PUBLIC HEALTH: GENERAL PROVISIONS
381.001 - Public health system
The Department of Health is responsible for the state’s public health system which shall be designed to promote, protect, and improve the health of all people in the state. The department shall provide leadership for an active partnership working toward shared public health goals and involving federal, state, and local governments and the private sector. It is the intent of the Legislature that the department provide public health services through the 67 county health departments in partnership with county governments, as specified in part I of chapter 154, and in so doing make every attempt possible to solicit the support and involvement of private and not-for-profit health care agencies in fulfilling the public health mission.
History.- s. 2, ch. 91-297; s. 28, ch. 97-101; s. 7, ch. 2006-261; s. 6, ch. 2012-184.
381.0011 - Duties and powers of the Department of Health
It is the duty of the Department of Health to:
History.- s. 3, ch. 91-297; s. 13, ch. 93-53; s. 29, ch. 97-101; s. 2, ch. 98-151; s. 94, ch. 98-200; s. 6, ch. 2000-367; s. 1, ch. 2002-269; s. 5, ch. 2004-350; s. 92, ch. 2010-102; s. 16, ch. 2010-161; s. 7, ch. 2012-184.
- (1) Assess the public health status and needs of the state.
- (2) Administer and enforce laws and rules relating to sanitation, control of communicable diseases, illnesses and hazards to health among humans and from animals to humans, and the general health of the people of the state.
- (3) Coordinate with federal, state, and local officials for the prevention and suppression of communicable and other diseases, illnesses, injuries, and hazards to human health.
- (4) Provide for a thorough investigation and study of the incidence, causes, modes of propagation and transmission, and means of prevention, control, and cure of diseases, illnesses, and hazards to human health.
- (5) Provide for the dissemination of information to the public relative to the prevention, control, and cure of diseases, illnesses, and hazards to human health.
- (6) Act as registrar of vital statistics.
- (7) Manage and coordinate emergency preparedness and disaster response functions to: investigate and control the spread of disease; coordinate the availability and staffing of special needs shelters; support patient evacuation; ensure the safety of food and drugs; provide critical incident stress debriefing; and provide surveillance and control of radiological, chemical, biological, and other environmental hazards.
381.0012 - Enforcement authority
History.- s. 4, ch. 91-297; s. 9, ch. 2004-11.
- (1) The department may commence and maintain all proper and necessary actions and proceedings to enforce the rules adopted pursuant to this chapter and may defend all actions and proceedings involving the department’s powers and duties.
- (2) The department may apply for an injunction to the proper circuit court, and the judge of that court upon hearing and for cause shown may grant a temporary or permanent injunction, or both, restraining any person from violating or continuing to violate any of the provisions of this chapter or from failing or refusing to comply with the requirements of this chapter. A permanent injunction may be issued without bond. However, a temporary injunction may not be issued without bond except after a hearing of which the respondent has been given not less than 7 days’ prior notice. A temporary injunction may not be issued without bond which limits or prevents operations of an industrial, manufacturing, or processing plant, unless at the hearing, it is shown by clear, certain, and convincing evidence that irreparable injury will result to the public from the failure to issue the temporary injunction. If a temporary injunction or restraining order is improperly or erroneously granted, the state is liable in damages and to the extent provided for in chapter 768.
- (3) The department may commence and maintain all proper and necessary actions and proceedings to compel the performance of any act specifically required of any person, officer, or board by any law of this state relating to public health.
- (4) The department may appear before any trial court judge empowered to issue warrants in criminal cases and request the issuance of a warrant. The trial court judge shall issue a warrant directed to any sheriff, deputy, or police officer to assist in any way to carry out the purpose and intent of this chapter.
- (5) It shall be the duty of every state and county attorney, sheriff, police officer, and other appropriate city and county officials upon request to assist the department or any of its agents in enforcing the state health laws and the rules adopted under this chapter.
