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. 36 37 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 38 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.