456.072 Grounds for discipline; penalties; enforcement.—
(1) The following acts shall constitute grounds for which the disciplinary actions specified in subsection (2) may be taken:
(a) Making misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent representations in or related to the practice of the licensee’s profession.
(b) Intentionally violating any rule adopted by the board or the department, as appropriate.
(c) Being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction which relates to the practice of, or the ability to practice, a licensee’s profession.
(d) Using a Class III or a Class IV laser device or product, as defined by federal regulations, without having complied with the rules adopted under s. 501.122(2) governing the registration of the devices.
(e) Failing to comply with the educational course requirements for human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
(f) Having a license or the authority to practice any regulated profession revoked, suspended, or otherwise acted against, including the denial of licensure, by the licensing authority of any jurisdiction, including its agencies or subdivisions, for a violation that would constitute a violation under Florida law. The licensing authority’s acceptance of a relinquishment of licensure, stipulation, consent order, or other settlement, offered in response to or in anticipation of the filing of charges against the license, shall be construed as action against the license.
(g) Having been found liable in a civil proceeding for knowingly filing a false report or complaint with the department against another licensee.
(h) Attempting to obtain, obtaining, or renewing a license to practice a profession by bribery, by fraudulent misrepresentation, or through an error of the department or the board.
(i) Except as provided in s. 465.016, failing to report to the department any person who the licensee knows is in violation of this chapter, the chapter regulating the alleged violator, or the rules of the department or the board.
(j) Aiding, assisting, procuring, employing, or advising any unlicensed person or entity to practice a profession contrary to this chapter, the chapter regulating the profession, or the rules of the department or the board.
(k) Failing to perform any statutory or legal obligation placed upon a licensee. For purposes of this section, failing to repay a student loan issued or guaranteed by the state or the Federal Government in accordance with the terms of the loan or failing to comply with service scholarship obligations shall be considered a failure to perform a statutory or legal obligation, and the minimum disciplinary action imposed shall be a suspension of the license until new payment terms are agreed upon or the scholarship obligation is resumed, followed by probation for the duration of the student loan or remaining scholarship obligation period, and a fine equal to 10 percent of the defaulted loan amount. Fines collected shall be deposited into the Medical Quality Assurance Trust Fund.
(l) Making or filing a report which the licensee knows to be false, intentionally or negligently failing to file a report or record required by state or federal law, or willfully impeding or obstructing another person to do so. Such reports or records shall include only those that are signed in the capacity of a licensee.
(m) Making deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations in or related to the practice of a profession or employing a trick or scheme in or related to the practice of a profession.
(n) Exercising influence on the patient or client for the purpose of financial gain of the licensee or a third party.
(o) Practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law or accepting and performing professional responsibilities the licensee knows, or has reason to know, the licensee is not competent to perform.
(p) Delegating or contracting for the performance of professional responsibilities by a person when the licensee delegating or contracting for performance of the responsibilities knows, or has reason to know, the person is not qualified by training, experience, and authorization when required to perform them.
(q) Violating a lawful order of the department or the board, or failing to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena of the department.
(r) Improperly interfering with an investigation or inspection authorized by statute, or with any disciplinary proceeding.
(s) Failing to comply with the educational course requirements for domestic violence.
(t) Failing to identify through written notice, which may include the wearing of a name tag, or orally to a patient the type of license under which the practitioner is practicing. Any advertisement for health care services naming the practitioner must identify the type of license the practitioner holds. This paragraph does not apply to a practitioner while the practitioner is providing services in a facility licensed under chapter 394, chapter 395, chapter 400, or chapter 429. Each board, or the department where there is no board, is authorized by rule to determine how its practitioners may comply with this disclosure requirement.
(u) Failing to comply with the requirements of ss. 381.026 and 381.0261 to provide patients with information about their patient rights and how to file a patient complaint.
(v) Engaging or attempting to engage in sexual misconduct as defined and prohibited in s. 456.063(1).
(w) Failing to comply with the requirements for profiling and credentialing, including, but not limited to, failing to provide initial information, failing to timely provide updated information, or making misleading, untrue, deceptive, or fraudulent representations on a profile, credentialing, or initial or renewal licensure application.
(x) Failing to report to the board, or the department if there is no board, in writing within 30 days after the licensee has been convicted or found guilty of, or entered a plea of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction. Convictions, findings, adjudications, and pleas entered into prior to the enactment of this paragraph must be reported in writing to the board, or department if there is no board, on or before October 1, 1999.
(y) Using information about people involved in motor vehicle accidents which has been derived from accident reports made by law enforcement officers or persons involved in accidents under s. 316.066, or using information published in a newspaper or other news publication or through a radio or television broadcast that has used information gained from such reports, for the purposes of commercial or any other solicitation whatsoever of the people involved in the accidents.