381.0016 - County and municipal regulations and ordinances
Any county or municipality may enact, in a manner prescribed by law, health regulations and ordinances not inconsistent with state public health laws and rules adopted by the department.
History.- s. 2, ch. 29834, 1955; ss. 19, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 59, ch. 77-147; s. 8, ch. 91-297; s. 11, ch. 2012-184.
Note.- Former s. 381.101.
381.0018 - Application for and acceptance of gifts or grants
The department may apply for and accept any funds, grants, gifts, or services made available to it by any agency or department of the Federal Government or any other agency or private individual in aid of any present or future health program undertaken, maintained, or proposed. All moneys received under the provision of this section shall be deposited in the State Treasury and shall be disbursed in the same manner as other funds of the department.
History.- s. 2, ch. 29834, 1955; ss. 19, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 65, ch. 77-147; s. 10, ch. 91-297.
Note.- Former s. 381.201.
381.0019 - Disposition of equipment and material; transfers to county health departments
When the department purchases equipment and materials in furtherance of its public health programs from state or federal or state and federal funds for primary use and location in a county health department of this state, it is authorized to transfer title to such equipment and materials to the board of county commissioners of the county where the county health department is located, unless otherwise prohibited by federal or state law, rule, or regulation. All property so transferred shall be accounted for as provided in chapter 274.
History.- s. 2, ch. 29834, 1955; s. 2, ch. 61-46; ss. 19, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 127, ch. 77-104; s. 11, ch. 91-297; s. 30, ch. 97-101.
Note.- Former s. 381.211.
381.002 - Grant of title to prescriptive medical personal property to client
Legal title to prescriptive medical personal property purchased by the department for the use or benefit of a particular client of the department may, pursuant to rules adopted by the department, be granted to such client. Such property is not subject to the requirements of chapter 273.
History.- s. 1, ch. 85-186; s. 12, ch. 91-297.
Note.- Former s. 381.213.
381.0021 - Client welfare accounts
The Department of Health may establish one or more client welfare accounts in any bank, savings and loan association, or credit union. If one account is created, separate revenue and expense accounts shall be maintained in the department’s accounting system for each client, program, facility, or institution. Funds to be deposited in the account shall consist of client funds, private donations, and revenue from any auxiliary, canteen, or similar endeavor in a department program, facility, or institution. The interest or increment accruing on such funds shall be the property of the client when such funds are deposited on behalf of a client. Nonclient funds shall be used for the benefit, education, and general welfare of clients. The general welfare of clients includes, but is not limited to, the establishment of, maintenance of, employment of personnel for, and the purchase of items for resale at canteens or through vending machines maintained by a department program, facility, or institution and for programs and activities that benefit clients such as canteens; hobby shops; recreational, entertainment, or activity centers; or similar programs.
History.- s. 18, ch. 97-237.
381.0022 - Sharing confidential or exempt information
History.- s. 18, ch. 98-191; s. 55, ch. 99-397.
- (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the Department of Health and the Department of Children and Family Services may share confidential information or information exempt from disclosure under chapter 119 on any individual who is or has been the subject of a program within the jurisdiction of each agency. Information so exchanged remains confidential or exempt as provided by law.
- (2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the Department of Health may share confidential information or information exempt from disclosure under chapter 119 on any individual who is or has been a Medicaid recipient and is or was the subject of a program within the jurisdiction of the Department of Health, for the purpose of requesting, receiving, or auditing payment for services. Information so exchanged remains confidential or exempt as provided by law.
381.003 - Communicable disease and AIDS prevention and control
History.- s. 14, ch. 91-297; s. 3, ch. 98-151; s. 3, ch. 2000-242; s. 7, ch. 2000-367; s. 16, ch. 2001-62; s. 974, ch. 2002-387; s. 14, ch. 2012-184.
