SB 400                                           First Engrossed
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to elder abuse fatality review teams;
    3         creating s. 415.1103, F.S.; authorizing a state
    4         attorney, or his or her designee, to initiate an elder
    5         abuse fatality review team in his or her judicial
    6         circuit; providing conditions for review team
    7         membership, establishment, and organization;
    8         specifying requirements for a review team’s operations
    9         and meeting schedules; defining the term “closed
   10         case”; requiring that the administrative costs of
   11         operating a review team be paid by team members or the
   12         entities they represent; authorizing elder abuse
   13         fatality review teams in existence on a certain date
   14         to continue to exist; requiring such existing teams to
   15         comply with specified requirements; specifying review
   16         team duties; requiring each review team to annually
   17         submit to the department a summary report containing
   18         specified information by a certain date; requiring the
   19         department to annually prepare a summary report based
   20         on the review teams’ information and submit such
   21         report to the Governor, the Legislature, and the
   22         Department of Children and Families; providing
   23         immunity from monetary liability for review team
   24         members under certain conditions; providing an
   25         effective date.
   27  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   29         Section 1. Section 415.1103, Florida Statutes, is created
   30  to read:
   31         415.1103 Elder abuse fatality review teams.—
   32         (1)(a) A state attorney, or his or her designee, may
   33  initiate an elder abuse fatality review team in his or her
   34  judicial circuit to review deaths of elderly persons caused by,
   35  or related to, abuse or neglect.
   36         (b) An elder abuse fatality review team may include, but is
   37  not limited to, representatives from any of the following
   38  entities or persons located in the review team’s judicial
   39  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) Participation in a review team is voluntary. Members of
   71  a review team shall serve without compensation and may not be
   72  reimbursed for per diem or travel expenses. Members shall serve
   73  for terms of 2 years, to be staggered as determined by the co
   74  chairs.
   75         (d) The state attorney may call the first organizational
   76  meeting of the team. At the initial meeting, members of a review
   77  team shall choose two members to serve as co-chairs. Chairs may
   78  be reelected by a majority vote of a review team for not more
   79  than two consecutive terms. At the initial meeting, members of a
   80  review team shall establish a schedule for future meetings. Each
   81  review team shall meet at least once each fiscal year.
   82         (e) Each review team shall determine its local operations,
   83  including, but not limited to, the process for case selection.
   84  The state attorney shall refer cases to be reviewed by each
   85  team. Reviews must be limited to closed cases in which an
   86  elderly person’s death was caused by, or related to, abuse or
   87  neglect. All identifying information concerning the elderly
   88  person must be redacted by the state attorney in documents
   89  received for review. As used in this paragraph, the term “closed
   90  case” means a case that does not involve information considered
   91  active as defined in s. 119.011(3)(d).
   92         (f) Administrative costs of operating the review team must
   93  be borne by the team members or entities they represent.
   94         (2) An elder abuse fatality review team in existence on
   95  July 1, 2020, may continue to exist and must comply with the
   96  requirements of this section.
   97         (3) An elder abuse fatality review team shall do all of the
   98  following:
   99         (a) Review deaths of elderly persons in its judicial
  100  circuit which are found to have been caused by, or related to,
  101  abuse or neglect.
  102         (b) Take into consideration the events leading up to a
  103  fatal incident, available community resources, current law and
  104  policies, and the actions taken by systems or individuals
  105  related to the fatal incident.
  106         (c) Identify potential gaps, deficiencies, or problems in
  107  the delivery of services to elderly persons by public and
  108  private agencies which may be related to deaths reviewed by the
  109  team.
  110         (d) Whenever possible, develop communitywide approaches to
  111  address the causes of, and contributing factors to, deaths
  112  reviewed by the team.
  113         (e) Develop recommendations and potential changes in law,
  114  rules, and policies to support the care of elderly persons and
  115  to prevent elder abuse deaths.
  116         (4)(a) A review team may share with other review teams in
  117  this state any relevant information that pertains to the review
  118  of the death of an elderly person.
  119         (b) A review team member may not contact, interview, or
  120  obtain information by request directly from a member of the
  121  deceased elder’s family as part of the review unless a team
  122  member is authorized to do so in the course of his or her
  123  employment duties. A member of the deceased elder’s family may
  124  voluntarily provide information or any record to a review team
  125  but must be informed that such information or any record is
  126  subject to public disclosure unless a public records exemption
  127  applies.
  128         (5)(a) Annually by September 1, each elder abuse fatality
  129  review team shall submit a summary report to the Department of
  130  Elderly Affairs which includes, but is not limited to:
  131         1. Descriptive statistics regarding cases reviewed by the
  132  team, including demographic information on victims and the
  133  causes and nature of their deaths;
  134         2. Current policies, procedures, rules, or statutes the
  135  review team has identified as contributing to the incidence of
  136  elder abuse and elder deaths, and recommendations for system
  137  improvements and needed resources, training, or information
  138  dissemination to address such identified issues; and
  139         3. Any other recommendations to prevent deaths from elder
  140  abuse or neglect, based on an analysis of the data and
  141  information presented in the report.
  142         (b) Annually by November 1, the Department of Elderly
  143  Affairs shall prepare a summary report of the review team
  144  information submitted under paragraph (a). The department shall
  145  submit its summary report to the Governor, the President of the
  146  Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the
  147  Department of Children and Families.
  148         (6) There is no monetary liability on the part of, and a
  149  cause of action for damages may not arise against, any member of
  150  an elder abuse fatality review team due to the performance of
  151  his or her duties as a review team member in regard to any
  152  discussions by, or deliberations or recommendations of, the team
  153  or the member unless such member acted in bad faith, with wanton
  154  and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property.
  155         Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.