Florida Senate - 2021                                    SB 1770
       By Senator Jones
       35-01349-21                                           20211770__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to genetic counseling; creating part
    3         III of ch. 483, F.S., titled “Genetic Counseling”;
    4         providing a short title; providing legislative
    5         findings and intent; defining terms; providing
    6         licensure, licensure renewal, and continuing education
    7         requirements; requiring the Department of Health to
    8         adopt by rule continuing education requirements;
    9         prohibiting certain acts; providing penalties and
   10         grounds for disciplinary action; authorizing the
   11         department to enter an order denying licensure or
   12         imposing other penalties for certain violations;
   13         providing exemptions; amending s. 456.001, F.S.;
   14         revising the definition of the term “health care
   15         practitioner” to include licensed genetic counselors;
   16         amending s. 20.43, F.S.; correcting a cross-reference;
   17         providing an effective date.
   19  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   21         Section 1. Part III of chapter 483, Florida Statutes,
   22  consisting of sections 483.911, 483.912, 483.913, 483.914,
   23  483.915, 483.916, 483.917, and 483.918, Florida Statutes, is
   24  created to read:
   26                              PART III                             
   27                         GENETIC COUNSELING                        
   29         483.911Short title.—This part may be cited as the “Genetic
   30  Counseling Workforce Act.”
   31         483.912Legislative findings and intent.—The sole
   32  legislative purpose for enacting this part is to ensure that
   33  every genetic counselor practicing in this state meets minimum
   34  requirements for safe practice. The Legislature finds that the
   35  delivery of genetic counseling services by unskilled and
   36  incompetent persons presents a danger to public health and
   37  safety. Because it is difficult for the public to make informed
   38  choices related to genetic counseling services and since the
   39  consequences of uninformed choices can seriously endanger public
   40  health and safety, it is the intent of the Legislature to
   41  prohibit the delivery of genetic counseling services by persons
   42  who possess less than minimum competencies or who otherwise
   43  present a danger to the public.
   44         483.913Definitions.—As used in this part, the term:
   45         (1)“Department” means the Department of Health.
   46         (2)“Genetic counselor” means a person licensed under this
   47  part to practice genetic counseling.
   48         (3)“Practice of genetic counseling” means the process of
   49  advising an individual or a family affected by or at risk of
   50  genetic disorders, including services to help an individual or a
   51  family:
   52         (a)Understand a diagnosis, the probable cause, and
   53  available options for treatment and management of a genetic
   54  disorder.
   55         (b)Understand how heredity contributes to a genetic
   56  disorder and the risk of its occurrence.
   57         (c)Consider alternatives to genetic counseling for
   58  addressing the risk of occurrence of a genetic disorder.
   59         (d)Choose a course of action appropriate to the individual
   60  or family, taking into consideration their risks, their family
   61  goals, and their ethical and religious standards, and to act in
   62  accordance with that choice.
   63         (e)Adjust to a diagnosis and the risk of occurrence of a
   64  genetic disorder.
   65         483.914Licensure requirements.—
   66         (1)Any person desiring to be licensed as a genetic
   67  counselor under this part must apply to the department on a form
   68  approved by department rule.
   69         (2)The department shall issue a license to each applicant
   70  who:
   71         (a)Has completed an application.
   72         (b)Is of good moral character.
   73         (c)Provides satisfactory documentation of having earned:
   74         1.A master’s degree from a genetic counseling training
   75  program or an equivalent program as determined by the American
   76  Board of Genetic Counseling, Inc., or the Canadian Association
   77  of Genetic Counsellors; or
   78         2.A doctoral degree from a medical genetics training
   79  program accredited by the American Board of Medical Genetics and
   80  Genomics or the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists.
   81         (d)Has passed the examination for certification as:
   82         1.A genetic counselor by the American Board of Genetic
   83  Counseling, Inc., the American Board of Medical Genetics and
   84  Genomics, or the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors; or
   85         2.A medical or clinical geneticist by the American Board
   86  of Medical Genetics and Genomics or the Canadian College of
   87  Medical Geneticists.
   88         (3)The department may issue a temporary license for up to
   89  2 years to an applicant who meets all requirements for licensure
   90  except for the examination requirement in this section and is
   91  eligible to sit for the next available certification examination
   92  administered by the American Board of Genetic Counseling, Inc.
   93         483.915Licensure renewal and continuing education
   94  requirements.—
   95         (1)The department shall renew a license upon receipt of a
   96  renewal application.
   97         (2)The department shall adopt by rule continuing education
   98  requirements consistent with nationally accepted standards of
   99  the American Board of Genetic Counseling, Inc.
  100         483.916Prohibitions; penalties.—
  101         (1)A person may not:
  102         (a)Make a false or fraudulent statement in any
  103  application, affidavit, or statement presented to the
  104  department.
  105         (b)Practice genetic counseling or hold himself or herself
  106  out as a genetic counselor or as being able to practice genetic
  107  counseling or to render genetic counseling services without a
  108  license issued under this part unless exempt from licensure
  109  under this part.
