Florida Senate - 2014 SB 1700 By Senator Bean 4-02537B-14 20141700__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to public records; creating s. 456.61, 3 F.S.; exempting from public records requirements 4 personal identifying information of patients and 5 physicians held by the Department of Health in the 6 compassionate use registry; exempting information 7 related to ordering and dispensing low-THC marijuana; 8 authorizing specified persons and entities access to 9 the exempt information; requiring that information 10 released from the registry remain confidential; 11 providing a criminal penalty; providing for future 12 legislative review and repeal; providing a statement 13 of public necessity; providing a contingent effective 14 date. 15 16 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 17 18 Section 1. Section 456.61, Florida Statutes, is created to 19 read: 20 456.61 Public records exemption for personal identifying 21 information in the compassionate use registry.— 22 (1) A patient’s personal identifying information held by 23 the department in the compassionate use registry established 24 under s. 456.60, including, but not limited to, the patient’s 25 name, address, telephone number, and government-issued 26 identification number, and all information pertaining to the 27 physician’s order for low-THC marijuana and the dispensing 28 thereof are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 29 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. 30 (2) A physician’s identifying information held by the 31 department in the compassionate use registry established under 32 s. 456.60, including, but not limited to, the physician’s name, 33 address, telephone number, government-issued identification 34 number, and Drug Enforcement Administration number, and all 35 information pertaining to the physician’s order for low-THC 36 marijuana and the dispensing thereof are confidential and exempt 37 from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State 38 Constitution. 39 (3) The department shall allow access to the registry, 40 including access to confidential and exempt information, to: 41 (a) A law enforcement agency that is investigating a 42 violation of law regarding cannabis in which the subject of the 43 investigation claims an exception established under s. 456.60. 44 (b) A dispensing organization approved by the department 45 pursuant to s. 456.60(3)(b) which is attempting to verify the 46 authenticity of a physician’s order for low-THC marijuana, 47 including whether the order had been previously filled and 48 whether the order was written for the person attempting to have 49 it filled. 50 (c) A physician who has written an order for low-THC 51 marijuana for the purpose of monitoring the patient’s use of 52 such marijuana or for the purpose of determining, before issuing 53 an order for low-THC marijuana, whether another physician has 54 ordered the patient’s use of low-THC marijuana. The physician 55 may access the confidential and exempt information only for the 56 patient for whom he or she has ordered or is determining whether 57 to order the use of low-THC marijuana pursuant to s. 456.60. 58 (d) An employee of the department for the purposes of 59 maintaining the registry and periodic reporting or disclosure of 60 information that has been redacted to exclude personal 61 identifying information. 62 (e) The department’s relevant health care regulatory boards 63 responsible for the licensure, regulation, or discipline of a 64 physician if he or she is involved in a specific investigation 65 of a violation of s. 456.60. If a health care regulatory board’s 66 investigation reveals potential criminal activity, the board may 67 provide any relevant information to the appropriate law 68 enforcement agency. 69 (f) A person engaged in bona fide research if the person 70 agrees: 71 1. To submit a research plan to the department which 72 specifies the exact nature of the information requested and the 73 intended use of the information; 74 2. To maintain the confidentiality of the records or 75 information if personal identifying information is made 76 available to the researcher; 77 3. To destroy any confidential records or information 78 obtained after the research is concluded; and 79 4. Not to contact, directly or indirectly, for any purpose, 80 a patient or physician whose information is in the registry. 81 (4) All information released from the registry under 82 subsection (3) remains confidential and exempt, and a person who 83 receives access to such information must maintain the 84 confidential status of the information received. 85 (5) A person who willfully and knowingly violates this 86 section commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as 87 provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. 88 (6) This section is subject to the Open Government Sunset 89 Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed 90 on October 2, 2019, unless reviewed and saved from repeal 91 through reenactment by the Legislature. 92 Section 2. The Legislature finds that it is a public 93 necessity that identifying information of patients and 94 physicians held by the Department of Health in the compassionate 95 use registry established under s. 456.60, Florida Statutes, be 96 made confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1), Florida 97 Statutes, and s. 24(a), Article I of the State Constitution. 98 Specifically, the Legislature finds that it is a public 99 necessity to make confidential and exempt from public records 100 requirements the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and 101 government-issued identification numbers of patients and 102 physicians and any other information on or pertaining to a 103 physician’s order for low-THC marijuana written pursuant to s. 104 456.60, Florida Statutes, which are held in the registry. The 105 choice made by a physician and his or her patient to use low-THC 106 marijuana to treat that patient’s medical condition or symptoms 107 is a personal and private matter between those two parties. The 108 availability of such information to the public could make the 109 public aware of both the patient’s use of low-THC marijuana and 110 the patient’s diseases or other medical conditions for which the 111 patient is using low-THC marijuana. The knowledge of the 112 patient’s use of low-THC marijuana, the knowledge that the 113 physician ordered the use of low-THC marijuana, and the 114 knowledge of the patient’s medical condition could be used to 115 embarrass, humiliate, harass, or discriminate against the 116 patient and the physician. This information could be used as a 117 discriminatory tool by an employer who disapproves of the 118 patient’s use of low-THC marijuana or of the physician’s 119 ordering such use. However, despite the potential hazards of 120 collecting such information, maintaining the compassionate use 121 registry established under s. 456.60, Florida Statutes, is 122 necessary to prevent the diversion and nonmedical use of any 123 low-THC marijuana as well as to aid and improve research done on 124 the efficacy of low-THC marijuana. Thus, the Legislature finds 125 that it is a public necessity to make confidential and exempt 126 from public records requirements the identifying information of 127 patients and physicians held by the Department of Health in the 128 compassionate use registry established under s. 456.60, Florida 129 Statutes. 130 Section 3. This act shall take effect on the same date that 131 SB 1030, or similar legislation establishing an electronic 132 system to record a physician’s orders for, and a patient’s use 133 of, low-THC marijuana takes effect, if such legislation is 134 adopted in the same legislative session or an extension thereof 135 and becomes a law.