Florida Senate - 2015                                     SB 482
       By Senator Braynon
       36-00219-15                                            2015482__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to community health worker
    3         certification; creating s. 381.989, F.S.; defining
    4         terms; requiring the Department of Health to approve
    5         qualified third-party credentialing entities to
    6         administer voluntary community health worker
    7         certification programs; establishing criteria for the
    8         approval of a third-party credentialing entity;
    9         requiring a third-party credentialing entity to issue
   10         a certification to certain qualified individuals who
   11         meet the grandfathering standards established by the
   12         entity; establishing a maximum fee for such
   13         certification; providing an effective date.
   15         WHEREAS, Florida continues to experience a critical
   16  shortage of health care providers in primary care, oral health,
   17  and behavioral health, particularly in rural and inner-city
   18  areas, and
   19         WHEREAS, there is substantial evidence that the
   20  comprehensive coordination of care for individuals who have
   21  chronic diseases and the provision of information regarding
   22  preventive care can improve individual health, create a
   23  healthier population, reduce health care costs, and increase
   24  appropriate access to health care, and
   25         WHEREAS, community health workers have demonstrated success
   26  in increasing access to health care in medically underserved
   27  communities, providing culturally appropriate education
   28  regarding disease prevention and management, providing
   29  translation and interpretation services for non-English
   30  speakers, improving health outcomes through the coordination of
   31  care, increasing individual health care literacy and advocacy,
   32  and improving the health care of medically underserved
   33  communities, while reducing the overall costs to the state’s
   34  health care system, and
   35         WHEREAS, the Legislature recognizes that the services
   36  provided by community health workers are an essential component
   37  of the health care delivery system in this state, and
   38         WHEREAS, the Florida Community Health Worker Coalition has
   39  begun to develop a voluntary process that will ensure that only
   40  qualified individuals are designated as certified community
   41  health workers by a department-approved third-party
   42  credentialing entity, which will allow community health workers
   43  to earn a living wage and be part of an integrated health
   44  delivery team, NOW, THEREFORE,
   46  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   48         Section 1. Section 381.989, Florida Statutes, is created to
   49  read:
   50         381.989 Community health worker.—
   51         (1) DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   52         (a) “Community health worker” means a frontline health care
   53  worker who is a trusted member of, or who has an unusually deep
   54  understanding of, the community that he or she serves and who
   55  meets all of following criteria:
   56         1. Serves as a liaison, link, or intermediary between
   57  health care services or social services or service providers and
   58  members of the community in order to facilitate access to health
   59  care services and to improve the quality of such services and
   60  the cultural competency of health care providers.
   61         2. Provides information regarding available resources and
   62  social support and serves as a health care advocate for
   63  individuals in a community setting.
   64         3. Builds individual and community capacity to prevent
   65  disease and promote health by increasing knowledge regarding
   66  wellness programs, disease prevention, and self-sufficiency
   67  among the members of the community through a range of
   68  activities, such as community outreach, education, and advocacy.
   69         4. Collects data to help identify the health care needs in
   70  a medically underserved community by:
   71         a. Assisting members of the community in improving their
   72  ability to effectively communicate with health care providers.
   73         b. Providing culturally and linguistically appropriate
   74  health and nutrition education.
   75         c. Advocating for improved individual and community health,
   76  including oral health, behavioral health, and nutrition.
   77         d. Providing referral services, followup services, and
   78  coordination of care.
   79         (b) “Certification” means the voluntary process by which a
   80  department-approved third-party credentialing entity grants a
   81  credential to an eligible individual to practice as a certified
   82  community health worker.
   83         (c) “Certified community health worker” means a community
   84  health worker to whom the department-approved third-party
   85  credentialing entity has issued a credential that demonstrates
   86  that individual’s mastery of community health worker core
   87  competencies.
   88         (d) “Core competencies” means the minimum set of knowledge,
   89  skill, and abilities necessary for a community health worker to
   90  carry out his or her work responsibilities.
   91         (e) “Department” means the Department of Health.
   92         (f) “Grandfathering” means a time-limited process by which
   93  a department-approved third-party credentialing entity grants
   94  community health worker certification to a qualified individual
   95  who was providing community health worker services before the
   96  establishment of the community health worker certification
   97  program as provided in this section.
   98         (g) “Medically underserved community” means a community in
   99  a geographic area that has a shortage of health care providers
  100  and a population that includes individuals who do not have
  101  public or private health insurance, are unable to pay for health
  102  care, and have incomes at or below 185 percent of the federal
  103  poverty level.
  104         (h) “Recertification” means the biennial renewal of a
  105  community health worker certification.
  106         (2)THIRD-PARTY CREDENTIALING ENTITIES.—The department
  107  shall approve one or more third-party credentialing entities to
  108  develop and administer voluntary community health worker
  109  certification programs for individuals who provide community
  110  health worker services. A third-party credentialing entity shall
  111  request such approval from the department in writing. In order
  112  to obtain department approval, the third-party credentialing
  113  entity must demonstrate its ability to:
  114         (a)Establish professional requirements and standards that
  115  an applicant must achieve in order to obtain a community health
  116  worker certification, including forms and procedures for the
  117  receipt, review, and action upon applications for initial
  118  community health worker certification and for recertification,
  119  or to qualify for grandfathering, as that term is defined in
  120  this section.
  121         (b) Develop and apply core competencies and examination
  122  instruments according to nationally recognized certification and
  123  psychometric standards.
  124         (c) Maintain a professional code of ethics and disciplinary
  125  procedures that apply to certified community health workers.
  126         (d) Maintain a publicly accessible database of all
  127  individuals holding a community health worker certification,
  128  which must include any ethical violations committed by the
  129  individual.
  130         (e) Require continuing education for recertification or
  131  reinstatement of a community health care worker certification.
  132         (f) Administer a continuing education provider program to
  133  ensure that only qualified providers offer continuing education
  134  to a certified community health worker.
  135         (g) Maintain a community health worker advisory committee
  136  of at least 8 and no more than 15 members consisting of at least
  137  two representatives of the department, five representatives of
  138  the Florida Community Health Worker Coalition, and up to two
  139  representatives of other key stakeholder organizations
  140  identified by the department. Such members shall be appointed by
  141  the organization they represent. The department-approved third
  142  party credentialing entity may appoint additional members to the
  143  advisory committee.
  144         (3)GRANDFATHERING.—Department-approved third-party
  145  credentialing entities shall, for a period of at least 15 months
  146  after implementation of the community health worker
  147  certification program, award a community health worker
  148  certification to an individual who meets the entity’s
  149  grandfathering standards. The cost of certification for a
  150  grandfathered community health worker may not exceed $50.
  151         Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.