Exemption from Disqualification
Licensees employed or seeking employment with a health care facility, licensed by the Agency for Health Care Administration, who have been found guilty, regardless of adjudication, or entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to any of the criminal offenses listed in Sections 435.03(2), 435.04(2), and 408.809, Florida Statutes, must apply for an exemption through the Department of Health.
Please note: The Florida Department of Health can only issue exemptions to individuals licensed with our agency. If you are not licensed with the Florida Department of Health, please see the information listed under the section titled “Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA)”
A Livescan Level II background screening must be completed prior to receiving an exemption. For information on obtaining Livescan background screenings, please click on the Locate A Provider tab.
If you have completed a Livescan Level II background screening, with the Agency for Health Care Administration, within the last three (3) months, you may not be required to be rescreened. Please see the Exemption Application for additional information.
AHCA reviews applications and makes decisions for Exemptions for unlicensed personnel working for a health care provider (i.e. facility owner, administrator or chief financial officer, staff person that is uncertified or unlicensed).
In accordance with section 435.07, Florida Statutes, persons disqualified from employment may be granted an exemption from disqualification. The granting of an exemption does not change an individual’s criminal history. It only provides eligibility for employment in a health care setting. An individual seeking an exemption must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that an exemption from disqualification should be granted. The application will be reviewed and a decision made once all relevant documentation has been received.
A person is not eligible to apply for an Exemption from Disqualification until:
- Persons designated as sexual predators, sexual offenders or career offenders are not eligible for an Exemption from Disqualification.
- The applicant for the exemption has completed or been lawfully released from confinement, supervision or nonmonetary condition imposed by the court for all misdemeanors prohibited under any of the statutes cited in this chapter or under similar statutes of other jurisdictions.
- At least 3 years have elapsed since the applicant for exemption has completed or been lawfully released from confinement, supervision or nonmonetary condition imposed by the court for all disqualifying felonies.
- The applicant has paid the court-ordered amount in full for any fee, fine, fund, lien, civil judgment, application, cost of prosecution, trust or restitution as part of the judgment and sentence for any disqualifying felony or misdemeanor.
You must hold a valid, active license to be eligible for an exemption.
If you do not have a license you must apply for an exemption with the Agency for Health Care Administration.
An exemption cannot be issued to any person who is a:
- Sexual predator as designated pursuant to s. 775.21;
- Career offender pursuant to s. 775.261; or
- Sexual offender pursuant to s. 943.0435, unless the requirement to register as a sexual offender has been removed pursuant to s. 943.04354
If you have not previously reported these offenses to the Board your file will be forwarded to our Consumer Service office and your exemption application may be placed on hold. All investigations are confidential and staff will not be able to provide you with any further information until you are contacted by an investigator. If you need to report the offense, submit a detailed letter regarding the offense(s) or complete a complaint form with the Consumer Services Unit and mail to: 4050 Cypress Way, Bin C-75, Tallahassee, FL 32399.
Please make copies of all documents for your records.
Chapter 435.07(3), F.S states, ‘…the employee must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the employee should not be disqualified from employment. Employees seeking an exemption have the burden of setting forth sufficient evidence of rehabilitation, including, but not limited to, the circumstances surrounding the criminal incident for which an exemption is sought, the time period that has elapsed since the incident, the nature of the harm caused to the victim, and the history of the employee since the incident, or any other evidence or circumstances indicating that the employee will not present a danger if continued employment is allowed…”.
All licensees with an offense listed in chapter 408.809 Florida Statutes must also apply for an exemption.
If you have a Felony Disqualifying Offense, and you have not completed or been lawfully released from confinement, supervision, or non-monetary conditions imposed by the court for the disqualifying felony in the last 3 years, you will not qualify for an exemption. All disqualifying offenses (felonies and misdemeanors) that have adjudication withheld will be handled the same as a conviction for the purposes of this exemption request.
In order to qualify for an exemption, you must have paid any amount for any fee, fine, fund, lien, civil judgment, application, cost of prosecution, trust, or restitution as part of the judgement and sentence for any disqualifying felony or misdemeanor in full.
All requested information must be submitted before a determination can be made. The appropriate Board within the Department of Health will make notification when a decision related to the request is made.
A: The Florida Department of Health reviews applications and makes decisions for Licensed and certified health care professionals, as long as the person is working in the scope of his or her license or certification (for example: CNA, LPN, RN).