- (1) The department shall conduct a communicable disease prevention and control program as part of fulfilling its public health mission. A communicable disease is any disease caused by transmission of a specific infectious agent, or its toxic products, from an infected person, an infected animal, or the environment to a susceptible host, either directly or indirectly. The communicable disease program must include, but need not be limited to:
- (a) Programs for the prevention and control of tuberculosis in accordance with chapter 392.
- (b) Programs for the prevention and control of human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome in accordance with chapter 384 and this chapter.
- (c) Programs for the prevention and control of sexually transmissible diseases in accordance with chapter 384.
- (d) Programs for the prevention, control, and reporting of communicable diseases of public health significance as provided for in this chapter.
- (e) Programs for the prevention and control of vaccine-preventable diseases, including programs to immunize school children as required by s. 1003.22(3)-(11) and the development of an automated, electronic, and centralized database or registry of immunizations. The department shall ensure that all children in this state are immunized against vaccine-preventable diseases. The immunization registry shall allow the department to enhance current immunization activities for the purpose of improving the immunization of all children in this state.
- 1. Except as provided in subparagraph 2., the department shall include all children born in this state in the immunization registry by using the birth records from the Office of Vital Statistics. The department shall add other children to the registry as immunization services are provided.
- 2. The parent or guardian of a child may refuse to have the child included in the immunization registry by signing a form obtained from the department, or from the health care practitioner or entity that provides the immunization, which indicates that the parent or guardian does not wish to have the child included in the immunization registry. The decision to not participate in the immunization registry must be noted in the registry.
- 3. The immunization registry shall allow for immunization records to be electronically transferred to entities that are required by law to have such records, including schools, licensed child care facilities, and any other entity that is required by law to obtain proof of a child’s immunizations.
- 4. Any health care practitioner licensed under chapter 458, chapter 459, or chapter 464 in this state who complies with rules adopted by the department to access the immunization registry may, through the immunization registry, directly access immunization records and update a child’s immunization history or exchange immunization information with another authorized practitioner, entity, or agency involved in a child’s care. The information included in the immunization registry must include the child’s name, date of birth, address, and any other unique identifier necessary to correctly identify the child; the immunization record, including the date, type of administered vaccine, and vaccine lot number; and the presence or absence of any adverse reaction or contraindication related to the immunization. Information received by the department for the immunization registry retains its status as confidential medical information and the department must maintain the confidentiality of that information as otherwise required by law. A health care practitioner or other agency that obtains information from the immunization registry must maintain the confidentiality of any medical records in accordance with s. 456.057 or as otherwise required by law.
- (2) The department may adopt, repeal, and amend rules related to the prevention and control of communicable diseases and the administration of the immunization registry. Such rules may include procedures for investigating disease, timeframes for reporting disease, definitions, procedures for managing specific diseases, requirements for followup reports of known or suspected exposure to disease, and procedures for providing access to confidential information necessary for disease investigations. For purposes of the immunization registry, the rules may include procedures for a health care practitioner to obtain authorization to use the immunization registry, methods for a parent or guardian to elect not to participate in the immunization registry, and procedures for a health care practitioner licensed under chapter 458, chapter 459, or chapter 464 to access and share electronic immunization records with other entities allowed by law to have access to the records.
381.0031 - Epidemiological research; report of diseases of public health significance to department
History.- s. 2, ch. 29834, 1955; ss. 19, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 67, ch. 77-147; s. 4, ch. 89-311; s. 2, ch. 90-347; s. 15, ch. 91-297; s. 2, ch. 95-188; s. 184, ch. 96-406; s. 175, ch. 97-101; s. 4, ch. 98-151; s. 252, ch. 98-166; s. 8, ch. 2000-367; s. 1, ch. 2012-173; s. 15, ch. 2012-184.
- (1) The department may conduct studies concerning the epidemiology of diseases of public health significance affecting people in Florida.
