily available and have a prearranged plan of treatment for specified patient problems which the supervised certified nurse midwife or physician may carry out in the absence of any complicating features. Any physician who elects to participate in such plan on or after January 1, 1989, who was not a participating physician at the time of such election to participate and who otherwise qualifies as a participating physician under ss. 766.301-766.316 shall pay an additional initial assessment equal to the most recent assessment made pursuant to this paragraph, paragraph (5)(a), or paragraph (7)(b).
(5)(a) Beginning January 1, 1990, the persons and entities listed in paragraphs (4)(b) and (c), except those persons or entities who are specifically excluded from said provisions, as of the date determined in accordance with the plan of operation, taking into account persons licensed subsequent to the payment of the initial assessment, shall pay an annual assessment in the amount equal to the initial assessments provided in paragraphs (4)(b) and (c). On January 1, 1991, and on each January 1 thereafter, the association shall determine the amount of additional assessments necessary pursuant to subsection (7), in the manner required by the plan of operation, subject to any increase determined to be necessary by the Department of Insurance pursuant to paragraph (7)(b). On July 1, 1991, and on each July 1 thereafter, the persons and entities listed in paragraphs (4)(b) and (c), except those persons or entities who are specifically excluded from said provisions, shall pay the additional assessments which were determined on January 1. Beginning January 1, 1990, the entities listed in paragraph (4)(a), including those licensed on or after October 1, 1988, shall pay an annual assessment of $50 per infant delivered during the prior calendar year. The additional assessments which were determined on January 1, 1991, pursuant to the provisions of subsection (7) shall not be due and payable by the entities listed in paragraph (4)(a) until July 1.
(b) If the assessments collected pursuant to subsection (4) and the appropriation of funds provided by s. 76, chapter 88-1, Laws of Florida, as amended by s. 41, chapter 88-277, Laws of Florida, to the plan from the Insurance Commissioner's Regulatory Trust Fund are insufficient to maintain the plan on an actuarially sound basis, there is hereby appropriated for transfer to the association from the Insurance Commissioner's Regulatory Trust Fund an additional amount of up to $20 million.
(c)1. Taking into account the assessments collected pursuant to subsection (4) and appropriations from the Insurance Commissioner's Regulatory Trust Fund, if required to maintain the plan on an actuarially sound basis, the Department of Insurance shall require each entity licensed to issue casualty insurance as defined in s. 624.605(1)(b), (k), and (q) to pay into the association an annual assessment in an amount determined by the department pursuant to paragraph (7)(a), in the manner required by the plan of operation.
2. All annual assessments shall be made on the basis of net direct premiums written for the business activity which forms the basis for each such entity's inclusion as a funding source for the plan in the state during the prior year ending December 31, as reported to the Department of Insurance, and shall be in the proportion that the net direct premiums written by each carrier on account of the business activity forming the basis for its inclusion in the plan bears to the aggregate net direct premiums for all such business activity written in this state by all such entities.
3. No entity listed in this paragraph shall be individually liable for an annual assessment in excess of 0.25 percent of that entity's net direct premiums written.
4. Casualty insurance carriers shall be entitled to recover their initial and annual assessments through a surcharge on future policies, a rate increase applicable prospectively, or a combination of the two.
(6)(a) The association shall make all assessments required by this section, except initial assessments of physicians licensed on or after October 1, 1988, which assessments will be made by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and except assessments of casualty insurers pursuant to subparagraph (5)(c)1., which assessments will be made by the Department of Insurance. Beginning October 1, 1989, for any physician licensed between October 1 and December 31 of any year, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation shall make the initial assessment plus the assessment for the following calendar year. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation shall provide the association, with such frequency as determined to be necessary, a listing, in a computer-readable form, of the names and addresses of all physicians licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459.
(b)1. The association may enforce collection of assessments required to be paid pursuant to ss. 766.301-766.316 by suit filed in county court. The association shall be entitled to an award of attorney's fees, costs, and interest upon the entry of a judgment against a physician for failure to pay such assessment, with such interest accruing until paid. Notwithstanding the provisions of chapters 47 and 48, the association may file such suit in either Leon County or the county of the residence of the defendant.
2. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation, upon notification by the association that an assessment has not been paid and that there is an unsatisfied judgment against a physician, shall not renew any license to practice for such physician issued pursuant to chapter 458 or chapter 459 until such time as the judgment is satisfied in full.
(c) The Agency for Health Care Administration shall, upon notification by the association that an assessment has not been timely paid, enforce collection of such assessments required to be paid by hospitals pursuant to ss. 766.301-766.316. Failure of a hospital to pay such assessment is grounds for disciplinary action pursuant to s. 395.1065 notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary.
(7)(a) The Department of Insurance shall undertake an actuarial investigation of the requirements of the plan based on the plan's experience in the first year of operation and any additional relevant information, including without limitation the assets and liabilities of the plan. Pursuant to such investigation, the Department of Insurance shall establish the rate of contribution of the entities listed in paragraph (5)(c) for the tax year beginning January 1, 1990. Following the initial valuation, the Department of Insurance shall cause an actuarial valuation to be made of the assets and liabilities of the plan no less frequently than biennially. Pursuant to the results of such valuations, the Department of Insurance shall prepare a statement as to the contribution rate applicable to the entities listed in paragraph (5)(c). However, at no time shall the rate be greater than 0.25 percent of net direct premiums written.
(b) If the Department of Insurance finds that the plan cannot be maintained on an actuarially sound basis based on the assessments and appropriations listed in subsections (4) and (5), the department shall increase the assessments specified in subsection (4) on a proportional basis as needed.
(8) The association shall report to the Legislature its determination as to the annual cost of maintaining the fund on an actuarially sound basis. In making its determination, the association shall consider the recommendations of all hospitals, physicians, casualty insurers, attorneys, consumers, and any associations representing any such person or entity. Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 395.3025, all hospitals, casualty insurers, departments, boards, commissions, and legislative committees shall provide the association with all relevant records and information upon request to assist the association in making its determination. All hospitals shall, upon request by the association, provide the association with information from their records regarding any live birth. Such information shall not include the name of any physician, the name of any hospital employee or agent, the name of the patient, or any other information which will identify the infant involved in the birth. Such information thereby obtained shall be utilized solely for the purpose of assisting the association and shall not subject the hospital to any civil or criminal liability for the release thereof. Such information shall otherwise be confidential and exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(9)(a) Within 60 days after a claim is filed, the association shall estimate the present value of the total cost of the claim, including the estimated amount to be paid to the claimant, the claimant's attorney, the attorney's fees of the association incident to the claim, and any other expenses that are reasonably anticipated to be incurred by the association in connection with the adjudication and payment of the claim. For purposes of this estimate, the association should include the maximum benefits for noneconomic damages.
(b) The association shall revise these estimates quarterly based upon the actual costs incurred and any additional information that becomes available to the association since the last review of this estimate. The estimate shall be reduced by any amounts paid by the association that were included in the current estimate.
(c) In the event the total of all current estimates equals 80 percent of the funds on hand and the funds that will become available to the association within the next 12 months from all sources described in subsections (4) and (5) and paragraph (7)(a), the association shall not accept any new claims without express authority from the Legislature. Nothing herein shall preclude the association from accepting any claim if the injury occurred 18 months or more prior to the effective date of this suspension. Within 30 days of the effective date of this suspension, the association shall notify the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, the Department of Insurance, the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Health, and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation of this suspension.
(d) If any person is precluded from asserting a claim against the association because of paragraph (c), the plan shall not constitute the exclusive remedy for such person, his or her personal representative, parents, dependents, or next of kin.
History.--s. 73, ch. 88-1; s. 39, ch. 88-277; s. 44, ch. 88-294; s. 6, ch. 89-186; s. 103, ch. 92-33; s. 122, ch. 92-149; s. 1, ch. 92-196; s. 94, ch. 92-289; s. 66, ch. 93-268; s. 1, ch. 94-85; s. 248, ch. 94-218; s. 426, ch. 96-406; s. 1807, ch. 97-102; s. 81, ch. 97-237; s. 167, ch. 98-166; s. 288, ch. 99-8; s. 227, ch. 2000-160.