Florida Senate - 2020 SB 400 By Senator Gibson 6-00142-20 2020400__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to elder abuse fatality review teams; 3 creating s. 415.1103, F.S.; authorizing the 4 establishment of elder abuse fatality review teams in 5 each judicial circuit, to be housed, for 6 administrative purposes only, in the Department of 7 Elderly Affairs; providing conditions for review team 8 membership, establishment, and organization; 9 specifying requirements for a review team’s operations 10 and meeting schedules; requiring that the 11 administrative costs of operating a review team be 12 paid by team members or the entities they represent; 13 authorizing elder abuse fatality review teams in 14 existence on a certain date to continue to exist; 15 requiring such existing teams to comply with specified 16 requirements; specifying review team duties; requiring 17 each review team to annually submit to the department 18 by a certain date a summary report containing 19 specified information; requiring the department to 20 annually prepare a summary report based on the review 21 teams’ information and submit such report to the 22 Governor, the Legislature, and the Department of 23 Children and Families; providing immunity from 24 monetary liability for review team members under 25 certain conditions; providing an effective date. 26 27 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 28 29 Section 1. Section 415.1103, Florida Statutes, is created 30 to read: 31 415.1103 Elder abuse fatality review teams.— 32 (1)(a) An elder abuse fatality review team may be 33 established in each judicial circuit to review deaths of elderly 34 persons found to have been caused by, or related to, abuse or 35 neglect. The review teams shall be housed, for administrative 36 purposes only, in the Department of Elderly Affairs. 37 (b) An elder abuse fatality review team may include, but is 38 not limited to, representatives from any of the following 39 entities in the review team’s judicial circuit: 40 1. Law enforcement agencies. 41 2. The state attorney. 42 3. The medical examiner. 43 4. A county court judge. 44 5. Adult protective services. 45 6. The area agency on aging. 46 7. The State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. 47 8. The Agency for Health Care Administration. 48 9. The Office of the Attorney General. 49 10. The Office of the State Courts Administrator. 50 11. The clerk of the court. 51 12. A victim services program. 52 13. An elder law attorney. 53 14. Emergency services personnel. 54 15. A certified domestic violence center. 55 16. An advocacy organization for victims of sexual 56 violence. 57 17. A funeral home director. 58 18. A forensic pathologist. 59 19. A geriatrician. 60 20. A geriatric nurse. 61 21. A geriatric psychiatrist or other individual licensed 62 to offer behavioral health services. 63 22. A hospital discharge planner. 64 23. A public guardian. 65 24. Any other persons who have knowledge regarding fatal 66 incidents of elder abuse, domestic violence, or sexual violence, 67 including knowledge of research, policy, law, and other matters 68 connected with such incidents involving elders, or who are 69 recommended for inclusion by the review team. 70 (c) A state attorney, or his or her designee, may initiate 71 the establishment of a review team in his or her judicial 72 circuit and may call the first organizational meeting of the 73 team. At the initial meeting, members of a review team shall 74 choose two members to serve as co-chairs and shall establish a 75 schedule for future meetings. 76 (d) Participation in a review team is voluntary. Members of 77 a review team shall serve without compensation and may not be 78 reimbursed for per diem or travel expenses. 79 (e) Members shall serve for terms of 2 years, to be 80 staggered as determined by the co-chairs. Chairs may be 81 reelected by a majority vote of a review team for not more than 82 two consecutive terms. 83 (f) Each review team shall determine its local operations, 84 including, but not limited to, the process for case selection. 85 Reviews must be limited to closed cases in which an elderly 86 person’s death is found to have been caused by, or related to, 87 abuse or neglect. All identifying information concerning the 88 person must be redacted in documents received for review. Each 89 review team shall meet at least once each fiscal year. 90 (g) Administrative costs of operating the review team must 91 be borne by the team members or entities that they represent. 92 (2) An elder abuse fatality review team in existence on 93 July 1, 2019, may continue to exist and must comply with the 94 requirements of this section. 95 (3) An elder abuse fatality review team shall do all of the 96 following: 97 (a) Review deaths of elderly persons in its judicial 98 circuit which are found to have been caused by, or related to, 99 abuse or neglect. 100 (b) Take into consideration the events leading up to a 101 fatal incident, available community resources, current law and 102 policies, and the actions taken by systems or individuals 103 related to the fatal incident. 104 (c) Identify potential gaps, deficiencies, or problems in 105 the delivery of services to elderly persons by public and 106 private agencies which may be related to deaths reviewed by the 107 team. 108 (d) Whenever possible, develop communitywide approaches to 109 address the causes of, and contributing factors to, deaths 110 reviewed by the team. 111 (e) Develop recommendations and potential changes in law, 112 rules, and policies to support the care of elderly persons and 113 to prevent elder abuse deaths. 114 (4)(a) A review team may share with other review teams in 115 this state any relevant information that pertains to the review 116 of the death of an elderly person. 117 (b) A review team member may not contact, interview, or 118 obtain information by request directly from a member of the 119 deceased elder’s family as part of the review unless a team 120 member is authorized to do so in the course of his or her 121 employment duties. A member of the deceased elder’s family may 122 voluntarily provide information or any record to a review team 123 but must be informed that such information or any record is 124 subject to public disclosure unless a public records exemption 125 applies. 126 (5)(a) Annually by September 1, each elder abuse fatality 127 review team shall submit a summary report to the Department of 128 Elderly Affairs which includes, but is not limited to: 129 1. Descriptive statistics regarding cases reviewed by the 130 team, including demographic information on victims and the 131 causes and nature of their deaths; 132 2. Current policies, procedures, rules, or statutes the 133 review team has identified as contributing to the incidence of 134 elder abuse and elder deaths, and recommendations for system 135 improvements and needed resources, training, or information 136 dissemination to address such identified issues; and 137 3. Any other recommendations to prevent deaths from elder 138 abuse or neglect, based on an analysis of the data and 139 information presented in the report. 140 (b) Annually by November 1, the Department of Elderly 141 Affairs shall prepare a summary report of the review team 142 information submitted under paragraph (a). The department shall 143 submit its summary report to the Governor, the President of the 144 Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the 145 Department of Children and Families. 146 (6) There is no monetary liability on the part of, and a 147 cause of action for damages may not arise against, any member of 148 an elder abuse fatality review team due to the performance of 149 his or her duties as a review team member in regard to any 150 discussions by, or deliberations or recommendations of, the team 151 or the member unless such member acted in bad faith, with wanton 152 and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property. 153 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.