New Legislation Impacting Your Profession

Posted in Latest News on July 5, 2020.

115: Keep Our Graduates Working Act

Effective Date: July 1, 2020

The bill prohibits the Department of Health (DOH) from denying the issuance of, refusing to renew, suspending, or revoking a professional license based solely on the licensee being delinquent on a payment of or defaulting on his or her student loans. The bill removes the specific provision allowing DOH to discipline a health care practitioner for failing to repay a student loan and the associated mandatory discipline. The bill repeals the requirement that DOH must issue an emergency order suspending a health care practitioner’s license for a student loan default, absent timely proof of a new repayment plan. Additionally, the bill repeals the requirement that DOH must obtain a monthly list from the United States Health and Human Services (USHHS) of the health care practitioners who have defaulted on their student loans.

713: Department of Health

Effective Date: July 1, 2020

The bill amends numerous practice acts to streamline regulation and increase efficiency. The bill makes numerous updates and changes to programs and health care professions regulated under the boards and Department of Health (DOH):

• Requires an applicant for a health care professional license to provide his or her date of birth on the application;
• Repeals a health care practitioner’s failure to repay student loans as grounds for discipline by the DOH;

1084: Emotional Support Animals

Effective Date: July 1, 2020

The bill amends Florida’s Fair Housing Act by prohibiting a housing provider, to the extent required by federal law, rule, or regulation, to deny housing to a person with a disability or a disability-related need who has an animal that is required as support. It defines emotional support animal as an animal that is not required to be trained to assist a person with a disability but, by virtue of its presence, provides support to alleviate one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability.

Written documentation that reasonably supports that a person has a disability may be provided by any federal, state, or local government agency, specified health care practitioners, telehealth providers, or out-of-state practitioners who have provided in-person care or services to the tenant on at least one occasion. The bill prohibits a housing provider to request information that discloses the diagnosis or severity of a person’s disability or any medical records relating to the disability.

The bill creates a new cause for disciplinary action against a health care practitioner’s license for providing supporting information for an emotional support animal, without personal knowledge of the patient’s disability or disability-related need. It also creates the misdemeanor crime of providing false or fraudulent emotional support animal information or documentation and requires a convicted person to perform 30 hours of community service for an organization serving persons with disabilities, or another entity or organization the court determines appropriate.

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