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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title XXX
SOCIAL WELFARE
Chapter 415
ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES
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F.S. 415.1103
415.1103 Elder and vulnerable adult abuse fatality review teams.
(1)(a) An elder and vulnerable adult abuse fatality review team may be established to review incidents of abuse, exploitation, or neglect which are believed to have caused or contributed to the death of an elderly person or vulnerable adult.
(b) An elder and vulnerable adult abuse fatality review team may be initiated by any of the following:
1. A state attorney.
2. A law enforcement agency.
3. The Department of Children and Families.
4. The Office of the Attorney General.
5. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities.
(c) The initiating entity shall determine the geographic area that the review team will serve. The geographic area served by the review team must be within the jurisdiction or service area of the initiating entity.
(d) The purpose of a review team is to learn how to prevent elder and vulnerable adult abuse and abuse-related deaths by intervening early and improving the system response to elder and vulnerable adult abuse, exploitation, and neglect.
(2) For purposes of this section and s. 415.1104, the term “elder and vulnerable adult” refers to a person who meets the criteria for any of the following terms:
(a) Vulnerable adult as defined in s. 415.102.
(b) Disabled adult as defined in s. 825.101.
(c) Elderly person as defined in s. 825.101.
(3) A review team may include representatives from the entities listed under paragraph (1)(b) and any of the following persons or entities:
(a) The medical examiner.
(b) A county court judge.
(c) The area agency on aging.
(d) The State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.
(e) The Agency for Health Care Administration.
(f) The Office of the State Courts Administrator.
(g) The clerk of the court.
(h) A victim services program.
(i) An elder law or disability rights attorney.
(j) Emergency services personnel.
(k) A certified domestic violence center.
(l) An advocacy organization for victims of sexual violence.
(m) A funeral home director.
(n) A forensic pathologist.
(o) A geriatrician.
(p) A geriatric nurse.
(q) A geriatric psychiatrist or other individual licensed to offer behavioral health services.
(r) A hospital discharge planner.
(s) A public guardian.
(t) Any other persons who are identified and invited by the review team and who have knowledge regarding fatal incidents of elder abuse, vulnerable adult abuse, domestic violence, sexual violence, or suicide, including knowledge of research, policy, law, and other matters connected with such incidents involving elders and vulnerable adults.
(4)(a) Participation in a review team is voluntary. Members of a review team shall serve without compensation and may not be reimbursed for per diem or travel expenses. A review team in existence on July 1, 2023, may continue to exist and must comply with the requirements of this section.
(b)1. The entity initiating the review team shall call the first organizational meeting of the team.
2. A representative of the entity initiating the review team, who is chosen by that entity, shall serve as a co-chair of the review team. At the initial meeting, members of a review team shall elect a member to serve as an additional co-chair. The co-chair elected by the review team shall serve a 2-year term and may be reelected by a majority vote of a review team for not more than two consecutive terms.
3. At the initial meeting, members of a review team shall establish a schedule for future meetings. Each review team shall meet at least once each fiscal year.
(c) Except as provided in subsection (1) and paragraph (b), each review team shall determine its structure, local operations, and process for case selection, including, but not limited to, the number and type of incidents it chooses to review.
(d) Administrative costs of operating the review team must be borne by the team members or entities they represent.
(e)1. Each member of a review team shall sign a written acknowledgment that the member is obligated to comply with the applicable provisions of chapter 119 and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution and may not knowingly disclose or reveal information or records produced, acquired, or discussed by the review team which are confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. The written acknowledgment must reference applicable criminal penalties for such disclosures and clearly identify the records for which such penalties apply.
2. The entity initiating the review team shall provide the acknowledgment form to be signed by each review team member and shall provide training to review team members on the requirements regarding records that are exempt or confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(5) A review team must do all of the following:
(a) Review incidents of abuse, exploitation, or neglect of elders and vulnerable adults in the review team’s geographic service area which are believed to have caused or contributed to the deaths of such persons.
(b) Take into consideration the events leading up to a fatal incident, available community resources, current law and policies, and the actions taken by systems or individuals related to the fatal incident, and any information considered relevant by the team, including, but not limited to, a review of public records and records for which a public records exemption is granted.
(c) Identify potential gaps, deficiencies, or problems in the delivery of services to elders and vulnerable adults by public and private agencies which may be related to incidents reviewed by the team.
