Florida Regulation of Physicians

The Florida regulation of physicians are found in Fla. Stat. §§ 458.301 through 458.351.  The Legislature recognizes that the practice of medicine is potentially dangerous to the public if conducted by unsafe and incompetent practitioners.  The Legislature finds further that it is difficult for the public to make an informed choice when selecting a physician and that the consequences of a wrong decision could seriously harm the public health and safety.  The primary legislative purpose in enacting this chapter is to ensure that every physician practicing in this state meets minimum requirements for safe practice.  It is the legislative intent that physicians who fall below minimum competency or who otherwise present a danger to the public shall be prohibited from practicing in this state[i].

Fla. Stat. § 458.309 provides that the board has authority to adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement the provisions of this chapter conferring duties upon it.  Any rules which the board adopts relating to the classroom phase of medical education shall not apply to any person who is enrolled in the classroom phase of medical education or has graduated prior to or at the time the rule becomes effective, so long as such person does not interrupt his or her medical education.  Any rules which the board adopts relating to the clinical clerkship phase of medical education shall not apply to any person who is enrolled in the clinical clerkship phase of medical education prior to or at the time the rule becomes effective, so long as such person does not interrupt his or her medical education.  Rules adopted by the Florida Board of Medical Examiners prior to October 1, 1986, and relating to clinical clerkships for graduates of foreign medical schools do not apply to any such graduate who:

  • Had completed a clinical clerkship prior to the effective date of the rule; or
  • Had begun a clinical clerkship but had not completed the clinical clerkship prior to the effective date of the rule, so long as the clinical clerkship took no longer than 3 years to complete.

Any rules which the board adopts relating to residency shall not apply to any person who has begun his or her residency prior to or at the time the rule becomes effective, so long as such person does not interrupt the residency.  All physicians who perform level 2 procedures lasting more than 5 minutes and all level 3 surgical procedures in an office setting must register the office with the department unless that office is licensed as a facility pursuant to chapter 395.  The department shall inspect the physician’s office annually unless the office is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or an accrediting organization subsequently approved by the Board of Medicine.  The actual costs for registration and inspection or accreditation shall be paid by the person seeking to register and operate the office setting in which office surgery is performed.  All privately owned pain-management clinics, facilities, or offices, hereinafter referred to as “clinics,” which advertise in any medium for any type of pain-management services, or employ a physician who is primarily engaged in the treatment of pain by prescribing or dispensing controlled substance medications, must register with the department by January 4, 2010, unless that clinic is licensed as a facility pursuant to chapter 395.

A physician may not practice medicine in a pain-management clinic that is required to but has not registered with the department.  Each clinic location shall be registered separately regardless of whether the clinic is operated under the same business name or management as another clinic.  If the clinic is licensed as a health care clinic under chapter 400, the medical director is responsible for registering the facility with the department.  If the clinic is not registered pursuant to chapter 395 or chapter 400, the clinic shall, upon registration with the department, designate a physician who is responsible for complying with all requirements related to registration of the clinic.  The designated physician shall be licensed under this chapter or chapter 459 and shall practice at the office location for which the physician has assumed responsibility.  The department shall inspect the clinic annually to ensure that it complies with rules of the Board of Medicine adopted pursuant to this subsection and subsection (5) unless the office is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency approved by the Board of Medicine.  The actual costs for registration and inspection or accreditation shall be paid by the physician seeking to register the clinic.  The Board of Medicine shall adopt rules setting forth standards of practice for physicians practicing in privately owned pain-management clinics that primarily engage in the treatment of pain by prescribing or dispensing controlled substance medications.  Such rules shall address, but need not be limited to, the following subjects:

  • Facility operations;
  • Physical operations;
  • Infection control requirements;
  • Health and safety requirements;
  • Quality assurance requirements;
  • Patient records;
  • Training requirements for all facility health care practitioners who are not regulated by another board;
  • Inspections; and
  • Data collection and reporting requirements.

A physician is primarily engaged in the treatment of pain by prescribing or dispensing controlled substance medications when the majority of the patients seen are prescribed or dispensed controlled substance medications for the treatment of chronic nonmalignant pain.  Chronic nonmalignant pain is pain unrelated to cancer which persists beyond the usual course of the disease or the injury that is the cause of the pain or more than 90 days after surgery.  A privately owned clinic, facility, or office that advertises in any medium for any type of pain-management services or employs one or more physicians who are primarily engaged in the treatment of pain by prescribing or dispensing controlled substances is exempt from the registration provisions in subsection (4) if the majority of the physicians who provide services in the clinic, facility, or office primarily provide surgical services.  It is the intent of the Legislature to provide medical services to all the residents of this state at an affordable cost.