(z) Being unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of illness or use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or any other type of material or as a result of any mental or physical condition. In enforcing this paragraph, the department shall have, upon a finding of the State Surgeon General or the State Surgeon General’s designee that probable cause exists to believe that the licensee is unable to practice because of the reasons stated in this paragraph, the authority to issue an order to compel a licensee to submit to a mental or physical examination by physicians designated by the department. If the licensee refuses to comply with the order, the department’s order directing the examination may be enforced by filing a petition for enforcement in the circuit court where the licensee resides or does business. The department shall be entitled to the summary procedure provided in s. 51.011. A licensee or certificateholder affected under this paragraph shall at reasonable intervals be afforded an opportunity to demonstrate that he or she can resume the competent practice of his or her profession with reasonable skill and safety to patients.
(aa) Testing positive for any drug, as defined in s. 112.0455, on any confirmed preemployment or employer-ordered drug screening when the practitioner does not have a lawful prescription and legitimate medical reason for using the drug.
(bb) Performing or attempting to perform health care services on the wrong patient, a wrong-site procedure, a wrong procedure, or an unauthorized procedure or a procedure that is medically unnecessary or otherwise unrelated to the patient’s diagnosis or medical condition. For the purposes of this paragraph, performing or attempting to perform health care services includes the preparation of the patient.
(cc) Leaving a foreign body in a patient, such as a sponge, clamp, forceps, surgical needle, or other paraphernalia commonly used in surgical, examination, or other diagnostic procedures. For the purposes of this paragraph, it shall be legally presumed that retention of a foreign body is not in the best interest of the patient and is not within the standard of care of the profession, regardless of the intent of the professional.
(dd) Violating any provision of this chapter, the applicable practice act, or any rules adopted pursuant thereto.
(ee) With respect to making a personal injury protection claim as required by s. 627.736, intentionally submitting a claim, statement, or bill that has been “upcoded” as defined in s. 627.732.
(ff) With respect to making a personal injury protection claim as required by s. 627.736, intentionally submitting a claim, statement, or bill for payment of services that were not rendered.
(gg) Engaging in a pattern of practice when prescribing medicinal drugs or controlled substances which demonstrates a lack of reasonable skill or safety to patients, a violation of any provision of this chapter, a violation of the applicable practice act, or a violation of any rules adopted under this chapter or the applicable practice act of the prescribing practitioner. Notwithstanding s. 456.073(13), the department may initiate an investigation and establish such a pattern from billing records, data, or any other information obtained by the department.
(hh) Being terminated from a treatment program for impaired practitioners, which is overseen by an impaired practitioner consultant as described in s. 456.076, for failure to comply, without good cause, with the terms of the monitoring or treatment contract entered into by the licensee, or for not successfully completing any drug treatment or alcohol treatment program.
(ii) Being convicted of, or entering a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, any misdemeanor or felony, regardless of adjudication, under 18 U.S.C. s. 669, ss. 285-287, s. 371, s. 1001, s. 1035, s. 1341, s. 1343, s. 1347, s. 1349, or s. 1518, or 42 U.S.C. ss. 1320a-7b, relating to the Medicaid program.
(jj) Failing to remit the sum owed to the state for an overpayment from the Medicaid program pursuant to a final order, judgment, or stipulation or settlement.
(kk) Being terminated from the state Medicaid program pursuant to s. 409.913, any other state Medicaid program, or the federal Medicare program, unless eligibility to participate in the program from which the practitioner was terminated has been restored.
(ll) Being convicted of, or entering a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to, any misdemeanor or felony, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction which relates to health care fraud.
(mm) Failure to comply with controlled substance prescribing requirements of s. 456.44.
(nn) Violating any of the provisions of s. 790.338.
(2) When the board, or the department when there is no board, finds any person guilty of the grounds set forth in subsection (1) or of any grounds set forth in the applicable practice act, including conduct constituting a substantial violation of subsection (1) or a violation of the applicable practice act which occurred prior to obtaining a license, it may enter an order imposing one or more of the following penalties:
(a) Refusal to certify, or to certify with restrictions, an application for a license.
(b) Suspension or permanent revocation of a license.
(c) Restriction of practice or license, including, but not limited to, restricting the licensee from practicing in certain settings, restricting the licensee to work only under designated conditions or in certain settings, restricting the licensee from performing or providing designated clinical and administrative services, restricting the licensee from practicing more than a designated number of hours, or any other restriction found to be necessary for the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare.
