Florida Senate - 2020                               CS for SB 66
       By the Committee on Health Policy; and Senator Cruz
       588-01167-20                                            202066c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to student loans and scholarship
    3         obligations of health care practitioners; amending s.
    4         456.072, F.S.; establishing that a health care
    5         practitioner’s failure to repay a student loan or to
    6         comply with service scholarship obligations does not
    7         constitute grounds for disciplinary action; removing a
    8         civil fine; amending s. 456.0721, F.S.; removing the
    9         requirement that the Department of Health investigate
   10         and prosecute health care practitioners for failing to
   11         repay a student loan or to comply with scholarship
   12         service obligations; removing the requirement that the
   13         department include specified information related to
   14         such investigations and prosecutions in an annual
   15         report; amending s. 456.074, F.S.; removing the
   16         requirement, and related provisions, that the
   17         department immediately suspend the licenses of certain
   18         health care practitioners for failing to provide
   19         within a specified timeframe proof of new payment
   20         terms for student loans in default; providing an
   21         effective date.
   23  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   25         Section 1. Paragraph (k) of subsection (1) of section
   26  456.072, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   27         456.072 Grounds for discipline; penalties; enforcement.—
   28         (1) The following acts shall constitute grounds for which
   29  the disciplinary actions specified in subsection (2) may be
   30  taken:
   31         (k) Failing to perform any statutory or legal obligation
   32  placed upon a licensee. For purposes of this section, failing to
   33  repay a student loan issued or guaranteed by the state or the
   34  Federal Government in accordance with the terms of the loan or
   35  failing to comply with service scholarship obligations is not
   36  shall be considered a failure to perform a statutory or legal
   37  obligation, and the minimum disciplinary action imposed shall be
   38  a suspension of the license until new payment terms are agreed
   39  upon or the scholarship obligation is resumed, followed by
   40  probation for the duration of the student loan or remaining
   41  scholarship obligation period, and a fine equal to 10 percent of
   42  the defaulted loan amount. Fines collected shall be deposited
   43  into the Medical Quality Assurance Trust Fund.
   44         Section 2. Section 456.0721, Florida Statutes, is amended
   45  to read:
   46         456.0721 Practitioners in default on student loan or
   47  scholarship obligations; investigation; report.—The Department
   48  of Health shall obtain from the United States Department of
   49  Health and Human Services information necessary to investigate
   50  and prosecute health care practitioners for failing to repay a
   51  student loan or comply with scholarship service obligations
   52  pursuant to s. 456.072(1)(k). The department shall obtain from
   53  the United States Department of Health and Human Services a list
   54  of default health care practitioners each month, along with the
   55  information necessary to investigate a complaint in accordance
   56  with s. 456.073. The department may obtain evidence to support
   57  the investigation and prosecution from any financial institution
   58  or educational institution involved in providing the loan or
   59  education to the practitioner. The department shall report to
   60  the Legislature as part of the annual report required by s.
   61  456.026, the number of practitioners in default, along with the
   62  results of the department’s investigations and prosecutions, and
   63  the amount of fines collected from practitioners prosecuted for
   64  violating s. 456.072(1)(k).
   65         Section 3. Subsection (4) of section 456.074, Florida
   66  Statutes, is amended to read:
   67         456.074 Certain health care practitioners; immediate
   68  suspension of license.—
   69         (4) Upon receipt of information that a Florida-licensed
   70  health care practitioner has defaulted on a student loan issued
   71  or guaranteed by the state or the Federal Government, the
   72  department shall notify the licensee by certified mail that he
   73  or she shall be subject to immediate suspension of license
   74  unless, within 45 days after the date of mailing, the licensee
   75  provides proof that new payment terms have been agreed upon by
   76  all parties to the loan. The department shall issue an emergency
   77  order suspending the license of any licensee who, after 45 days
   78  following the date of mailing from the department, has failed to
   79  provide such proof. Production of such proof shall not prohibit
   80  the department from proceeding with disciplinary action against
   81  the licensee pursuant to s. 456.073.
   82         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2020.