Florida Senate - 2019                                     SB 452
       By Senator Gibson
       6-00126B-19                                            2019452__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to elder protection; amending s.
    3         415.101, F.S.; revising legislative intent; amending
    4         s. 415.107, F.S.; requiring that elder abuse fatality
    5         review teams be granted access to certain records;
    6         creating s. 415.1103, F.S.; authorizing the
    7         establishment of elder abuse fatality review teams in
    8         each judicial circuit and housing the review teams,
    9         for administrative purposes only, in the Department of
   10         Elderly Affairs; providing conditions for review team
   11         membership, establishment, and organization;
   12         specifying requirements for the review team operations
   13         and meeting schedules; assigning responsibility for
   14         paying the administrative costs of review team
   15         operations to the team members or the entities they
   16         represent; authorizing elder abuse fatality review
   17         teams in existence on a certain date to continue;
   18         requiring such existing teams to comply with specified
   19         requirements; specifying review team duties; allowing
   20         review teams access to and use of certain information
   21         and records; requiring each review team to submit an
   22         annual report by a certain date to the Department of
   23         Elderly Affairs containing specified information;
   24         requiring the department to prepare annually a summary
   25         report on the review teams’ information and submit the
   26         summary to the Governor, the Legislature, and the
   27         Department of Children and Families; exempting certain
   28         information and records from discovery; providing an
   29         exception; restricting the testimony of certain
   30         persons about information or records presented during
   31         meetings or activities of the review teams; providing
   32         immunity from monetary liability for review team
   33         members under certain conditions; prohibiting review
   34         teams and review team members from disclosing
   35         confidential information; providing an effective date.
   37  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   39         Section 1. Section 415.101, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   40  read:
   41         415.101 Adult Protective Services Act; legislative intent.—
   42         (1) Sections 415.101-415.113 may be cited as the “Adult
   43  Protective Services Act.”
   44         (2) The Legislature recognizes that there are many persons
   45  in this state who, because of age or disability, are in need of
   46  protective services. Such services should allow such an
   47  individual the same rights as other citizens and, at the same
   48  time, protect the individual from abuse, neglect, and
   49  exploitation. It is the intent of the Legislature to provide for
   50  the detection and correction of abuse, neglect, and exploitation
   51  through social services and criminal investigations and to
   52  establish a program of protective services for all vulnerable
   53  adults in need of them. It is intended that the mandatory
   54  reporting of such cases will cause the protective services of
   55  the state to be brought to bear in an effort to prevent further
   56  abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults. In taking
   57  this action, the Legislature intends to place the fewest
   58  possible restrictions on personal liberty and the exercise of
   59  constitutional rights, consistent with due process and
   60  protection from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Further, the
   61  Legislature intends to encourage the constructive involvement of
   62  families in the care and protection of vulnerable adults or
   63  elderly persons. The Legislature further intends that each
   64  protective investigator, as defined in s. 415.102, earn and
   65  maintain a valid certification as a protective investigator
   66  through a third-party credentialing entity approved under s.
   67  402.40(3).
   68         Section 2. Paragraph (m) is added to subsection (3) of
   69  section 415.107, Florida Statutes, to read:
   70         415.107 Confidentiality of reports and records.—
   71         (3) Access to all records, excluding the name of the
   72  reporter which shall be released only as provided in subsection
   73  (6), shall be granted only to the following persons, officials,
   74  and agencies:
   75         (m) An elder abuse fatality review team established under
   76  s. 415.1103(1) which is reviewing the death of an elderly
   77  person.
   78         Section 3. Section 415.1103, Florida Statutes, is created
   79  to read:
   80         415.1103 Elder abuse fatality review teams.—
   81         (1)(a) An elder abuse fatality review team may be
   82  established in each judicial circuit to review deaths of elderly
   83  persons alleged or found to have been caused by, or related to,
   84  abuse or neglect. The review teams are housed, for
   85  administrative purposes only, in the Department of Elderly
   86  Affairs.
   87         (b) An elder abuse fatality review team may include, but is
   88  not limited to, representatives from the following entities in
   89  the review team’s judicial circuit:
   90         1. Law enforcement agencies;
   91         2. The state attorney;
   92         3. The medical examiner;
   93         4. A county court judge;
   94         5. Adult protective services;
   95         6. The area agency on aging;
   96         7. The State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program;
   97         8. The Agency for Health Care Administration;
   98         9. The Office of the Attorney General;
   99         10.The Office of the State Courts Administrator;
  100         11.The clerk of the court;
  101         12.A victim services program;
  102         13.An elder law attorney;
  103         14.Emergency services personnel;
  104         15.A certified domestic violence center;
  105         16.An advocacy organization for victims of sexual
  106  violence;
  107         17.A funeral home director;
  108         18.A forensic pathologist;
  109         19.A geriatrician;
  110         20.A geriatric nurse;
  111         21.A geriatric psychiatrist or other individual licensed
  112  to offer behavioral health services;
  113         22.A hospital discharge planner;
  114         23.A public guardian; or
  115         24.Any other persons who have knowledge regarding fatal
  116  incidents of elder abuse, domestic violence, or sexual violence,
  117  including knowledge of research, policy, law, and other matters
  118  connected with such incidents involving elders, or who are
  119  recommended for inclusion by the review team.
  120         (c)A state attorney, or his or her designee, may initiate
  121  the establishment of a review team in his or her judicial
  122  circuit and may call the first organizational meeting of the
  123  team. At the initial meeting, members of the review team shall
  124  choose two members to serve as co-chairs.
