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Sammis Law Firm

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 medical reviews must comply with Florida Statutes, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), and Department policies and procedures.

You also have the right to demand, in writing, an administrative hearing to contest that decision but you must act quickly. Pursuant to Florida Administrative Code 15A-5.0022(1), Section 322.222, F.S., and Rule 15A-1.0195, F.A.C., you must file a written request to demand an Administrative Hearing concerning the decision of the department to deny a driving privilege, or to revoke, suspend, or cancel a driver license.

A sample of the form needed to request an administrative hearing to contest the medical suspension or revocation is attached below. Keep in mind any such written request must be received by the Medical Review Section in Tallahassee, FL, by the 30th day after the order or written decision was issued. You should send in the request ahead of that 30 day deadline by U.S. mail return receipt requested so that you can provide it was provided to the department within that 30 day deadline.

To simplify the process, it has been suggested that the DHSMV should remove BAR medical investigations and instead request physician reports.

Attorney for Medical Review Program in Tampa, FL

The procedures for protecting your Florida driver’s license during such a proceeding are extremely complicated. If you need an attorney to help you submit the proper paperwork and deal with the bureaucrats in the Medical Review Program, then contact an experienced attorney at the Sammis Law Firm.

We typically charge a flat rate of $1,500 in attorney fees to help you through this process. If you would like to discuss the case, please send a copy of any correspondence that you have received to our assistant tammy@sammislawfirm.com. Then contact us to speak to an attorney after we have received a copy of the paperwork.

After we are retained, we will send the Medical Disability Program Specialist with the DHSMV a copy of our entry of appearance and a medical release form. We can also help you request a continuance to complete all of the tasks requested if additional time is needed.

Call (813) 250-0500.


Statistics on Florida’s Medical Review Suspensions and Revocations

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.

In 2017 BAR conducted 807 medical investigations, which is 13% of the 6,032 medical reports received by the DHSMV Medical Section. BAR filtered out 103 cases, which is 1.7% of the Medical Section workload that year. Of the medical investigations conducted by BAR, 774 nevertheless resulted in the Medical Section requesting a physician report from the driver.

The Medical Section requests a physician report as the initial step in an evaluation except if the case is sent to BAR for a medical investigation. The BAR manual restricts the usage of telephonic hearings for medical investigations at the Bureau of Administrative Reviews Office in Tampa, FL.


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
  • dementia.

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 submits 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’s 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 review.

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 that 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.


DHSMV’s Medical Release Form

The Medical Disability Program Specialist might request that you complete a DHSMV medical release form, HSMV 72360 (rev 06/11), so that the specialist can speak with your attorney about the facts of the case.

DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES

BUREAU OF MOTORIST COMPLIANCE

MEDICAL REVIEW SECTION

Medical Release Form

I, __________________________hereby give the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles the authority to release my medical records to:

Name:     _____________________________

Address: _____________________________

­­­­­­­­­­­­                                      _____________________________

Right to revoke: I understand that I have a right to revoke this authorization and its content. I understand that if I revoke this authorization I must submit a written request to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Medical Review Section. I understand that the revocation will not apply to information that has already been released in response to this authorization. I understand that unless otherwise revoked, this authorization will expire 30 days from this date.

I acknowledge I have read and understand this authorization and its content. I understand that this is a single disclosure. I understand that any disclosure of information carries with it the potential for an unauthorized redisclosure and the information may not be protected by federal and state confidentiality laws. See §119.0712(2), F.S. and §322.125 F.S. If I have any questions about disclosure of my health information, I can contact the Medical Review Section at medical@flhsmv.gov or (850) 617-3814.

Dated this _______ day of _____________________ 20_____,

Driver’s Signature ___________________________________

Driver License Number: ______________________________

Date of Birth: _________________


Demand an Administrative Hearing after a DHSMV Decision

Pursuant to Florida Administrative Code 15A-5.0022(1), I hereby file this written request to demand an Administrative Hearing concerning the decision of the department to deny a driving privilege, or to revoke, suspend, or cancel a driver license. I have attached the written decision issued on [insert date] as Exhibit “A.”

This written request for an administrative hearing is issued pursuant to Section 322.222, F.S., and Rule 15A-1.0195, F.A.C. I also hereby reserve my right to appeal any adverse decision to the circuit court pursuant to Section 322.31, F.S. 

This written request will be sent via certified mail return receipt requested:

<address>Bureau of Motorist Compliance

Medical Review section

2900 Apalachee Parkway

Neil Kirkman Building, MS 86

Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0500<address>

In support of this written request, I hereby show the following:

  1. My name is ______.
  2. My date of birth is ______.
  3. My driver license number is _________
  4. My address is ______________.
  5. My email address is _________.
  6. My daytime telephone number is ________________.
  7. I have attached a copy of the written decision oro Order of License Revocation, Suspension, or Cancellation at issue as Exhibit “A.”

Respectfully submitted,

________________________

[[Insert name and signature of person filing the request]]

Deadline to Request an Administrative Hearing with the Medical Review Section

Pursuant to 15A-5.0022(2)(a), a request for a hearing must be filed within 30 days after receipt of written notice of the Department’s decision.  If you receive a written notice of the Department’s decision and fails to timely file a request for a hearing waives the right to request a hearing on such matters.

For good cause shown, the Department may grant an extension of time for filing a request for a hearing. A request for an extension of time must be filed with the Medical Review Section prior to the deadline for filing a request for hearing. For purposes of this section, good cause means extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the applicant or licensed driver or his or her attorney that prevented the party from filing a timely request for a hearing.

A timely request for extension of time will toll the running of the time period for filing a request for a hearing until such time as the request for extension of time is acted upon. 

In construing this rule, filing means received by the Medical Review Section or the panel during normal business hours or by the panel during a hearing. 

Any document received by the Medical Review Section or the panel before 5:00 p.m. will be filed as of that day. Any document received after 5:00 p.m. will be filed as of 8:00 a.m. on the next regular business day.

Pursuant to 15A-5.0022(5)(a), any party who appears at a hearing has the right, at his or her own expense, to be represented by an attorney. Attorney means a member of The Florida Bar.

If the attorney files a request for a hearing or files any document with the Medical Review Section or the panel will be deemed to have entered an appearance and will be counsel of record in the proceeding. Any attorney representing the State of Florida will file a notice of appearance. Attorneys should file a notice of appearance as soon as possible.

Pursuant to 15A-5.0022(6), hearings will be held before a panel consisting of three or more persons and must include at least one Board member, one attorney from the Department’s Office of General Counsel, and one employee of the Department’s Division of Motorist Services. 

Pursuant to 15A-5.0022(7), F.A.C., unless otherwise allowed by law or by agreement of the parties, a hearing under this rule must be held within 45 days of receipt of a timely request for hearing by the Medical Review Section.

Under 15A-5.0022(8), F.A.C., unless otherwise agreed by the parties, all hearings will be held in Tallahassee at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 2900 Apalachee Parkway, Neil Kirkman Building, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0500. Parties may appear at a hearing by means of video teleconference or by telephone.

The panel chair will set the time and place for all hearings and will serve written notice of any hearing on all parties at their address of record. The parties must be served notice at least 14 days prior to the hearing unless otherwise agreed by the parties or unless otherwise provided by law. Service may be made by regular United States mail or by personal delivery.

Under 15A-5.0022(10)(a), F.A.C., upon the written request of any party, the panel chair will issue a subpoena for the attendance of a witness at the hearing. Such requests may be submitted ex parte to the panel for issuance.


This article was last updated on Thursday, May 21, 2020.

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