Medical Review Program
The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is authorized in Florida Statute Section 322.221 to require a licensed driver to submit medical reports to the Department’s Medical Advisory Board if the DSHMV has reason to believe that the licensed driver is physically or mentally unqualified to operate a motor vehicle.
The DHSMV established Florida’s Medical Review Program to evaluate a driver’s mental and physical ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. The Medical Review Program reviews approximately 12,000 new cases each year. Approximately 100,000 active medical review cases are pending right now. The reviews must comply with Florida Statutes, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), and Department policies and procedures.
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Purpose of Florida’s Medical Review Program
The DHSMV is authorized under Section 322.221, F.S., to require a licensed driver to submit medical reports regarding their physical or mental condition to the Department’s Medical Advisory Board if the Department has reason to believe that the licensed driver is physically or mentally unqualified to operate a motor vehicle.
The DHSMV established the Medical Review Program to conduct medical reviews on drivers who may be unsafe to drive due to a mental or physical condition, including:
- seizure disorders;
- blackouts or loss of consciousness;
- drug or alcohol addiction;
- progressive neurological disorders;
- psychiatric disorders;
- cognitive impairments;
- vision impairments; or
The Medical Review Program includes medical review specialists, a Medical Advisory Board (the Board) comprised of 11 voluntary members, and a Department employed Board chairman. All Board members as well as the Board chairman are licensed doctors.
The Medical Review Program reviews approximately 12,000 new cases each year and there are approximately 100,000 active medical cases. The medical review section uses Expert, an electronic case management system, to track interaction with citizens who are under medical review and maintains medical reports and other documentation in paper files (charts).
Section 322.126, F.S., authorizes any physician, person, or agency, including; courts, doctors, law enforcement officers, relatives, concerned citizens, and driver license examiner personnel, having knowledge of any licensed driver or applicant’s mental or physical disability to drive, to report such knowledge to the Department. Reports from third-party sources, such as a family member or concerned citizen, are forwarded to the Department’s Bureau of Administrative Reviews to determine the credibility of the report before further action is taken.
Information from a professional source, such as a law enforcement officer or a physician, is accepted without investigation. Once a report is determined credible, the Department requests that the licensed driver submit a physician completed medical report regarding their physical or mental condition to the Medical Review Section within 45 days.
Medical reports received by the Department are assigned to a medical specialist based on the driver’s last name. Medical specialists consider all information at their disposal, make an appropriate recommendation, and forward the report and their recommendation to the Board for review.
After the Board has reviewed the case it will provide the Department with a recommended course of action based on the physician completed medical report and the driver’s ability to drive safely. Based on the Board’s recommendation, the Department will do one of the following:
- suspend or revoke the driver license;
- permit the driver to retain their license; or
- permit the driver to retain their license subject to a re-examination or periodic follow-up reviews.
The Department is supposed to immediately notify the driver of the intended action.
Section 322.221(3), F.S., states upon the conclusion of an examination to determine competence and driving ability, the Department shall take action as may be appropriate and may suspend or revoke the license of such person. The Drivers Operations Manual requires the Medical Review Section to revoke the driving privilege when the driver’s medical condition makes it unsafe for them to drive. The Medical Review Operations Manual states if the Board recommends denial of the driving privilege, the Department will immediately notify the driver of any intended agency action under Chapter 120, F.S.
Revocation for Re-Examination
Section 322.221(3), F.S., states refusal or neglect of the licensed driver to submit to a re-examination to determine competence and driving ability shall be ground for suspension or revocation of his or her license.
Chapter 15A-1.017(3), F.A.C., for re-examinations states all drivers determined by the Department to require a re-examination as provided in Section 322.221, F.S., shall be notified by the Department at least 5 days prior to the date of the required examination. The license of any driver failing to be re-examined shall be automatically suspended and shall not be reinstated except as provided in subsection (1) of this section.
Failure to Submit Requested Medical Information
Section 322.221(3), F.S., states refusal or neglect of the licensed driver to submit to an examination or re-examination to determine competence and driving ability shall be ground for suspension or revocation of his or her license.
The Division of Motorist Services Florida Examiner’s Manual, Sanctions/Revocations section, states drivers failing to submit the medical report in the required time period will result in a revocation of their license for Failure to Submit a Medical Report. The Medical Review Operations Manual requires the medical report to be completed by a physician of the driver’s choice and returned to the Department by the physician within 45 days.
Form letters mailed to licensed drivers expressing concerns about their ability to drive safely because of a potential medical condition contain a requirement for the driver to submit requested medical information within 45 days from the date of the letter and failure to provide the requested information will result in the revocation of the driver’s license.
Chapter 15A-5.002(2), F.A.C., requires the Department render a decision on licensure within 90 days following receipt of the affected driver’s medical report. Medical review staff indicated cases are to be submitted to the Board within 30 days of receiving the medical information to ensure the Board has sufficient time to review the case.
Section 322.126(3), F.S., states reports of disability to the Department are confidential and exempt from the provisions of Section 119.07 (1), F.S., and shall be used solely for the purpose of determining the qualifications of any person to operate a motor vehicle on the highways of this state.
Section 322.125(4), F.S., states reports received or made by the Board or its members for the purpose of assisting the Department in determining whether a person is qualified to be licensed are for the confidential use of the Board or the Department and may not be divulged to any person except the licensed driver or applicant or used as evidence in any trial and are exempt from the provisions of Section 119.07(1), F.S.
The Medical Review Operations Manual includes instructions for adding a medical restriction to a driver’s driving record in the process for screening and sending the initial letter to the driver. Standard practice is to place a medical restriction on the record of drivers who are under medical review to alert driver license examiners not to renew or issue a license to those particular drivers. Upon the Department and the Board’s decision, those drivers approved with no follow-ups should have medical restrictions removed.
Medical Advisory Board
Chapter 15A-5.002(2), F.A.C., states all vision and neurological cases shall be submitted directly to the appropriate vision or neurology specialists without initial review by the chairman. If the chairman recommends withdrawal or denial of licensure or if he determines that the case does not fall clearly within these guidelines, the medical reports shall be submitted to a member of the Board in the medical discipline covering the disability of the affected driver. This member shall have the primary responsibility for recommendation to the Department.
This article was last updated on Tuesday, September 4, 2018.