(1) SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the “Florida Medical Physicists Act.”
(2) DECLARATION OF LEGISLATIVE POLICY.—The Legislature finds that the practice of medical physics by incompetent persons is a threat to the public health and safety. It is, therefore, the responsibility of this state to protect the public health and safety from the harmful effects of excessive and unnecessary radiation by ensuring that the practice of medical physics is entrusted only to persons who are licensed under this section.
(3) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
(a) “Council” means the Advisory Council of Medical Physicists in the Department of Health.
(b) “Department” means the Department of Health.
(c) “Diagnostic radiological physics” means the specialty of medical physics which deals with the diagnostic application and safe use of X rays, gamma rays from sealed sources, ultrasonic radiation, radio frequency radiation, or magnetic fields, and the use of equipment associated with the production, use, measurement, and evaluation of the radiation and the quality of the diagnostic image resulting from its production and use.
(d) “License” means a certificate issued by the department which authorizes the holder to practice medical physics.
(e) “Licensed medical physicist” means a person who holds a license issued under this section.
(f) “Medical health physics” means the specialty of medical physics which deals with the safe use of X rays, gamma rays, electron or other charged particle beams, neutrons, radionuclides, and radiation from sealed sources, for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes in human beings and the use of equipment required to perform appropriate tests and measurements that do not involve the direct application of radiation to humans for diagnostic or therapeutic procedures.
(g) “Medical nuclear radiological physics” means the specialty of medical physics which deals with the therapeutic and diagnostic application and safe use of radionuclides, except those used in sealed sources for therapeutic purposes, and the use of equipment associated with the production, use, measurement, and evaluation of radionuclides.
(h) “Medical physics” means the branch of physics which is associated with the practice of medicine. It includes the fields of diagnostic radiological physics, therapeutic radiological physics, medical nuclear radiological physics, and medical health physics.
(i) “Physician” means a doctor of medicine, osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, dentistry, or chiropractic medicine who is licensed in this state and who prescribes a radiological procedure.
(j) “Practice of medical physics” means the use of principles and accepted protocols of physics to ensure the correct quality, quantity, and placement of radiation during the performance of a radiological procedure prescribed by a physician which will protect the patient and others from harmful excessive radiation. The term includes radiation beam calibration and characterization quality assurance, instrument specification, acceptance testing, shielding design, protection analysis on radiation-emitting equipment and radiopharmaceuticals, and consultation with a physician to ensure accurate radiation dosage to a specific patient.
(k) “Radiation” means ionizing or nonionizing radiation above background levels which is used to perform a diagnostic or therapeutic medical or dental radiological procedure.
(l) “Radiological procedure” means a test, measurement, calculation, or radiation exposure used in the diagnosis or treatment of diseases or other medical or dental conditions in human beings that includes therapeutic radiation, diagnostic radiation, nuclear magnetic resonance, or nuclear medicine procedures.
(m) “Therapeutic radiological physics” means that specialty of medical physics which deals with the therapeutic application and safe use of X rays, gamma rays, electron or other charged particle beams, neutrons, or radiation from radionuclide sources, and the use of equipment associated with the production, use, measurement, and evaluation of that radiation.
(4) COUNCIL.—The Advisory Council of Medical Physicists is created in the Department of Health to advise the department in regulating the practice of medical physics in this state. (a) The council shall be composed of nine members appointed by the State Surgeon General as follows:
1. A licensed medical physicist who specializes in diagnostic radiological physics.
2. A licensed medical physicist who specializes in therapeutic radiological physics.
3. A licensed medical physicist who specializes in medical nuclear radiological physics.
4. A physician who is board certified by the American Board of Radiology or its equivalent.
5. A physician who is board certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology or its equivalent.
6. A chiropractic physician who practices radiology.
7. Three consumer members who are not, and have never been, licensed as a medical physicist or licensed in any closely related profession.
(b) The State Surgeon General shall appoint the medical physicist members of the council from a list of candidates who are licensed to practice medical physics.
(c) The State Surgeon General shall appoint the physician members of the council from a list of candidates who are licensed to practice medicine in this state and are board certified in diagnostic radiology, therapeutic radiology, or radiation oncology.
(d) The State Surgeon General shall appoint the public members of the council.