  125         (d)Participation in a review team is voluntary. Members of
  126  the review team shall serve without compensation and may not be
  127  reimbursed for per diem or travel expenses.
  128         (e)Members shall serve for terms of 2 years, to be
  129  staggered as determined by the co-chairs. Chairs may be
  130  reelected by a majority vote of the review team but not for more
  131  than two consecutive terms.
  132         (f)A review team shall determine the local operations of
  133  the team, including, but not limited to, the process for case
  134  selection, which must be limited to closed cases in which an
  135  elderly person’s death is verified to have been caused by abuse
  136  or neglect, and the review team meeting schedule, which must
  137  include at least one meeting in each fiscal year.
  138         (g)Administrative costs of operating the review team must
  139  be borne by the team members or entities that they represent.
  140         (2) An elder abuse fatality review team in existence on
  141  July 1, 2019, may continue to exist and shall comply with the
  142  requirements created in this section.
  143         (3) An elder abuse fatality review team shall do all of the
  144  following:
  145         (a) Review deaths of elderly persons in its judicial
  146  circuit alleged or found to have been caused by, or related to,
  147  abuse or neglect.
  148         (b) Consider the events leading up to a fatal incident,
  149  available community resources, current law and policies, and the
  150  actions taken by systems and individuals related to the fatal
  151  incident.
  152         (c) Identify gaps, deficiencies, or problems in the
  153  delivery of services to elderly persons by public and private
  154  agencies which may be related to deaths reviewed by the review
  155  team.
  156         (d) Whenever possible, develop communitywide approaches to
  157  address causes of, and contributing factors to, deaths reviewed
  158  by the review team.
  159         (e) Develop practice standards and recommend changes in
  160  law, rules, and policies to support the care of elderly persons
  161  and to prevent elder abuse deaths.
  162         (4)(a)Upon a written request from a co-chair of an elder
  163  abuse fatality review team, the following information or records
  164  pertaining to an elderly person whose death is being reviewed by
  165  the team must be disclosed to the team:
  166         1. Information and records held by a criminal justice
  167  agency, as defined in s. 119.011(4), not including active
  168  criminal intelligence information or criminal investigative
  169  information, as defined in s. 119.011(3).
  170         2. Information and records from Adult Protective Services,
  171  pursuant to s. 415.107(3)(m).
  172         3. An autopsy report from the medical examiner’s office,
  173  but not including materials protected under s. 406.135.
  174         (b)Review teams may share with each other any relevant
  175  information that pertains to the review of the death of an
  176  elderly person.
  177         (c)A review team member may not contact, interview, or
  178  obtain information by request directly from a member of the
  179  deceased elder’s family as part of the review unless a team
  180  member is authorized to do so in the course of his or her
  181  employment duties. A member of the deceased elder’s family may
  182  voluntarily provide information or records to a review team.
  183         (5)(a) Annually by September 1, each elder abuse fatality
  184  review team shall submit a report to the Department of Elderly
  185  Affairs which includes, but is not limited to:
  186         1. Descriptive statistics regarding cases reviewed by the
  187  review team, including demographic information on victims and
  188  caregivers and the causes and nature of deaths;
  189         2. Current policies, procedures, rules, or statutes that
  190  the review team identified as contributing to the incidence of
  191  elder abuse and elder deaths, and recommendations for system
  192  improvements and needed resources, training, or information
  193  dissemination to address those identified issues;
  194         3. Any other recommendations to prevent deaths from elder
  195  abuse or neglect, based on an analysis of the data and
  196  information presented in the report; and
  197         4. Any steps taken by the review team and public and
  198  private agencies to implement necessary changes and to improve
  199  the coordination of services and review of cases.
  200         (b)Annually by November 1, the Department of Elderly
  201  Affairs shall prepare a summary report of the review team
  202  information required under paragraph (a). The department shall
  203  provide the summary report to the Governor, the President of the
  204  Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the
  205  Department of Children and Families.
  206         (6)Information and records acquired by an elder abuse
  207  fatality review team are not subject to discovery or
  208  introduction into evidence in any civil or criminal action or
  209  administrative or disciplinary proceeding by any state or local
  210  government department or agency if the information or records
  211  arose out of the matters that are the subject of review by a
  212  review team, unless the information and records are not
  213  discoverable from any other source. Information and records that
  214  are available from other sources are not immune from discovery
  215  or introduction into evidence solely because the information,
  216  documents, or records were presented to or reviewed by a review
  217  team.
  218         (7)A person who has attended a meeting of an elder abuse
  219  fatality review team or who has otherwise participated in the
  220  activities authorized by this section may not be allowed or
  221  required to testify in any civil, criminal, administrative, or
  222  disciplinary proceeding as to any information or records
  223  produced or presented to the review team during a meeting or
  224  other activity authorized by this section, unless such testimony
  225  is necessary to determine the information or records that were
  226  available to the review team. However, this paragraph does not
  227  prevent any person who testifies before the team or who is a
  228  member of the team from testifying as to matters otherwise
  229  within his or her knowledge.
  230         (8)There is no monetary liability on the part of, and a
  231  cause of action for damages may not arise against, any member of
  232  an elder abuse fatality review team due to the performance of
  233  his or her duties as a review team member in regard to any
  234  discussions by, or deliberations or recommendations of, the team
  235  or the member, unless such member acted in bad faith, with
  236  wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or
  237  property.
  238         (9) Elder abuse fatality review teams and their members may
  239  not disclose any information that is confidential pursuant to
  240  law.
  241         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2019.