The Board of Medicine may, by rule, develop criteria and, without examination, issue restricted licenses annually to up to 100 persons to practice medicine in this state who:

  • Meet the requirements of s. 458.311;
  • Show evidence of the active licensed practice of medicine in another jurisdiction for at least 2 years of the immediately preceding 4 years, or completion of board-approved postgraduate training within the year preceding the filing of an application; and
  • Enter into a contract to practice for a period of 24 months solely in the employ of the state or a federally funded community health center or migrant health center, at the current salary level for that position.  The Board of Medicine shall designate areas of critical need in the state where these restricted licensees may practice.

Before the end of the 24-month practice period, the physician must take and successfully complete the licensure examination.  If the restricted licensee breaches the terms of the employment contract, he or she may not be licensed as a physician in this state under any licensing provisions[ii].

Pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 458.311, any person desiring to be licensed as a physician, who does not hold a valid license in any state, shall apply to the department on forms furnished by the department.  The department shall license each applicant who the board certifies:

  • Has completed the application form and remitted a nonrefundable application fee not to exceed $ 500.
  • Is at least 21 years of age.
  • Is of good moral character.
  • Has not committed any act or offense in this or any other jurisdiction which would constitute the basis for disciplining a physician pursuant to s. 458.331.
  • For any applicant who has graduated from medical school after October 1, 1992, has completed the equivalent of 2 academic years of preprofessional, postsecondary education, as determined by rule of the board, which shall include, at a minimum, courses in such fields as anatomy, biology, and chemistry prior to entering medical school.
  • Meets one of the following medical education and postgraduate training requirements:

1. a. Is a graduate of an allopathic medical school or allopathic college recognized and approved by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Office of Education or is a graduate of an allopathic medical school or allopathic college within a territorial jurisdiction of the United States recognized by the accrediting agency of the governmental body of that jurisdiction;

b. If the language of instruction of the medical school is other than English, has demonstrated competency in English through presentation of a satisfactory grade on the Test of Spoken English of the Educational Testing Service or a similar test approved by rule of the board; and

c. Has completed an approved residency of at least 1 year.

2. a. Is a graduate of an allopathic foreign medical school registered with the World Health Organization and certified pursuant to s. 458.314 as having met the standards required to accredit medical schools in the United States or reasonably comparable standards;

b. If the language of instruction of the foreign medical school is other than English, has demonstrated competency in English through presentation of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates English proficiency certificate or by a satisfactory grade on the Test of Spoken English of the Educational Testing Service or a similar test approved by rule of the board; and

c. Has completed an approved residency of at least 1 year.

3. a. Is a graduate of an allopathic foreign medical school which has not been certified pursuant to s. 458.314;

b. Has had his or her medical credentials evaluated by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, holds an active, valid certificate issued by that commission, and has passed the examination utilized by that commission; and

c. Has completed an approved residency of at least 1 year; however, after October 1, 1992, the applicant shall have completed an approved residency or fellowship of at least 2 years in one specialty area.  However, to be acceptable, the fellowship experience and training must be counted toward regular or subspecialty certification by a board recognized and certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties.

As prescribed by board rule, the board may require an applicant who does not pass the national licensing examination after five attempts to complete additional remedial education or training.  The board shall prescribe the additional requirements in a manner that permits the applicant to complete the requirements and be reexamined within 2 years after the date the applicant petitions the board to retake the examination a sixth or subsequent time.  Notwithstanding the provisions of subparagraph (1)(f)3., a graduate of a foreign medical school need not present the certificate issued by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates or pass the examination utilized by that commission if the graduate:

(a) Has received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited United States college or university.

(b) Has studied at a medical school which is recognized by the World Health Organization.

(c) Has completed all of the formal requirements of the foreign medical school, except the internship or social service requirements, and has passed part I of the National Board of Medical Examiners examination or the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates examination equivalent.

(d) Has completed an academic year of supervised clinical training in a hospital affiliated with a medical school approved by the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association and upon completion has passed part II of the National Board of Medical Examiners examination or the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates examination equivalent.