- If you are unsure if you require an exemption, please contact AHCA at 850-412-4503 to verify that you have been disqualified from employment.
A: AHCA reviews applications and makes decisions on Exemptions for:
- Unlicensed personnel working for a health care provider
- Facility owners, administrators or Chief Financial Officers
- Medicaid Provider Enrollment
- Medicaid Managed Care Health Plan
This may include licensed personnel not working within the scope of their license (for example: a CNA working as a HHA)
For more information regarding the exemption process with AHCA, visit https://ahca.myflorida.com/MCHQ/Central_Services/Background_Screening/exemption.shtml, or call 850-412-4503.
A: There is no application fee for an Exemption Application.
A: The Department has 30 days to make a decision once all required or relevant documentation has been received deeming the application complete.
A: AHCA only requires individuals that were granted under a level 1 screening (prior to July 01, 2010) to go through the exemption process again. The other required times are: If an individual obtains a new potentially disqualifying charge or a disqualifying charge.
A: No, for example: If you hold a Nursing and Massage Therapist license you will have to request an exemption for each license.
A: Not necessarily, your livescan results must have been completed within the last three (3) months from receiving the exemption application.
- If you have already completed a Level II screening with AHCA within the last three (3) months you are not required to complete Livescan fingerprints. Please note: In the event we cannot verify your screening with AHCA, you will be required to complete the Livescan requirement.
A: No, documents do not need to be certified; however, you will need to submit:
- AHCA’s letter of Disqualification – You must submit your letter of disqualification from AHCA.
- Court Sentencing/Disposition(s) – Actual documentation from the County Clerk of Courts in the jurisdiction (state/county) in which the offense(s) occurred, including disposition/final outcome. You may be able to obtain this online through the Clerk of Court website. Note: Have all alias/maiden names included in the search.
- Arrest Report(s) – A copy of the arrest report for each offense. If you are unable to obtain a copy from the Clerk of Court, you can request a copy from the arresting agency.
- Probation/Parole or PTI Letter(s) – You must submit proof of completion of all court ordered probation/parole or PTI (Pre-trial Intervention). This documentation must be issued by the probation office and must include the start date and termination date of your probation or supervised release.
- Receipt of Payment – Proof that all fee, fine, fund, lien, civil judgment, application, cost of prosecution, trust, or restitution as part of the judgment and sentence for any disqualifying felony or misdemeanor are paid in full.
- Proof of Rehabilitation – You must submit proof of rehabilitation which may include letters from employer’s records of successful participation in a rehabilitation program(s), further education or training, special awards or recognition, or documentation that indicates you are not a danger to the safety or well-being of others.
- Recommendation Letters – You must submit three (3) current (written within the last year) letters of professional recommendation on official letterhead from employers, nursing program administrators, nursing instructors, health professionals, professional counselors, support group sponsors, parole or probation officers, or other individuals in positions of authority who are familiar with your past and present character.
A: As long as the documents are legible, you may:
- Scan and email all documents to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fax to 850-617-6290 or
- Mail to Florida Department of Health, 4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin BSU – 01, Tallahassee, FL 32399-3260
A: You must make an attempt to obtain this documentation from the Clerk of Courts office, probation office or arresting agency. Documentation from the Clerk of Court, Department of Corrections and/or the arresting agency must be provided on their letterhead indicating the document(s) are no longer available.
A: Rehabilitation includes successful completion of court-ordered treatment, counseling program, education, and training certificates; proof of participation in community activities; and special recognition or awards received. Rehabilitation can also be demonstrated by voluntary participation, as well.
A: One reference letter must be from a current or most recent employer on the employer’s letterhead. Other letters must be from individuals you have known for at least two years through contact at the workplace, community activities, education or training centers.
Individuals providing a Letter of Recommendation should include their name, address and telephone number for verification or possible interview. In addition, each letter of recommendation must be signed and dated within 6 months of your application submission.
A: A resubmission is like a new screening, but the applicant does not have to go to a LiveScan vendor to have their prints taken. The resubmission uses the person’s retained prints and resubmits them to obtain a new, up-to-date criminal history report. This provides a cost savings for applicants in the Clearinghouse that have had a lapse in employment greater than 90 days. Resubmissions are initiated through AHCA’s Background Screening website by an AHCA, Medicaid, or Managed Care provider.
A: Each agency makes their own decisions regarding exemptions. If you have received an exemption from another state agency you may submit a copy with your application.