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State Surgeon General Announces Emergency Action Process Improvement Efforts (posted: 08/1/11)
Source: Florida Department of Health
Contact: Jennifer Hirst, DOH Office of Communications
- Streamlining procedures help expedite issuing emergency actions -
TALLAHASSEE – Today, State Surgeon General Dr. Frank Farmer announced the results of a Florida Department of Health (DOH) workgroup tasked to review the current emergency action process. The emergency action process takes place when a licensed practitioner poses an immediate and serious threat to the public’s health and safety. The workgroup made a number of substantial process improvement recommendations to reduce the amount of time it takes for DOH to investigate and issue an emergency action (suspension or restriction), as defined in Florida Statute 120.60(6).
“The Department of Health is projecting considerable time savings in their new emergency action process by streamlining responsibilities,” stated Florida Governor Rick Scott. “This new process supports my vision for Florida agencies and businesses. Streamlining and reorganizing procedures are the key to returning state government to its core functions.”
As part of the findings, DOH’s Division of Medical Quality Assurance (MQA) prosecution services unit established a special emergency action unit and made a series of business process changes. Additionally, the Priority 1 complaint definitions were redefined to better focus investigative and prosecutorial resources on complaints that pose an immediate or serious threat to the health, safety and welfare of the public.
After a thorough mapping of how DOH was processing emergency actions, the workgroup established a series of recommendations, many of which involved streamlining tasks such as:
Dividing Priority 1 cases into three categories.
Designating an analyst to triage and prioritize complaints upon receipt.
Sending case information out to field investigators simultaneously when they are assigned to a prosecutor.
Involving law enforcement and obtaining expert witnesses sooner in the process when appropriate.
“It is my duty to the residents of this state to ensure practitioners are held accountable for the decisions they make,” stated State Surgeon General Dr. Frank Farmer. “The division has been diligently working on the improvement process; many of the findings and recommendations have already been implemented, yielding impressive results.”
The new processing goals include:
expediting an emergency order in 19 days on cases that do not require a supplemental investigation, expert witness or mental or physical examination (a time savings of 97 days); and
expediting an emergency order in 29 days for cases requiring a supplemental investigation, expert witness review or mental or physical examination (a time savings of 223 days).
There are a total of 208 cases in which emergency has been taken this year from January 1 - July 26, compared to 178 in the same period last year. In addition, from June to July 2011, of those emergency actions taken this year, 37 were issued in 30 days or less as compared to only fourteen issued in 30 days or less last year during the same time period.
According to Lucy Gee, Director of Medical Quality Assurance,, “These results are encouraging and demonstrate a significant increase in efficiency. We will continue to closely monitor our results to insure we are achieving the desired and expected outcomes.”
To learn more about the Florida Department of Health’s complaint process visit the website at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/mqa/enforcement/enforce_complaint.html.
Page last updated: 08/1/11