- (2) Any practitioner licensed in this state to practice medicine, osteopathic medicine, chiropractic medicine, naturopathy, or veterinary medicine; any hospital licensed under part I of chapter 395; or any laboratory licensed under chapter 483 that diagnoses or suspects the existence of a disease of public health significance shall immediately report the fact to the Department of Health.
- (3) An animal control officer operating under s. 828.27, a wildlife officer operating under s. 379.3311, or an animal disease laboratory operating under s. 585.61 shall report knowledge of any animal bite, diagnosis of disease in an animal, or suspicion of a grouping or clustering of animals having similar disease, symptoms, or syndromes that may indicate the presence of a threat to humans.
- (4) The department shall periodically issue a list of infectious or noninfectious diseases determined by it to be a threat to public health and therefore of significance to public health and shall furnish a copy of the list to the practitioners listed in subsection (2). The list shall be based on the diseases recommended to be nationally notifiable by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The department may expand upon the list if a disease emerges for which regular, frequent, and timely information regarding individual cases is considered necessary for the prevention and control of a disease specific to Florida.
- (5) Reports required by this section must be in accordance with methods specified by rule of the department.
- (6) Information submitted in reports required by this section is confidential, exempt from the provisions of s. 119.07(1), and is to be made public only when necessary to public health. A report so submitted is not a violation of the confidential relationship between practitioner and patient.
- (7) The department may obtain and inspect copies of medical records, records of laboratory tests, and other medical-related information for reported cases of diseases of public health significance described in subsection (4). The department shall examine the records of a person who has a disease of public health significance only for purposes of preventing and eliminating outbreaks of disease and making epidemiological investigations of reported cases of diseases of public health significance, notwithstanding any other law to the contrary. Health care practitioners, licensed health care facilities, and laboratories shall allow the department to inspect and obtain copies of such medical records and medical-related information, notwithstanding any other law to the contrary. Release of medical records and medical-related information to the department by a health care practitioner, licensed health care facility, or laboratory, or by an authorized employee or agent thereof, does not constitute a violation of the confidentiality of patient records. A health care practitioner, health care facility, or laboratory, or any employee or agent thereof, may not be held liable in any manner for damages and is not subject to criminal penalties for providing patient records to the department as authorized by this section.
- (8) The department may adopt rules related to reporting diseases of significance to public health, which must specify the information to be included in the report, who is required to report, the method and time period for reporting, requirements for enforcement, and required followup activities by the department which are necessary to protect public health.
- (9) This section does not affect s. 384.25.
Note.- Former s. 381.231.
381.00315 - Public health advisories; public health emergencies; quarantines
The State Health Officer is responsible for declaring public health emergencies and quarantines and issuing public health advisories.
History.- s. 16, ch. 96-403; s. 63, ch. 97-100; s. 2, ch. 2002-269; s. 6, ch. 2005-165; s. 35, ch. 2010-161; s. 16, ch. 2012-184.
- (1) As used in this section, the term:
- (a) “Public health advisory” means any warning or report giving information to the public about a potential public health threat. Prior to issuing any public health advisory, the State Health Officer must consult with any state or local agency regarding areas of responsibility which may be affected by such advisory. Upon determining that issuing a public health advisory is necessary to protect the public health and safety, and prior to issuing the advisory, the State Health Officer must notify each county health department within the area which is affected by the advisory of the State Health Officer’s intent to issue the advisory. The State Health Officer is authorized to take any action appropriate to enforce any public health advisory.
