(1) Any organization that provides companion services or homemaker services and does not provide a home health service to a person is exempt from licensure under this part. However, any organization that provides companion services or homemaker services must register with the agency. An organization under contract with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities which provides companion services only for persons with a developmental disability, as defined in s. 393.063, is exempt from registration.
(2) The requirements of part II of chapter 408 apply to the provision of services that require registration or licensure pursuant to this section and part II of chapter 408 and entities registered by or applying for such registration from the Agency for Health Care Administration pursuant to this section. Each applicant for registration and each registrant must comply with all provisions of part II of chapter 408. Registration or a license issued by the agency is required for the operation of an organization that provides companion services or homemaker services.
(3) In accordance with s. 408.805, applicants and registrants shall pay fees for all registrations issued under this part, part II of chapter 408, and applicable rules. The amount of the fee shall be $50 per biennium. (4) Each registrant must obtain the employment or contract history of persons who are employed by or under contract with the organization and who will have contact at any time with patients or clients in their homes by:
(a) Requiring such persons to submit an employment or contractual history to the registrant; and
(b) Verifying the employment or contractual history, unless through diligent efforts such verification is not possible. The agency shall prescribe by rule the minimum requirements for establishing that diligent efforts have been made.
There is no monetary liability on the part of, and no cause of action for damages arises against, a former employer of a prospective employee of or prospective independent contractor with a registrant who reasonably and in good faith communicates his or her honest opinions about the former employee’s or contractor’s job performance. This subsection does not affect the official immunity of an officer or employee of a public corporation.
(5) A person that offers or advertises to the public a service for which registration is required must include in its advertisement the registration number issued by the Agency for Health Care Administration.
(6) In addition to any other penalties imposed pursuant to this section or part, the agency may assess costs related to an investigation that results in a successful prosecution, excluding costs associated with an attorney’s time.
(7) The Agency for Health Care Administration shall adopt rules to administer this section and part II of chapter 408.