The department and the board shall assure that applicants for licensure meet the criteria in subsection (1) through an investigative process.  When the investigative process is not completed within the time set out in s. 120.60(1) and the department or board has reason to believe that the applicant does not meet the criteria, the State Surgeon General or the State Surgeon General’s designee may issue a 90-day licensure delay which shall be in writing and sufficient to notify the applicant of the reason for the delay.  The provisions of this subsection shall control over any conflicting provisions of s. 120.60(1).

The board may not certify to the department for licensure any applicant who is under investigation in another jurisdiction for an offense which would constitute a violation of this chapter until such investigation is completed.  Upon completion of the investigation, the provisions of s. 458.331 shall apply.  Furthermore, the department may not issue an unrestricted license to any individual who has committed any act or offense in any jurisdiction which would constitute the basis for disciplining a physician pursuant to s. 458.331.  When the board finds that an individual has committed an act or offense in any jurisdiction which would constitute the basis for disciplining a physician pursuant to s. 458.331, then the board may enter an order imposing one or more of the terms set forth in subsection (8).

Each applicant who meets the requirements of this chapter shall be licensed as a physician, with rights as defined by law.  Upon certification by the board, the department shall impose conditions, limitations, or restrictions on a license if the applicant is on probation in another jurisdiction for an act which would constitute a violation of this chapter.  When the board determines that any applicant for licensure has failed to meet, to the board’s satisfaction, each of the appropriate requirements set forth in this section, it may enter an order requiring one or more of the following terms:

(a) Refusal to certify to the department an application for licensure, certification, or registration;

(b) Certification to the department of an application for licensure, certification, or registration with restrictions on the scope of practice of the licensee; or

(c) Certification to the department of an application for licensure, certification, or registration with placement of the physician on probation for a period of time and subject to such conditions as the board may specify, including, but not limited to, requiring the physician to submit to treatment, attend continuing education courses, submit to reexamination, or work under the supervision of another physician.

A person who is eligible to take and elects to take the USMLE who has previously passed part 1 or part 2 of the previously administered FLEX shall not be required to retake or pass the equivalent parts of the USMLE up to the year 2002.  A person shall be eligible to take such examination for restricted licensure if the person:

1. Has taken, upon approval by the board, and completed, in November 1990 or November 1992, one of the special preparatory medical update courses authorized by the board and the University of Miami Medical School and subsequently passed the final course examination; upon approval by the board to take the course completed in 1990 or in 1992, has a certificate of successful completion of that course from the University of Miami or the Stanley H. Kaplan course; or can document to the department that he or she was one of the persons who took and successfully completed the Stanley H. Kaplan course that was approved by the board and supervised by the University of Miami.  At a minimum, the documentation must include class attendance records and the test score on the final course examination;

2. Applies to the department and submits an application fee that is nonrefundable and equivalent to the fee required for full licensure;

3. Documents no less than 2 years of the active practice of medicine in any jurisdiction;

4. Submits an examination fee that is nonrefundable and equivalent to the fee required for full licensure plus the actual per-applicant cost to the department to provide either examination described in this section;

5. Has not committed any act or offense in this or any other jurisdiction that would constitute a substantial basis for disciplining a physician under chapter 456 or this chapter; and

6. Is not under discipline, investigation, or prosecution in this or any other jurisdiction for an act that would constitute a violation of chapter 456 or this chapter and that substantially threatened or threatens the public health, safety, or welfare.

Every person eligible for restricted licensure under this section may sit for the USMLE or the department-developed examination five times within 5 calendar years.  Applicants desiring to use portions of the FLEX and the USMLE may do so up to the year 2000.  However, notwithstanding subparagraph (c)3., applicants applying under this section who fail the examination up to a total of five times will only be required to pay the examination fee required for full licensure for the second and subsequent times they take the examination.  The department and the board shall be responsible for working with one or more organizations to offer a medical refresher course designed to prepare applicants to take either licensure examination described in this section.  The organizations may develop the medical refresher course, purchase such a course, or contract for such a course from a private organization that specializes in developing such courses.

The course shall require no less than two 16-week semesters of 16 contact hours per week for a total of 256 contact hours per student for each semester.  The cost is to be paid by the students taking the course.  Before the department may issue a restricted license to an applicant under this section, the applicant must have passed either of the two examinations described in this section.  However, the board may impose reasonable restrictions on the applicant’s license to practice.[iii].