(d) Whenever possible, develop communitywide approaches to address the causes of, and contributing factors to, incidents reviewed by the team.
(e) Develop recommendations and potential changes in law, rules, and policies to support the care of elders and vulnerable adults and to prevent abuse of such persons.
(6)(a) A review team may share with other review teams in this state any relevant information that pertains to incidents identified or reviewed by the team.
(b)1. A review team member may not contact, interview, or obtain information by request directly from a family member of a person whose case is subject to review by the review team as part of the review unless:
a. A team member is authorized to do so in the course of his or her employment duties; or
b. Such contact, interview, or request is necessary for the review team to complete its review and determine findings and such information is not obtainable through any other means.
2. A family member of a person whose case is subject to review by the review team may voluntarily provide information or any record to a review team but must be informed that such information or any record is subject to public disclosure unless a public records exemption applies.
(7)(a) Annually by September 1, each review team shall submit a summary report to the Department of Elderly Affairs which includes, but is not limited to:
1. Descriptive statistics regarding cases reviewed by the team, including, at a minimum, demographic information on victims, the causes and nature of their deaths, and the incidents of abuse, exploitation, or neglect associated with their deaths.
2. Current policies, procedures, rules, or statutes the review team has identified as contributing to the incidence of elder and vulnerable adult abuse and abuse-related deaths, and recommendations for system improvements and needed resources, training, or information dissemination to address such identified issues.
3. Any other recommendations to prevent fatal incidents of abuse, exploitation, or neglect of elders and vulnerable adults, based on an analysis of the data and information presented in the report.
(b) Annually by November 1, the Department of Elderly Affairs shall prepare a summary report of the review team information submitted under paragraph (a). The department shall submit its summary report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Department of Children and Families.
(8)(a) There is no monetary liability on the part of, and a cause of action for damages may not arise against, any member of a review team, or any person acting as a witness to, incident reporter to, or investigator for a review team, for any act or proceeding taken or performed within the scope and functions of the team, unless such person acted in bad faith, with wanton and willful disregard of human rights, safety, or property.
(b) This subsection does not affect the requirements of s. 768.28.
(9)(a) Oral or written communications, information, and records produced or acquired by the review team are not subject to discovery and may not be introduced into evidence in any civil, criminal, administrative, or disciplinary proceeding if the communications, information, or records arose out of matters that are the subject of evaluation and review by the review team. Information, documents, and records otherwise available from sources other than the review team are not immune from discovery or introduction into evidence solely because the information, documents, or records were presented to or reviewed by a review team.
(b) A person who attends a meeting or other authorized activity of a review team may not testify in any civil, criminal, administrative, or disciplinary proceedings as to any communications, records, or information produced or presented to the review team during its meetings or other activities authorized by this section.
(c) This subsection does not prohibit:
1. A person who testifies before a review team or is a member of a review team from testifying in a civil, criminal, administrative, or disciplinary proceeding to matters otherwise within his or her knowledge; or
2. A member of a review team from testifying in a policy-related hearing or matter, as long as the member of the review team does not disclose communications, records, or information that would identify the victim or victim’s family or any other confidential or exempt records or information pertaining to a matter reviewed by the review team.
(10)(a)1. Any information that is exempt or confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution and is obtained by an 1elder or vulnerable adult abuse fatality review team while executing its duties under this section retains its exempt or confidential and exempt status when held by the review team.
2. Any information contained in a record created by a review team pursuant to this section which reveals the identity of a victim of abuse, exploitation, or neglect or the identity of persons responsible for the welfare of a victim is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution.
3. Any information that is maintained as exempt or confidential and exempt within this chapter retains its exempt or confidential and exempt status when held by a review team.
(b) Portions of meetings of a review team relating to abuse, exploitation, or neglect or abuse-related deaths of elderly persons or otherwise vulnerable adults, and the prevention of such abuse, exploitation, neglect, or deaths, during which exempt or confidential and exempt information, information protected within this chapter, the identity of the victim, or the identity of persons responsible for the welfare of the victim is discussed, are exempt from s. 286.011 and s. 24(b), Art. I of the State Constitution.
(c) This subsection is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed on October 2, 2028, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
History.s. 1, ch. 2020-17; s. 1, ch. 2023-260; s. 1, ch. 2023-261.
1Note.The word “abuse” following the word “elder” was deleted by the editors to conform to the majority of references to the elder or vulnerable adult abuse fatality review teams in this section.