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. 18 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, 47 48 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 49 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.