Fla. Stat. § 458.313 provides that the department shall issue a license by endorsement to any applicant who, upon applying to the department on forms furnished by the department and remitting a fee set by the board not to exceed $ 500, the board certifies:

  • Has met the qualifications for licensure in s. 458.311(1)(b)-(g) or in s. 458.311(1)(b)-(e) and (g) and (3);
  • Prior to January 1, 2000, has obtained a passing score, as established by rule of the board, on the licensure examination of the Federation of State Medical Boards of the United States, Inc. (FLEX), on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), or on the examination of the National Board of Medical Examiners, or on a combination thereof, and on or after January 1, 2000, has obtained a passing score on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE); and
  • Has submitted evidence of the active licensed practice of medicine in another jurisdiction, for at least 2 of the immediately preceding 4 years, or evidence of successful completion of either a board-approved postgraduate training program within 2 years preceding filing of an application or a board-approved clinical competency examination within the year preceding the filing of an application for licensure.

The board may require an applicant for licensure by endorsement to take and pass the appropriate licensure examination prior to certifying the applicant as eligible for licensure.  The department and the board shall ensure that applicants for licensure by endorsement meet applicable criteria in this chapter through an investigative process.  When the investigative process is not completed within the time set out in s. 120.60(1) and the department or board has reason to believe that the applicant does not meet the criteria, the State Surgeon General or the State Surgeon General’s designee may issue a 90-day licensure delay which shall be in writing and sufficient to notify the applicant of the reason for the delay.  The department shall not issue a license by endorsement to any applicant who is under investigation in any jurisdiction for an act or offense which would constitute a violation of this chapter until such time as the investigation is complete, at which time the provisions of s. 458.331 shall apply.

Furthermore, the department may not issue an unrestricted license to any individual who has committed any act or offense in any jurisdiction which would constitute the basis for disciplining a physician pursuant to s. 458.331.  When the board finds that an individual has committed an act or offense in any jurisdiction which would constitute the basis for disciplining a physician pursuant to s. 458.331, the board may enter an order imposing one or more of the terms set forth in subsection (7).

When the board determines that any applicant for licensure by endorsement has failed to meet, to the board’s satisfaction, each of the appropriate requirements set forth in this section, it may enter an order requiring one or more of the following terms:

(a) Refusal to certify to the department an application for licensure, certification, or registration;

(b) Certification to the department of an application for licensure, certification, or registration with restrictions on the scope of practice of the licensee; or

(c) Certification to the department of an application for licensure, certification, or registration with placement of the physician on probation for a period of time and subject to such conditions as the board may specify, including, but not limited to, requiring the physician to submit to treatment, attend continuing education courses, submit to reexamination, or work under the supervision of another physician.

Any physician who is licensed to practice in any other state, whose license is currently valid, and who pays an application fee of $ 300 may be issued a temporary certificate to practice in communities of Florida where there is a critical need for physicians.  A certificate may be issued to a physician who will be employed by a county health department, correctional facility, community health center funded by s. 329, s. 330, or s. 340 of the United States Public Health Services Act, or other entity that provides health care to indigents and that is approved by the State Health Officer[iv].

Pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 458.317, any person desiring to obtain a limited license shall:

1. Submit to the board, with an application and fee not to exceed $ 300, an affidavit stating that he or she has been licensed to practice medicine in any jurisdiction in the United States for at least 10 years and intends to practice only pursuant to the restrictions of a limited license granted pursuant to this section. However, a physician who is not fully retired in all jurisdictions may use a limited license only for noncompensated practice.  If the person applying for a limited license submits a notarized statement from the employing agency or institution stating that he or she will not receive compensation for any service involving the practice of medicine, the application fee and all licensure fees shall be waived. However, any person who receives a waiver of fees for a limited license shall pay such fees if the person receives compensation for the practice of medicine.

2. Meet the requirements in s. 458.311(1)(b)-(g) and (5).  If the applicant graduated from medical school prior to 1946, the board or its appropriate committee may accept military medical training or medical experience as a substitute for the approved 1-year residency requirement in s. 458.311(1)(f).

Nothing herein limits in any way any policy by the board, otherwise authorized by law, to grant licenses to physicians duly licensed in other states under conditions less restrictive than the requirements of this section.  Notwithstanding the other provisions of this section, the board may refuse to authorize a physician otherwise qualified to practice in the employ of any agency or institution otherwise qualified if the agency or institution has caused or permitted violations of the provisions of this chapter which it knew or should have known were occurring.