(e) As the term of each member expires, the State Surgeon General shall appoint the successor for a term of 4 years. A member shall serve until the member’s successor is appointed, unless physically unable to do so.
(f) An individual is ineligible to serve more than two full consecutive 4-year terms.
(g) If a vacancy on the council occurs, the State Surgeon General shall appoint a member to serve for a 4-year term.
(h) A council member must be a United States citizen and must have been a resident of this state for 2 consecutive years immediately before being appointed.
1. A member of the council who is a medical physicist must have practiced for at least 6 years before being appointed or be board certified for the specialty in which the member practices.
2. A member of the council who is a physician must be licensed to practice medicine in this state and must have practiced diagnostic radiology or radiation oncology in this state for at least 2 years before being appointed.
3. The public members of the council must not have a financial interest in any endeavor related to the practice of medical physics.
(i) A council member may be removed from the council if the member:
1. Did not have the required qualifications at the time of appointment;
2. Does not maintain the required qualifications while serving on the council; or
3. Fails to attend the regularly scheduled council meetings in a calendar year as required by s. 456.011. (j) Members of the council may not receive compensation for their services; however, they are entitled to reimbursement, from funds deposited in the Medical Quality Assurance Trust Fund, for necessary travel expenses as specified in s. 112.061 for each day they engage in the business of the council.
(k) At the first regularly scheduled meeting of each calendar year, the council shall elect a presiding officer and an assistant presiding officer from among its members. The council shall meet at least once each year and at other times in accordance with department requirements.
(l) The department shall provide administrative support to the council for all licensing activities.
(m) The council may conduct its meetings electronically.
(5) POWERS OF COUNCIL.—The council shall:
(a) Recommend rules to administer this section.
(b) Recommend practice standards for the practice of medical physics which are consistent with the Guidelines for Ethical Practice for Medical Physicists prepared by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and disciplinary guidelines adopted under s. 456.079.
(c) Develop and recommend continuing education requirements for licensed medical physicists.
(6) LICENSE REQUIRED.—An individual may not engage in the practice of medical physics, including the specialties of diagnostic radiological physics, therapeutic radiological physics, medical nuclear radiological physics, or medical health physics, without a license issued by the department for the appropriate specialty.
(a) The department shall adopt rules to administer this section which specify license application and renewal fees, continuing education requirements, and standards for practicing medical physics. The council shall recommend to the department continuing education requirements that shall be a condition of license renewal. The department shall require a minimum of 24 hours per biennium of continuing education offered by an organization recommended by the council and approved by the department. The department, upon recommendation of the council, may adopt rules to specify continuing education requirements for persons who hold a license in more than one specialty.
(b) In order to apply for a medical physicist license in one or more specialties, a person must file an individual application for each specialty with the department. The application must be on a form prescribed by the department and must be accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee for each specialty.
(c) The department may issue a license to an eligible applicant if the applicant meets all license requirements. At any time before the department issues a license, the applicant may request in writing that the application be withdrawn. To reapply, the applicant must submit a new application and an additional nonrefundable application fee and must meet all current licensure requirements.
(d) The department shall review each completed application for a license which the department receives.
(e) On receipt of an application and fee as specified in this section, the department may issue a license to practice medical physics in this state on or after October 1, 1997, to a person who is board certified in the medical physics specialty in which the applicant applies to practice by the American Board of Radiology for diagnostic radiological physics, therapeutic radiological physics, or medical nuclear radiological physics; by the American Board of Medical Physics for diagnostic radiological physics, therapeutic radiological physics, or medical nuclear radiological physics; or by the American Board of Health Physics or an equivalent certifying body approved by the department.
(f) A licensee shall:
1. Display the license in a place accessible to the public; and
2. Report immediately any change in the licensee’s address or name to the department.
(g) The following acts constitute grounds for denial of a license or disciplinary action, as specified in s. 456.072(2):
1. Obtaining or attempting to obtain a license by bribery, fraud, knowing misrepresentation, or concealment of material fact or through an error of the department.
2. Having a license denied, revoked, suspended, or otherwise acted against in another jurisdiction.
3. Being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction which relates to the practice of, or the ability to practice, the profession of medical physics.
