Florida Senate - 2012                                     SB 886
       By Senator Jones
       13-00676A-12                                           2012886__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to community health workers; providing
    3         definitions; specifying the duties and activities of
    4         community health workers; creating the Community
    5         Health Worker Task Force within a state college or
    6         university; requiring the Department of Health to
    7         provide administrative support; providing membership
    8         of the task force; providing duties of the task force;
    9         requiring the members of the task force to elect a
   10         chairperson; providing that task force members serve
   11         without compensation and are not entitled to
   12         reimbursement for per diem or travel expenses;
   13         requiring that the task force meet at least quarterly;
   14         specifying the number of members required for a
   15         quorum; requiring the task force to submit a report to
   16         the Governor and Legislature by a specified date;
   17         providing an effective date.
   19         WHEREAS, Florida faces a number of challenges in providing
   20  access to health care services in both urban and rural areas
   21  which impair the health and well-being of state residents, and
   22         WHEREAS, Florida continues to experience critical shortages
   23  of providers in primary health care, oral health care, and
   24  behavioral health care, particularly in rural and inner-city
   25  areas, and
   26         WHEREAS, there is substantial evidence that comprehensive
   27  coordination of care for individuals who have chronic diseases
   28  and the provision of information regarding preventive care can
   29  improve individual health, create a healthier population, reduce
   30  the costs of health care, and increase appropriate access to
   31  health care, and
   32         WHEREAS, community health workers, also known as
   33  “promotoras,” and community health representatives, hereinafter
   34  collectively referred to as “community health workers,” have
   35  demonstrated success in increasing access to health care in
   36  underserved communities, providing culturally appropriate
   37  education regarding prevention and disease management, providing
   38  translating and interpreting services for health care
   39  encounters, improving health outcomes through the coordination
   40  of care, increasing individual health care literacy and
   41  advocacy, and organizing to improve the health care of medically
   42  underserved communities, while reducing costs in the state’s
   43  health care system, and
   44         WHEREAS, the Legislature recognizes that community health
   45  workers are important members of the health care delivery system
   46  in this state, and the Florida Health Worker Coalition has begun
   47  to explore options that would allow community health workers to
   48  be part of an integrated health delivery team, NOW, THEREFORE,
   50  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   52         Section 1. Community health workers.—
   53         (1) As used in this section, the term:
   54         (a) “Community health worker” means a front-line health
   55  care worker who is a trusted member of or has an unusually close
   56  understanding of the community that he or she serves.
   57         (b) “Department” means the Department of Health.
   58         (c) “Medically underserved community” means a geographic
   59  area that has a shortage of health professionals as defined by
   60  federal regulations and has a substantial number of persons who
   61  lack public or private health insurance, are unable to pay for
   62  care, and have incomes at or below 185 percent of the federal
   63  poverty level.
   64         (d) “Task force” means the Community Health Worker Task
   65  Force established by the department under this section.
   66         (2)(a) A community health worker serves as a liaison, link,
   67  or intermediary between health care services, social services,
   68  and the community in order to facilitate access to health care
   69  services and improve the quality of health care services and the
   70  cultural competency of health care providers.
   71         (b) A community health worker performs the following
   72  activities in a community setting:
   73         1. Provides information on available resources;
   74         2. Provides social support and informal counseling;
   75         3. Advocates for individuals and their health care needs;
   76  and
   77         4. Provides services, such as first aid and blood pressure
   78  screening.
   79         (c) A community health worker also builds individual and
   80  community capacity by increasing knowledge in wellness and
   81  disease prevention and self-sufficiency through a range of
   82  activities, such as community outreach, community education,
   83  informal counseling, social support, and advocacy.
   84         (d) A community health worker also collects data to help
   85  identify health care needs in a medically underserved community
   86  by:
   87         1. Serving as a liaison between the community and health
   88  care providers.
   89         2. Providing guidance and social assistance to residents.
   90         3. Enhancing the communication skills of residents in order
   91  to assist them in effectively communicating with health care
   92  providers.
   93         4. Providing culturally and linguistically appropriate
   94  health or nutrition education.
   95         5. Advocating for better individual and community health,
   96  including oral health, mental health, and nutritional needs.
   97         6. Providing referral services, followup services, and
   98  coordination of care.
   99         (3)(a) The department shall establish the Community Health
  100  Worker Task Force within a state college or university. The
  101  department shall provide administrative support and services to
  102  the task force to the extent requested by the chairperson of the
  103  task force and within available resources of the department.
  104         (b) The task force shall consist of the following 12
  105  members:
  106         1. One member of the Senate, appointed by the President of
  107  the Senate.
  108         2. One member of the House of Representatives, appointed by
  109  the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  110         3. One state official, appointed by the Governor.
  111         4. Six community health workers, appointed by the State
  112  Surgeon General.
  113         5. Three representatives of the Florida Community Health
  114  Worker Coalition, appointed by the chair of the Florida
  115  Community Health Worker Coalition.
  116         (c) The task force shall develop recommendations for:
  117         1. Including community health workers in the development of
  118  proposals for health care or Medicaid reform in this state as
  119  part of the outreach efforts for enrolling residents of this
  120  state in Medicaid managed care programs or other health care
  121  delivery services.
  122         2. Including community health workers in providing
  123  assistance to residents in navigating the health care system and
  124  providing information and guidance regarding preventive health
  125  care.
  126         3. Providing support to community health centers and other
  127  safety net providers through the integration of community health
  128  workers as part of health care delivery teams.
  129         (d) The task force shall also collaborate with the Florida
  130  Community Health Worker Coalition, colleges and universities in
  131  this state, and other organizations and institutions to
  132  recommend a process that leads to the standardization of
  133  qualifications and skills of community health workers who are
  134  employed in state-supported health care programs.
  135         (e)The members of the task force shall elect a chairperson
  136  and vice chairperson.
  137         (f)Members of the task force shall serve without
  138  compensation, and are not entitled to reimbursement for per diem
  139  and travel expenses.
  140         (g)The task force shall meet at least quarterly and at
  141  other times at the call of the chairperson, or as determined by
  142  a majority of members.
  143         (h)A quorum shall consist of seven members, and the
  144  concurring vote of a majority of the members present is required
  145  for final action.
  146         (i) The task force shall submit a report by June 30, 2013,
  147  to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of
  148  the House of Representatives, stating the findings, conclusions,
  149  and recommendations of the task force.
  150         Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.