Any person holding an active license to practice medicine in the state may convert that license to a limited license for the purpose of providing volunteer, uncompensated care for low-income Floridians.  The applicant must submit a statement from the employing agency or institution stating that he or she will not receive compensation for any service involving the practice of medicine.  The application and all licensure fees, including neurological injury compensation assessments, shall be waived.

The following acts constitute grounds for denial of a license or disciplinary action, as specified in s. 456.072(2):

(a) Attempting to obtain, obtaining, or renewing a license to practice medicine by bribery, by fraudulent misrepresentations, or through an error of the department or the board.

(b) Having a license or the authority to practice medicine revoked, suspended, or otherwise acted against, including the denial of licensure, by the licensing authority of any jurisdiction, including its agencies or subdivisions.  The licensing authority’s acceptance of a physician’s relinquishment of a license, stipulation, consent order, or other settlement, offered in response to or in anticipation of the filing of administrative charges against the physician’s license, shall be construed as action against the physician’s license.

(c) Being convicted or found guilty of, or entering a plea of nolo contendere to, regardless of adjudication, a crime in any jurisdiction which directly relates to the practice of medicine or to the ability to practice medicine.

(d) False, deceptive, or misleading advertising.

(e) Failing to report to the department any person who the licensee knows is in violation of this chapter or of the rules of the department or the board.  A treatment provider approved pursuant to s. 456.076 shall provide the department or consultant with information in accordance with the requirements of s. 456.076(3), (4), (5), and (6).

(f) Aiding, assisting, procuring, or advising any unlicensed person to practice medicine contrary to this chapter or to a rule of the department or the board.

(g) Failing to perform any statutory or legal obligation placed upon a licensed physician.

(h) 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, willfully impeding or obstructing such filing or inducing another person to do so.  Such reports or records shall include only those which are signed in the capacity as a licensed physician.

(i) Paying or receiving any commission, bonus, kickback, or rebate, or engaging in any split-fee arrangement in any form whatsoever with a physician, organization, agency, or person, either directly or indirectly, for patients referred to providers of health care goods and services, including, but not limited to, hospitals, nursing homes, clinical laboratories, ambulatory surgical centers, or pharmacies.  The provisions of this paragraph shall not be construed to prevent a physician from receiving a fee for professional consultation services.

(j) Exercising influence within a patient-physician relationship for purposes of engaging a patient in sexual activity.  A patient shall be presumed to be incapable of giving free, full, and informed consent to sexual activity with his or her physician.

(k) Making deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations in or related to the practice of medicine or employing a trick or scheme in the practice of medicine.

(l) Soliciting patients, either personally or through an agent, through the use of fraud, intimidation, undue influence, or a form of overreaching or vexatious conduct.  A solicitation is any communication which directly or implicitly requests an immediate oral response from the recipient.

(m) Failing to keep legible, as defined by department rule in consultation with the board, medical records that identify the licensed physician or the physician extender and supervising physician by name and professional title who is or are responsible for rendering, ordering, supervising, or billing for each diagnostic or treatment procedure and that justify the course of treatment of the patient, including, but not limited to, patient histories; examination results; test results; records of drugs prescribed, dispensed, or administered; and reports of consultations and hospitalizations.

(n) Exercising influence on the patient or client in such a manner as to exploit the patient or client for financial gain of the licensee or of a third party, which shall include, but not be limited to, the promoting or selling of services, goods, appliances, or drugs.

(o) Performing professional services which have not been duly authorized by the patient or client, or his or her legal representative, except as provided in s. 743.064, s. 766.103, or s. 768.13.

(p) Prescribing, dispensing, administering, mixing, or otherwise preparing a legend drug, including any controlled substance, other than in the course of the physician’s professional practice.  For the purposes of this paragraph, it shall be legally presumed that prescribing, dispensing, administering, mixing, or otherwise preparing legend drugs, including all controlled substances, inappropriately or in excessive or inappropriate quantities is not in the best interest of the patient and is not in the course of the physician’s professional practice, without regard to his or her intent.

(q) Prescribing, dispensing, or administering any medicinal drug appearing on any schedule set forth in chapter 893 by the physician to himself or herself, except one prescribed, dispensed, or administered to the physician by another practitioner authorized to prescribe, dispense, or administer medicinal drugs.