(d) Imposition of an administrative fine not to exceed $10,000 for each count or separate offense. If the violation is for fraud or making a false or fraudulent representation, the board, or the department if there is no board, must impose a fine of $10,000 per count or offense.
(e) Issuance of a reprimand or letter of concern.
(f) Placement of the licensee on probation for a period of time and subject to such conditions as the board, or the department when there is no board, may specify. Those conditions may include, but are not limited to, requiring the licensee to undergo treatment, attend continuing education courses, submit to be reexamined, work under the supervision of another licensee, or satisfy any terms which are reasonably tailored to the violations found.
(g) Corrective action.
(h) Imposition of an administrative fine in accordance with s. 381.0261 for violations regarding patient rights.
(i) Refund of fees billed and collected from the patient or a third party on behalf of the patient.
(j) Requirement that the practitioner undergo remedial education.
In determining what action is appropriate, the board, or department when there is no board, must first consider what sanctions are necessary to protect the public or to compensate the patient. Only after those sanctions have been imposed may the disciplining authority consider and include in the order requirements designed to rehabilitate the practitioner. All costs associated with compliance with orders issued under this subsection are the obligation of the practitioner.
(3)(a) Notwithstanding subsection (2), if the ground for disciplinary action is the first-time failure of the licensee to satisfy continuing education requirements established by the board, or by the department if there is no board, the board or department, as applicable, shall issue a citation in accordance with s. 456.077 and assess a fine, as determined by the board or department by rule. In addition, for each hour of continuing education not completed or completed late, the board or department, as applicable, may require the licensee to take 1 additional hour of continuing education for each hour not completed or completed late.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (2), if the ground for disciplinary action is the first-time violation of a practice act for unprofessional conduct, as used in ss. 464.018(1)(h), 467.203(1)(f), 468.365(1)(f), and 478.52(1)(f), and no actual harm to the patient occurred, the board or department, as applicable, shall issue a citation in accordance with s. 456.077 and assess a penalty as determined by rule of the board or department.
(4) In addition to any other discipline imposed through final order, or citation, entered on or after July 1, 2001, under this section or discipline imposed through final order, or citation, entered on or after July 1, 2001, for a violation of any practice act, the board, or the department when there is no board, shall assess costs related to the investigation and prosecution of the case. The costs related to the investigation and prosecution include, but are not limited to, salaries and benefits of personnel, costs related to the time spent by the attorney and other personnel working on the case, and any other expenses incurred by the department for the case. The board, or the department when there is no board, shall determine the amount of costs to be assessed after its consideration of an affidavit of itemized costs and any written objections thereto. In any case where the board or the department imposes a fine or assessment and the fine or assessment is not paid within a reasonable time, the reasonable time to be prescribed in the rules of the board, or the department when there is no board, or in the order assessing the fines or costs, the department or the Department of Legal Affairs may contract for the collection of, or bring a civil action to recover, the fine or assessment.
(5) In addition to, or in lieu of, any other remedy or criminal prosecution, the department may file a proceeding in the name of the state seeking issuance of an injunction or a writ of mandamus against any person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter, or any provision of law with respect to professions regulated by the department, or any board therein, or the rules adopted pursuant thereto.
(6) If the board, or the department when there is no board, determines that revocation of a license is the appropriate penalty, the revocation shall be permanent. However, the board may establish by rule requirements for reapplication by applicants whose licenses have been permanently revoked. The requirements may include, but are not limited to, satisfying current requirements for an initial license.
(7) Notwithstanding subsection (2), upon a finding that a physician has prescribed or dispensed a controlled substance, or caused a controlled substance to be prescribed or dispensed, in a manner that violates the standard of practice set forth in s. 458.331(1)(q) or (t), s. 459.015(1)(t) or (x), s. 461.013(1)(o) or (s), or s. 466.028(1)(p) or (x), the physician shall be suspended for a period of not less than 6 months and pay a fine of not less than $10,000 per count. Repeated violations shall result in increased penalties.
(8) The purpose of this section is to facilitate uniform discipline for those actions made punishable under this section and, to this end, a reference to this section constitutes a general reference under the doctrine of incorporation by reference.
History.—s. 69, ch. 97-261; s. 84, ch. 99-397; s. 90, ch. 2000-160; s. 26, ch. 2000-318; s. 71, ch. 2001-277; s. 2, ch. 2002-254; s. 6, ch. 2003-411; s. 19, ch. 2003-416; s. 10, ch. 2004-344; s. 1, ch. 2005-240; s. 2, ch. 2006-207; s. 111, ch. 2007-5; s. 64, ch. 2008-6; s. 25, ch. 2009-223; s. 3, ch. 2011-112; s. 1, ch. 2011-141.