  110         (c)Use the title “genetic counselor” or any other title,
  111  designation, words, letters, abbreviations, or device tending to
  112  indicate that the person is authorized to practice genetic
  113  counseling unless that person holds a current license as a
  114  genetic counselor issued under this part or is exempt from
  115  licensure under this part.
  116         (2)A person who violates this section commits a
  117  misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s.
  118  775.082 or s. 775.083.
  119         483.917Grounds for disciplinary action; penalties.—
  120         (1)The following acts constitute grounds for denial of a
  121  license or disciplinary action, as specified in s. 456.072(2):
  122         (a)Attempting to obtain, obtaining, or renewing a license
  123  under this part by fraudulent misrepresentation.
  124         (b)Having a license revoked, suspended, or otherwise acted
  125  against, including the denial of licensure in another
  126  jurisdiction.
  127         (c)Being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea
  128  of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in
  129  any jurisdiction which directly relates to the practice of
  130  genetic counseling, including a violation of federal laws or
  131  regulations regarding genetic counseling.
  132         (d)Making or filing a report or record that the licensee
  133  knows is false, intentionally or negligently failing to file a
  134  report or record required by state or federal law, willfully
  135  impeding or obstructing such filing, or inducing another person
  136  to impede or obstruct such filing. Such reports or records
  137  include only reports or records that are signed in a person’s
  138  capacity as a licensee under this part.
  139         (e)Knowingly advertising services related to genetic
  140  counseling in a fraudulent, false, deceptive, or misleading
  141  manner.
  142         (f)Violating a previous order of the department entered in
  143  a disciplinary hearing or failing to comply with a subpoena
  144  issued by the department.
  145         (g)Practicing with a revoked, suspended, or inactive
  146  license.
  147         (h)Gross or repeated malpractice or the failure to deliver
  148  genetic counseling services with that level of care and skill
  149  which is recognized by a reasonably prudent licensed genetic
  150  counselor as being acceptable under similar conditions and
  151  circumstances.
  152         (i)Unprofessional conduct, including, but not limited to,
  153  any departure from or failure to conform to the minimal
  154  prevailing standards of acceptable practice under this part and
  155  department rule, including, but not limited to, any of the
  156  following:
  157         1.Practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope
  158  permitted by law or accepting and performing genetic counseling
  159  services the licensee knows, or has reason to know, he or she is
  160  not competent to perform.
  161         2.Failing to refer a patient to a health care practitioner
  162  as defined in s. 456.001 if the licensee is unable or unwilling
  163  to provide genetic counseling services to the patient.
  164         3.Failing to maintain the confidentiality of any
  165  information received under this part or failing to maintain the
  166  confidentiality of patient records pursuant to s. 456.057,
  167  unless such information or records are released by the patient
  168  or otherwise authorized or required by law to be released.
  169         4.Exercising influence on the patient or family in such a
  170  manner as to exploit the patient or family for financial gain of
  171  the licensee.
  172         (j)Violating this part or chapter 456, or any rules
  173  adopted pursuant thereto.
  174         (2)The department may enter an order denying licensure to
  175  or imposing penalties against any applicant for licensure or any
  176  licensee who is found guilty of violating subsection (1) or s.
  177  483.916.
  178         483.918Exemptions.—This part does not apply to:
  179         (1)Commissioned medical officers of the United States
  180  Armed Forces or the United States Public Health Service while on
  181  active duty or while acting within the scope of their military
  182  or public health responsibilities.
  183         (2)A health care practitioner as defined in s. 456.001,
  184  other than a genetic counselor licensed under this part, who is
  185  practicing within the scope of his or her training, education,
  186  and licensure and who is doing work of a nature consistent with
  187  such training, education, and licensure.
  188         Section 2. Subsection (4) of section 456.001, Florida
  189  Statutes, is amended to read:
  190         456.001 Definitions.—As used in this chapter, the term:
  191         (4) “Health care practitioner” means any person licensed
  192  under chapter 457; chapter 458; chapter 459; chapter 460;
  193  chapter 461; chapter 462; chapter 463; chapter 464; chapter 465;
  194  chapter 466; chapter 467; part I, part II, part III, part V,
  195  part X, part XIII, or part XIV of chapter 468; chapter 478;
  196  chapter 480; part I, or part II, or part III of chapter 483;
  197  chapter 484; chapter 486; chapter 490; or chapter 491.
  198         Section 3. Subsection (8) of section 20.43, Florida
  199  Statutes, is amended to read:
  200         20.43 Department of Health.—There is created a Department
  201  of Health.
  202         (8) The department may hold copyrights, trademarks, and
  203  service marks and enforce its rights with respect thereto,
  204  except such authority does not extend to any public records
  205  relating to the department’s responsibilities for health care
  206  practitioners regulated under part II of chapter 456 455.
  207         Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.