(1) For purposes of this section, the terms used in this section have the same meanings as provided in s. 893.055.
(2) The following information of a patient or patient’s agent, a health care practitioner, a dispenser, an employee of the practitioner who is acting on behalf of and at the direction of the practitioner, a pharmacist, or a pharmacy that is contained in records held by the department under s. 893.055 is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution:
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 893.0551
- administration: means the direct application of a controlled substance, whether by injection, inhalation, ingestion, or any other means, to the body of a person or animal. See Florida Statutes 893.02
- Controlled substance: means any substance named or described in Schedules I-V of…. See Florida Statutes 893.02
- Department: means the Department of Health. See Florida Statutes 893.02
- Discovery: Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare for trial.
- Dispense: means the transfer of possession of one or more doses of a medicinal drug by a pharmacist or other licensed practitioner to the ultimate consumer thereof or to one who represents that it is his or her intention not to consume or use the same but to transfer the same to the ultimate consumer or user for consumption by the ultimate consumer or user. See Florida Statutes 893.02
- Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
- Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in injury to another.
- Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
- Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
- Patient: means an individual to whom a controlled substance is lawfully dispensed or administered pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. See Florida Statutes 893.02
- person: includes individuals, children, firms, associations, joint adventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations. See Florida Statutes 1.01
- Pharmacist: means a person who is licensed pursuant to chapter 465 to practice the profession of pharmacy in this state. See Florida Statutes 893.02
- Practitioner: means a physician licensed under chapter 458, a dentist licensed under chapter 466, a veterinarian licensed under chapter 474, an osteopathic physician licensed under chapter 459, an advanced practice registered nurse licensed under chapter 464, a naturopath licensed under chapter 462, a certified optometrist licensed under chapter 463, a psychiatric nurse as defined in…. See Florida Statutes 893.02
- Prescription: includes any order for drugs or medicinal supplies which is written or transmitted by any means of communication by a licensed practitioner authorized by the laws of this state to prescribe such drugs or medicinal supplies, is issued in good faith and in the course of professional practice, is intended to be dispensed by a person authorized by the laws of this state to do so, and meets the requirements of…. See Florida Statutes 893.02
- writing: includes handwriting, printing, typewriting, and all other methods and means of forming letters and characters upon paper, stone, wood, or other materials. See Florida Statutes 1.01
(c) Telephone number.
(d) Insurance plan number.
(e) Government-issued identification number.
(f) Provider number.
(g) Drug Enforcement Administration number.
(h) Any other unique identifying information or number.
(3) The department shall disclose such information to the following persons or entities upon request and after using a verification process to ensure the legitimacy of the request as provided in s. 893.055:
(a) A health care practitioner, or his or her designee, who certifies that the information is necessary to provide medical treatment to a current patient in accordance with ss. 893.04, 893.05, and 893.055.
(b) An employee of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the United States Department of Defense, or the Indian Health Service who provides health care services pursuant to such employment and who has the authority to prescribe or dispense controlled substances shall have access to the information in the program’s system upon verification of such employment.
(c) The program manager and designated support staff for administration of the program, and to provide relevant information to the prescriber, dispenser, and appropriate law enforcement agencies, in accordance with s. 893.055.
(d) The department and its relevant health care regulatory boards for investigations involving licensees authorized to prescribe or dispense controlled substances. The department or health care regulatory board may request information from the program but may not have direct access to its system. The department may provide to a law enforcement agency pursuant to ss. 456.066 and 456.073 only information that is relevant to the specific controlled substances investigation that prompted the request for the information.
1(e) The Attorney General or his or her designee:
1. When working on Medicaid fraud cases involving prescribed controlled substances or when the Attorney General has initiated a review of specific identifiers of Medicaid fraud or specific identifiers that warrant a Medicaid investigation regarding prescribed controlled substances. The Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud investigators may not have direct access to the department’s system. The Attorney General or his or her designee may disclose to a criminal justice agency, as defined in s. 119.011, only the information received from the department that is relevant to an identified active investigation that prompted the request for the information.
2. Upon a court order authorizing the release of patient information under s. 893.055(5)(b)2.
(f) A law enforcement agency that has initiated an active investigation involving a specific violation of law regarding prescription drug abuse or diversion of prescribed controlled substances and that has entered into a user agreement with the department. A law enforcement agency may request information from the department but may not have direct access to its system. The law enforcement agency may disclose to a criminal justice agency, as defined in s. 119.011, only information received from the department that is relevant to an identified active investigation that prompted the request for such information.
(g) A district medical examiner or associate medical examiner, as described in s. 406.06, pursuant to his or her official duties, as required by s. 406.11, to determine the cause of death of an individual. Such medical examiners may request information from the department but may not have direct access to the system.
(h) An impaired practitioner consultant who has been authorized in writing by a participant in, or by a referral to, the impaired practitioner program to access and review information as provided in s. 893.055(5)(e).
(i) A patient or the legal guardian or designated health care surrogate for an incapacitated patient, if applicable, making a request as provided in s. 893.055(5)(f).
(4) If the department determines consistent with its rules that a pattern of controlled substance abuse exists, the department may disclose such confidential and exempt information to the applicable law enforcement agency in accordance with s. 893.055. The law enforcement agency may disclose to a criminal justice agency, as defined in s. 119.011, only information received from the department that is relevant to an identified active investigation that is specific to a violation of s. 893.13(7)(a)8., (8)(a), or (8)(b).
(5) Before disclosing information to a criminal justice agency or a law enforcement agency pursuant to this section, the disclosing person or entity must take steps to ensure the continued confidentiality of all information. At a minimum, these steps must include redacting any nonrelevant information.
1(6) An agency or person who obtains any information pursuant to this section must maintain the confidential and exempt status of that information and may not disclose such information unless authorized by law. Information shared with a state attorney pursuant to paragraph (3)(f) or with the Attorney General or his or her designee pursuant to subparagraph (3)(e)2. may be released only in response to a discovery demand if such information is directly related to the case for which the information was requested. Unrelated information may be released only upon an order of a court of competent jurisdiction.