(r) Being unable to practice medicine 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 medicine 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 such order, the department’s order directing such examination may be enforced by filing a petition for enforcement in the circuit court where the licensee resides or does business. The licensee against whom the petition is filed may not be named or identified by initials in any public court records or documents, and the proceedings shall be closed to the public.  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 medicine with reasonable skill and safety to patients.  A person found by the board to have committed repeated medical malpractice based on s. 456.50 may not be licensed or continue to be licensed by this state to provide health care services as a medical doctor in this state.

(s) Performing any procedure or prescribing any therapy which, by the prevailing standards of medical practice in the community, would constitute experimentation on a human subject, without first obtaining full, informed, and written consent.

(t) Practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law or accepting and performing professional responsibilities which the licensee knows or has reason to know that he or she is not competent to perform.  The board may establish by rule standards of practice and standards of care for particular practice settings, including, but not limited to, education and training, equipment and supplies, medications including anesthetics, assistance of and delegation to other personnel, transfer agreements, sterilization, records, performance of complex or multiple procedures, informed consent, and policy and procedure manuals.

(u) Delegating professional responsibilities to a person when the licensee delegating such responsibilities knows or has reason to know that such person is not qualified by training, experience, or licensure to perform them.

(v) Violating a lawful order of the board or department previously entered in a disciplinary hearing or failing to comply with a lawfully issued subpoena of the department.

(w) Conspiring with another licensee or with any other person to commit an act, or committing an act, which would tend to coerce, intimidate, or preclude another licensee from lawfully advertising his or her services.

(x) Procuring, or aiding or abetting in the procuring of, an unlawful termination of pregnancy.

The board may enter an order denying licensure or imposing any of the penalties in s. 456.072(2) against any applicant for licensure or licensee who is found guilty of violating any provision of subsection (1) of this section or who is found guilty of violating any provision of s. 456.072(1).  In determining what action is appropriate, the 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 physician. All costs associated with compliance with orders issued under this subsection are the obligation of the physician.  In any administrative action against a physician which does not involve revocation or suspension of license, the division shall have the burden, by the greater weight of the evidence, to establish the existence of grounds for disciplinary action.  The division shall establish grounds for revocation or suspension of license by clear and convincing evidence.  The board shall not reinstate the license of a physician, or cause a license to be issued to a person it deems or has deemed unqualified, until such time as it is satisfied that he or she has complied with all the terms and conditions set forth in the final order and that such person is capable of safely engaging in the practice of medicine.  However, the board may not issue a license to, or reinstate the license of, any medical doctor found by the board to have committed repeated medical malpractice based on s. 456.50, regardless of the extent to which the licensee or prospective licensee has complied with all terms and conditions set forth in the final order and is capable of safely engaging in the practice of medicine.

The board shall by rule establish guidelines for the disposition of disciplinary cases involving specific types of violations.  Such guidelines may include minimum and maximum fines, periods of supervision or probation, or conditions of probation or reissuance of a license. “Gross medical malpractice,” “repeated medical malpractice,” and “medical malpractice,” under paragraph (1)(t) shall each be considered distinct types of violations requiring specific individual guidelines.

Upon the department’s receipt from the Agency for Health Care Administration pursuant to s. 395.0197 of the name of a physician whose conduct may constitute grounds for disciplinary action by the department, the department shall investigate the occurrences upon which the report was based and determine if action by the department against the physician is warranted.  If any physician regulated by the Division of Medical Quality Assurance is guilty of such unprofessional conduct, negligence, or mental or physical incapacity or impairment that the division determines that the physician is unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety and presents a danger to patients, the division shall be authorized to maintain an action in circuit court enjoining such physician from providing medical services to the public until the physician demonstrates the ability to practice with reasonable skill and safety and without danger to patients.

When an investigation of a physician is undertaken, the department shall promptly furnish to the physician or the physician’s attorney a copy of the complaint or document which resulted in the initiation of the investigation.  The physician may submit a written response to the information contained in the complaint or document which resulted in the initiation of the investigation within 45 days after service to the physician of the complaint or document.  The physician’s written response shall be considered by the probable cause panel[v].

[i] Fla. Stat. § 458.301.

[ii]Fla. Stat. § 458.310.

[iii]Fla. Stat. § 458.3115.

[iv] Fla. Stat. § 458.315.

[v] Fla. Stat. § 458.331.


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