4. Willfully failing to file a report or record required for medical physics or willfully impeding or obstructing the filing of a report or record required by this section or inducing another person to do so.
5. Making misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent representations in or related to the practice of medical physics.
6. Willfully failing to report any known violation of this section or any rule adopted thereunder.
7. Failing to perform any statutory or legal obligation placed upon a licensee.
8. Aiding, assisting, procuring, employing, or advising any unlicensed person to practice medical physics contrary to this section or any rule adopted thereunder.
9. Delegating or contracting for the performance of professional responsibilities by a person when the licensee delegating or contracting such responsibilities knows, or has reason to know, such person is not qualified by training, experience, and authorization to perform them.
10. Practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law or accepting and performing professional responsibilities the licensee knows, or has reason to know, the licensee is not competent to perform.
11. Gross or repeated malpractice or the inability to practice medical physics with reasonable skill and safety.
12. Judicially determined mental incompetency.
13. Being unable to practice medical physics with reasonable skill and safety because of a mental or physical condition or illness or the use of alcohol, controlled substances, or any other substance which impairs one’s ability to practice.
a. The department may, upon probable cause, compel a licensee to submit to a mental or physical examination by physicians designated by the department. The cost of an examination shall be borne by the licensee, and the licensee’s failure to submit to such an examination constitutes an admission of the allegations against the licensee, consequent upon which a default and a final order may be entered without the taking of testimony or presentation of evidence, unless the failure was due to circumstances beyond the licensee’s control.
b. A licensee who is disciplined under this subparagraph shall, at reasonable intervals, be afforded an opportunity to demonstrate that the licensee can resume the practice of medical physics with reasonable skill and safety.
c. With respect to any proceeding under this subparagraph, the record of proceedings or the orders entered by the department may not be used against a licensee in any other proceeding.
14. Violating any provision of this chapter or chapter 456, or any rules adopted pursuant thereto.
(h) The department may enter an order denying licensure or imposing any of the penalties in s. 456.072(2) against any applicant for licensure or licensee who is found guilty of violating any provision of subsection (1) of this section or who is found guilty of violating any provision of s. 456.072(1).
(i) The department may not issue or reinstate a license to a person it has deemed unqualified until it is satisfied that such person has complied with the terms and conditions of the final order and that the licensee can safely practice medical physics.
(j) Upon receipt of a complete application and the fee set forth by rule, the department may issue a physicist-in-training certificate to a person qualified to practice medical physics under direct supervision. The department may establish by rule requirements for initial certification and renewal of a physicist-in-training certificate.
(7) FEES.—The fee for the initial license application shall be $500 and is nonrefundable. The fee for license renewal may not be more than $500. These fees may cover only the costs incurred by the department and the council to administer this section. By July 1 each year, the department shall advise the council if the fees are insufficient to administer this section.
(8) DISPOSITION OF FEES.—The department shall deposit all funds received into the Medical Quality Assurance Trust Fund.
(9) PENALTY FOR VIOLATIONS.—It is a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084, to:
(a) Practice or attempt to practice medical physics or hold oneself out to be a licensed medical physicist without holding an active license.
(b) Practice or attempt to practice medical physics under a name other than one’s own.
(c) Use or attempt to use a revoked or suspended license or the license of another.
(10) EXEMPTIONS.—This section does not apply to:
(a) A physician who is licensed by this state to the extent that the physician practices within the scope of the physician’s training, education, and licensure;
(b) A person who is licensed under part IV of chapter 468 to the extent that the person practices within the scope of the person’s training, education, and licensure;
(c) A person who performs beam calibration and characterization, quality assurance, instrument specification, acceptance testing, shielding design, or protection analysis on radiation-emitting equipment or radiopharmaceuticals in connection with procedures that are not involved with the diagnosis or treatment of disease or other medical or dental conditions in humans;
(d) A person who is employed by a federal or state regulatory agency and is performing duties within the scope of the person’s employment;
(e) A student or intern who practices medical physics in conjunction with a program at an accredited college or university to the extent that the student or intern is adequately supervised by a licensed medical physicist or licensed physician; or
(f) A dentist or any person working under the dentist’s supervision pursuant to chapter 466 to the extent that the dentist or the person supervised by the dentist is practicing within the scope of his or her training, education, and licensure.