Florida Healthcare Practitioners Seek Guidance on New Pelvic Exam Law

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As highlighted in Holland & Knight's June 30 article, "Scope of Practice and Reproductive Health Changes Coming to Florida," the new pelvic exam law (SB 698) went into effect on July 1, 2020. The language requiring written consent before pelvic exams has already created uncertainty for physicians and nurses, which is why the Florida Medical Association (FMA) and the Florida Nurses Association (FNA) filed petitions for declaratory judgment with the Florida Board of Medicine and Florida Board of Nursing, respectively.

The FMA, in its petition, requested a declaratory statement seeking clarification regarding the following:

  • that the law does not apply to males
  • that the law does not apply to surgical procedures involving organs such as the vulva, vagina, ovaries, uterus and rectum
  • that the law does not apply to insertion of catheters or cleaning of the pelvic area during a diaper change
  • that the law does not apply to visual exams of the pelvic area
  • that written consent for an initial pelvic exam is sufficient for any additional pelvic exams needed during treatment

The Board of Medicine has a meeting scheduled for Aug. 7, and this issue is expected to be considered.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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