State Agency Roles
The Florida legislature has played a prominent role in establishing the medical error reporting program, as the list of statutes will attest. Most of these laws give regulatory authority to either the AHCA or the DOH.
- • Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)
The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), under statutory authority and by its administrative rules, manages the ‘adverse incident’ reporting program. The data is maintained, analyzed, and prepared for web publication by the AHCA. (However, the State Center for Health Statistics (SCHS), which manages much of the AHCA data under legislative authority (§ 408.5, FS) has nothing to do with the Risk Management Data program.) The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) has licensure authority for medical facilities.• Department of Health (DOH)
- • Licensing Standards Investigations
Licensing standards investigations of both hospitals and health professionals are conducted by the AHCA as part of its authority in managing the ‘adverse incident’ reporting program. Hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers are licensed under the authority of the AHCA, whereas health professionals are licensed under the authority of the Department of Health, where disciplinary actions regarding ‘adverse incident’ reporting are tightly integrated with the licensing authority under the Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) in the Department of Health and with legislative mandates regarding medical practice. The MQA regulates 37 professions and 6 facilities and works with 22 boards and 6 councils.
- • Other Agencies are affected by this rule. The Division of Consumer Services, under the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, prominently provides a web link to the Practitioner Profile Information. Tort laws also mandate that courts notify the Department of health and other agencies of any medical malpractice action.
The Florida Department of Health maintains physician licensing authority, and has ultimate control of sanctions related to ‘adverse incident’ reporting via Medical Quality Assurance (MQA), which has the responsibility for maintaining ‘Practitioner profiling’. The ‘Practitioner profiling’ is a web-based tool that provides information on all practicing physicians including the practitioner's reported financial responsibility (including reported bankruptcies), legal actions against the practitioner, final disciplinary action taken against the practitioner, and any liability claims filed against the practitioner that exceed $5,000.
While ‘adverse incident’ reporting is not reported primarily in the ‘Practitioner profiling’ website, ‘adverse incidents’ that meet ‘probable cause’ criteria are published “10 days after probable cause is found” on the ‘Practitioner profiling’ website (§456.081, FS). The legislature has written many of the laws so as to integrate the ‘adverse incident’ reporting program with medical malpractice.