Florida Senate - 2013                                     SB 894
       By Senator Braynon
       36-00967-13                                            2013894__
    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 and services; providing
    8         membership and duties of the task force; requiring the
    9         members of the task force to elect a chair and vice
   10         chair; providing that task force members serve without
   11         compensation and are not entitled to reimbursement for
   12         per diem or travel expenses; requiring that the task
   13         force meet at least quarterly; specifying the number
   14         of members required for a quorum; requiring the task
   15         force to submit a report to the Governor and
   16         Legislature by a specified date; providing an
   17         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 have demonstrated success
   33  in increasing access to health care in underserved communities,
   34  providing culturally appropriate education regarding disease
   35  prevention and management, providing translating and
   36  interpreting services for health care encounters, improving
   37  health outcomes through the coordination of care, increasing
   38  individual health care literacy and advocacy, and organizing to
   39  improve the health care of medically underserved communities
   40  while reducing costs in the state’s health care system, and
   41         WHEREAS, the Legislature recognizes that community health
   42  workers are important members of the health care delivery system
   43  in this state, and the Florida Health Worker Coalition has begun
   44  to explore options that would allow community health workers to
   45  earn a living wage and be part of an integrated health delivery
   46  team, NOW, THEREFORE,
   48  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   50         Section 1. Community Health Worker Task Force.—
   51         (1) As used in this section, the term:
   52         (a) “Community health worker” means a front-line health
   53  care worker who is a trusted member of or has an unusually close
   54  understanding of the community that he or she serves and who:
   55         1. Serves as a liaison, link, or intermediary between
   56  health care services, social services, and the community in
   57  order to facilitate access to health care services and improve
   58  the quality of health care services and the cultural competency
   59  of health care providers.
   60         2. Performs the following activities in a community
   61  setting:
   62         a. Provides information regarding available resources.
   63         b. Provides social support and informal counseling.
   64         c. Advocates for individuals and their health care needs.
   65         d. Provides services such as first aid and blood pressure
   66  screening.
   67         3. Builds individual and community capacity by increasing
   68  knowledge regarding wellness, disease prevention, and self
   69  sufficiency through a range of activities, such as community
   70  outreach and education and advocacy.
   71         4. Collects data to help identify the health care needs in
   72  a medically underserved community by:
   73         a. Enhancing the communication skills of residents in order
   74  to assist them in effectively communicating with health care
   75  providers.
   76         b. Providing culturally and linguistically appropriate
   77  health or nutrition education.
   78         c. Advocating for better individual and community health,
   79  including oral health, mental health, and nutritional needs.
   80         d. Providing referral services, followup services, and
   81  coordination of care.
   82         (b) “Department” means the Department of Health.
   83         (c) “Medically underserved community” means a geographic
   84  area that has a shortage of health care professionals and has a
   85  population that includes persons who do not have public or
   86  private health insurance, are unable to pay for health care, and
   87  have incomes at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty
   88  level.
   89         (d) “Task force” means the Community Health Worker Task
   90  Force established by the department under this section.
   91         (2)(a) The department shall establish the Community Health
   92  Worker Task Force within a state college or university. The
   93  department shall provide administrative support and services to
   94  the task force to the extent requested by the chair of the task
   95  force and within available resources of the department.
   96         (b) The task force shall consist of the following 12
   97  members:
   98         1. One member of the Senate appointed by the President of
   99  the Senate.
  100         2. One member of the House of Representatives appointed by
  101  the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  102         3. One state official appointed by the Governor.
  103         4. Six culturally and regionally diverse community health
  104  workers appointed by the State Surgeon General.
  105         5. Three representatives of the Florida Community Health
  106  Worker Coalition appointed by the chair of the Florida Community
  107  Health Worker Coalition.
  108         (c) The task force shall develop recommendations for:
  109         1. Including community health workers in the development of
  110  proposals for health care or Medicaid reform in this state as
  111  part of the outreach efforts for enrolling residents of this
  112  state in Medicaid managed care programs or other health care
  113  delivery services.
  114         2. Including community health workers in providing
  115  assistance to residents in navigating the health care system and
  116  providing information and guidance regarding preventive health
  117  care.
  118         3. Providing support to community health centers and other
  119  “safety net” providers through the integration of community
  120  health workers as part of health care delivery teams.
  121         (d) The task force shall also collaborate with the Florida
  122  Community Health Worker Coalition, colleges and universities in
  123  the state, and other organizations and institutions to recommend
  124  a process that leads to the standardization of qualifications
  125  and skills of community health workers who are employed in
  126  state-supported health care programs.
  127         (e) The members of the task force shall elect a chair and
  128  vice chair.
  129         (f) Members of the task force shall serve without
  130  compensation and are not entitled to reimbursement for per diem
  131  and travel expenses.
  132         (g) The task force shall meet at least quarterly and may
  133  meet at other times upon the call of the chair or as determined
  134  by a majority of members.
  135         (h) A quorum shall consist of seven members, and the
  136  concurring vote of a majority of the members present is required
  137  for final action.
  138         (i) The task force shall submit a report by June 30, 2014,
  139  to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of
  140  the House of Representatives stating the findings, conclusions,
  141  and recommendations of the task force.
  142         Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.