- (b) “Public health emergency” means any occurrence, or threat thereof, whether natural or man made, which results or may result in substantial injury or harm to the public health from infectious disease, chemical agents, nuclear agents, biological toxins, or situations involving mass casualties or natural disasters. Prior to declaring a public health emergency, the State Health Officer shall, to the extent possible, consult with the Governor and shall notify the Chief of Domestic Security. The declaration of a public health emergency shall continue until the State Health Officer finds that the threat or danger has been dealt with to the extent that the emergency conditions no longer exist and he or she terminates the declaration. However, a declaration of a public health emergency may not continue for longer than 60 days unless the Governor concurs in the renewal of the declaration. The State Health Officer, upon declaration of a public health emergency, may take actions that are necessary to protect the public health. Such actions include, but are not limited to:
- 1. Directing manufacturers of prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs who are permitted under chapter 499 and wholesalers of prescription drugs located in this state who are permitted under chapter 499 to give priority to the shipping of specified drugs to pharmacies and health care providers within geographic areas that have been identified by the State Health Officer. The State Health Officer must identify the drugs to be shipped. Manufacturers and wholesalers located in the state must respond to the State Health Officer’s priority shipping directive before shipping the specified drugs.
- 2. Notwithstanding chapters 465 and 499 and rules adopted thereunder, directing pharmacists employed by the department to compound bulk prescription drugs and provide these bulk prescription drugs to physicians and nurses of county health departments or any qualified person authorized by the State Health Officer for administration to persons as part of a prophylactic or treatment regimen.
- 3. Notwithstanding s. 456.036, temporarily reactivating the inactive license of the following health care practitioners, when such practitioners are needed to respond to the public health emergency: physicians licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459; physician assistants licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459; licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, and advanced registered nurse practitioners licensed under part I of chapter 464; respiratory therapists licensed under part V of chapter 468; and emergency medical technicians and paramedics certified under part III of chapter 401. Only those health care practitioners specified in this paragraph who possess an unencumbered inactive license and who request that such license be reactivated are eligible for reactivation. An inactive license that is reactivated under this paragraph shall return to inactive status when the public health emergency ends or prior to the end of the public health emergency if the State Health Officer determines that the health care practitioner is no longer needed to provide services during the public health emergency. Such licenses may only be reactivated for a period not to exceed 90 days without meeting the requirements of s. 456.036 or chapter 401, as applicable.
- 4. Ordering an individual to be examined, tested, vaccinated, treated, or quarantined for communicable diseases that have significant morbidity or mortality and present a severe danger to public health. Individuals who are unable or unwilling to be examined, tested, vaccinated, or treated for reasons of health, religion, or conscience may be subjected to quarantine.
- a. Examination, testing, vaccination, or treatment may be performed by any qualified person authorized by the State Health Officer.
- b. If the individual poses a danger to the public health, the State Health Officer may subject the individual to quarantine. If there is no practical method to quarantine the individual, the State Health Officer may use any means necessary to vaccinate or treat the individual.
Any order of the State Health Officer given to effectuate this paragraph shall be immediately enforceable by a law enforcement officer under s. 381.0012.
- (2) Individuals who assist the State Health Officer at his or her request on a volunteer basis during a public health emergency are entitled to the benefits specified in s. 110.504(2), (3), (4), and (5).
- (3) To facilitate effective emergency management, when the United States Department of Health and Human Services contracts for the manufacture and delivery of licensable products in response to a public health emergency and the terms of those contracts are made available to the states, the department shall accept funds provided by counties, municipalities, and other entities designated in the state emergency management plan required under s. 252.35(2)(a) for the purpose of participation in those contracts. The department shall deposit those funds in the Grants and Donations Trust Fund and expend those funds on behalf of the donor county, municipality, or other entity for the purchase of the licensable products made available under the contract.
- (4) The department has the duty and the authority to declare, enforce, modify, and abolish quarantines of persons, animals, and premises as the circumstances indicate for controlling communicable diseases or providing protection from unsafe conditions that pose a threat to public health, except as provided in ss. 384.28 and 392.545-392.60.
- (5) The department shall adopt rules to specify the conditions and procedures for imposing and releasing a quarantine. The rules must include provisions related to:
- (a) The closure of premises.
- (b) The movement of persons or animals exposed to or infected with a communicable disease.
- (c) The tests or treatment, including vaccination, for communicable disease required prior to employment or admission to the premises or to comply with a quarantine.
