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News & Press: FAPA

FAPA Emergency Hurricane Guidance

Monday, October 22, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Courtney Miller

FAPA Emergency Guidance -- Areas Affected by Hurricane Michael

By Corinne Mixon, Rutledge Ecenia, P.A., FAPA Lobbyist


Free/Volunteer Clinics —


Some PAs have contacted FAPA regarding their intention to volunteer with or assist in opening temporary volunteer clinics in areas affected by Hurricane Michael. The doctors and PAs operating these clinics have received requests from medical professionals licensed in other states to provide services in the areas affected by the storm. Rick Scott, Governor of the State of Florida, released an emergency declaration prior to Hurricane Michael’s landfall which permits out of state licensees to practice in impacted areas without obtaining a Florida license as long as they are providing medical services free of charge and under the guidance of the American Red Cross or the Department of Health.


FAPA has discussed the implications and parameters of this declaration with several stakeholders and offers the following informal guidance to protect you from liability:

  • Coordinate with the Department of Health and/or the American Red Cross;
  • Obtain authorization from the patient that he/she wants to be treated and mention your professional designation to the patient (I’m a PA, I’m an MD, etc.);
  • Document the patient’s medical history since access to past medical records may not be available;
  • Keep a detailed account of the patient interaction documenting as much as possible in the medical record.

Inability to access the prescription drug monitoring database —


House Bill 21, which passed during the 2018 Florida Legislative Session, provides strict guidelines for checking the prescription drug monitoring database (E-FORSCE) prior to prescribing or dispensing a controlled substance to a person that is 16 years of age or older. The bill provides an exception to the requirement to consult the database when E-FORSCE is malfunctioning or cannot be accessed because of a temporary technological or electrical failure. If the prescriber is unable to access or properly utilize E-FORSCE, he or she must document the reason why he cannot use the database in the patient’s medical record and must not prescribe or dispense more than a 3-day supply of a controlled substance to the patient.


In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, it’s likely that many prescribers are unable to access the database. If the exception applies, make sure to document the system malfunction or inability to connect to E-FORSCE in each patient’s record.


Resources —


Governor’s Emergency Order Regarding Hurricane Matthew (see Section 8.)

Link to House Bill 21 (controlled substance and prescription database)

Florida’s Good Samaritan Law

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