(1) There is created within the department a 16-member advisory council on brain and spinal cord injuries. The council shall be composed of a minimum of four individuals who have brain injuries or are family members of individuals who have brain injuries, a minimum of four individuals who have spinal cord injuries or are family members of individuals who have spinal cord injuries, and a minimum of two individuals who represent the special needs of children who have brain or spinal cord injuries. The balance of the council members shall be physicians, other allied health professionals, administrators of brain and spinal cord injury programs, and representatives from support groups that have expertise in areas related to the rehabilitation of individuals who have brain or spinal cord injuries.
(2) Members of the council shall be appointed to serve by the State Surgeon General. All members’ terms shall be for 4 years. An individual may not serve more than two terms. Any council member who is unwilling or unable to properly fulfill the duties of the office shall be succeeded by an individual chosen by the State Surgeon General to serve out the unexpired balance of the replaced council member’s term. If the unexpired balance of the replaced council member’s term is less than 18 months, then, notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, the succeeding council member may be reappointed by the State Surgeon General twice.
(3) The council shall meet at least two times annually.
(4) The council shall:
(a) Provide advice and expertise to the department in the preparation, implementation, and periodic review of the brain and spinal cord injury program.
(b) Annually appoint a five-member committee composed of one individual who has a brain injury or has a family member with a brain injury, one individual who has a spinal cord injury or has a family member with a spinal cord injury, and three members who shall be chosen from among these representative groups: physicians, other allied health professionals, administrators of brain and spinal cord injury programs, and representatives from support groups with expertise in areas related to the rehabilitation of individuals who have brain or spinal cord injuries, except that one and only one member of the committee shall be an administrator of a transitional living facility. Membership on the council is not a prerequisite for membership on this committee. 1. The committee shall perform onsite visits to those transitional living facilities identified by the Agency for Health Care Administration as being in possible violation of the statutes and rules regulating such facilities. The committee members have the same rights of entry and inspection granted under s. 400.805(4) to designated representatives of the agency.
2. Factual findings of the committee resulting from an onsite investigation of a facility pursuant to subparagraph 1. shall be adopted by the agency in developing its administrative response regarding enforcement of statutes and rules regulating the operation of the facility.
3. Onsite investigations by the committee shall be funded by the Health Care Trust Fund.
4. Travel expenses for committee members shall be reimbursed in accordance with s. 112.061.
5. Members of the committee shall recuse themselves from participating in any investigation that would create a conflict of interest under state law, and the council shall replace the member, either temporarily or permanently.
(5) Members of the advisory council are entitled to reimbursement for per diem and travel expenses for required attendance at council meetings in accordance with s. 112.061. Reasonable expenses for personal assistance services and interpreters needed by members during required attendance at council meetings shall be reimbursed. A member may not receive any compensation for performing duties specified in, or arising out of, her or his duties as a council member under this 1part, except as otherwise specified in this 1part.
(6) A member of the advisory council may not cast a vote on any matter that would provide direct financial benefit to the member or create a conflict of interest under state law.
(7) A member of the advisory council may be removed from office by the State Surgeon General for malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty, incompetence, or permanent inability to perform official duties or for pleading nolo contendere to, or being found guilty of, a crime. Malfeasance includes, but is not limited to, a violation of any specific prohibition within ss. 381.739-381.79.