- (d) Testing or destruction of animals with or suspected of having a disease transmissible to humans.
- (e) Access by the department to quarantined premises.
- (f) The disinfection of quarantined animals, persons, or premises.
- (g) Methods of quarantine.
- (6) The rules adopted under this section and actions taken by the department pursuant to a declared public health emergency or quarantine shall supersede all rules enacted by other state departments, boards or commissions, and ordinances and regulations enacted by political subdivisions of the state. Any person who violates any rule adopted under this section, any quarantine, or any requirement adopted by the department pursuant to a declared public health emergency, commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
381.0034 - Requirement for instruction on HIV and AIDS
History.- s. 68, ch. 91-297; s. 40, ch. 95-196; s. 31, ch. 97-101; s. 19, ch. 2012-184; s. 1, ch. 2013-128.
- (1) The Department of Health shall require each person licensed or certified under chapter 467, part IV of chapter 468, or chapter 483, as a condition of biennial relicensure, to complete an educational course approved by the department on the modes of transmission, infection control procedures, clinical management, and prevention of human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Such course shall include information on current state law on acquired immune deficiency syndrome and its impact on testing, confidentiality of test results, and treatment of patients. Each such licensee or certificateholder shall submit confirmation of having completed the course, on a form provided by the department, when submitting fees or application for each biennial renewal.
- (2) Failure to complete the requirements of this section shall be grounds for disciplinary action contained in the chapters specified in subsection (1). In addition to discipline by the department, the licensee or certificateholder shall be required to complete said course.
- (3) The department shall require, as a condition of granting a license under the chapters specified in subsection (1), that an applicant making initial application for licensure complete an educational course acceptable to the department on human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome. An applicant who has not taken a course at the time of licensure shall, upon an affidavit showing good cause, be allowed 6 months to complete this requirement.
- (4) The department shall have the authority to adopt rules to carry out the provisions of this section.
- (5) Any professional holding two or more licenses or certificates subject to the provisions of this section shall be permitted to show proof of having taken one department-approved course on human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome, for purposes of relicensure or recertification for the additional licenses.
381.0035 - Educational course on HIV and AIDS; employees and clients of certain health care facilities
History.- s. 8, ch. 88-380; ss. 17, 69, ch. 91-297; s. 63, ch. 92-289; s. 32, ch. 97-101; s. 1, ch. 98-171; s. 190, ch. 99-13; s. 13, ch. 2006-197; s. 1, ch. 2008-103.
- (1) The Department of Health shall require all employees and clients of facilities licensed under chapter 393, chapter 394, or chapter 397 and employees of facilities licensed under chapter 395, part II, part III, or part IV of chapter 400, or part I of chapter 429 to complete a one-time educational course on the modes of transmission, infection control procedures, clinical management, and prevention of human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome with an emphasis on appropriate behavior and attitude change. Such instruction shall include information on current Florida law and its impact on testing, confidentiality of test results, and treatment of patients and any protocols and procedures applicable to human immunodeficiency counseling and testing, reporting, the offering of HIV testing to pregnant women, and partner notification issues pursuant to ss. 381.004 and 384.25. An employee who has completed the educational course required in this subsection is not required to repeat the course upon changing employment to a different facility licensed under chapter 393, chapter 394, chapter 395, chapter 397, part II, part III, or part IV of chapter 400, or part I of chapter 429.
- (2) Facilities licensed under chapter 393, chapter 394, chapter 395, or chapter 397, part II, part III, or part IV of chapter 400, or part I of chapter 429 shall maintain a record of employees and dates of attendance at human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome educational courses.
- (3) The department shall have the authority to review the records of each facility to determine compliance with the requirements of this section. The department may adopt rules to carry out the provisions of this section.
- (4) This section does not apply to an employee who is subject to the requirements of s. 456.033.
Note.- Former s. 381.043.