Florida Senate - 2014 SB 306 By Senator Braynon 36-00363-14 2014306__ 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 Florida College 6 System institution or state university; requiring the 7 Department of Health to provide administrative support 8 and services; providing membership and duties of the 9 task force; requiring the members of the task force to 10 elect a chair and vice chair; providing that task 11 force members serve without compensation and are not 12 entitled to reimbursement for per diem or travel 13 expenses; requiring that the task force meet at least 14 quarterly; authorizing the task force members to meet 15 in person or by teleconference or other electronic 16 means; specifying the number of members required for a 17 quorum; requiring the task force to submit a report to 18 the Governor and the Legislature by a specified date; 19 providing for future repeal of the task force; 20 providing an effective date. 21 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 non-English speakers, improving health 37 outcomes through the coordination of care, increasing individual 38 health care literacy and advocacy, and organizing to improve the 39 health care of medically underserved communities while reducing 40 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 Community Health Worker Coalition 44 has begun to explore options that would allow community health 45 workers to earn a living wage and be part of an integrated 46 health delivery 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 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 the 56 health care services or 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. 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 to prevent 68 disease and promote health by increasing knowledge regarding 69 wellness, disease prevention, and self-sufficiency among the 70 members of the community through a range of activities, such as 71 community outreach, education, and advocacy. 72 4. Collects data to help identify the health care needs in 73 a medically underserved community by: 74 a. Enhancing the communication skills of members of the 75 community in order to assist them in effectively communicating 76 with health care providers. 77 b. Providing culturally and linguistically appropriate 78 health or nutrition education. 79 c. Advocating for better individual and community health, 80 including oral health, mental health, and nutritional needs. 81 d. Providing referral services, followup services, and 82 coordination of care. 83 (b) “Department” means the Department of Health. 84 (c) “Medically underserved community” means a community in 85 a geographic area that has a shortage of health care 86 professionals and has a population that includes persons who do 87 not have public or private health insurance, are unable to pay 88 for health care, and have incomes at or below 185 percent of the 89 federal poverty level. 90 (d) “Task force” means the Community Health Worker Task 91 Force established by the department under this section. 92 (2)(a) The department shall establish the Community Health 93 Worker Task Force within a Florida College System institution or 94 state university. The department shall provide administrative 95 support and services to the task force to the extent requested 96 by the chair of the task force and within available resources of 97 the department. 98 (b) The task force shall consist of the following 12 99 members: 100 1. One member of the Senate appointed by the President of 101 the Senate. 102 2. One member of the House of Representatives appointed by 103 the Speaker of the House of Representatives. 104 3. One state official appointed by the Governor. 105 4. Six culturally and regionally diverse community health 106 workers appointed by the State Surgeon General. 107 5. Three representatives of the Florida Community Health 108 Worker Coalition appointed by the chair of the Florida Community 109 Health Worker Coalition. 110 (c) The task force shall develop recommendations for: 111 1. Including community health workers in the development of 112 proposals for health care or Medicaid reform in this state as 113 part of the outreach efforts for enrolling residents of this 114 state in Medicaid managed care programs or other health care 115 delivery services. 116 2. Including community health workers in providing 117 assistance to residents in navigating the health care system and 118 providing information and guidance regarding preventive health 119 care. 120 3. Providing support to community health centers and other 121 “safety net” providers through the integration of community 122 health workers as part of health care delivery teams. 123 (d) The task force shall also collaborate with the Florida 124 Community Health Worker Coalition, colleges and universities in 125 the state, and other organizations and institutions to recommend 126 a process that leads to the standardization of qualifications 127 and skills of community health workers who are employed in 128 state-supported health care programs. 129 (e) The members of the task force shall elect a chair and 130 vice chair. 131 (f) Members of the task force shall serve without 132 compensation and are not entitled to reimbursement for per diem 133 and travel expenses. 134 (g) The task force shall meet at least quarterly and may 135 meet at other times upon the call of the chair or as determined 136 by a majority of members. Meetings of the task force may be held 137 in person or by teleconference or other electronic means. 138 (h) A quorum shall consist of seven members, and the 139 concurring vote of a majority of the members present is required 140 for final action. 141 (i) The task force shall submit a report by June 30, 2015, 142 to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of 143 the House of Representatives which states the findings, 144 conclusions, and recommendations of the task force. 145 (3) This section is repealed December 1, 2015. 146 Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.