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Overview of the Florida CARES Program

Program Description

The Florida Comprehensive Assessment and Remedial Education Services Program (Florida CARES) provides a specialty specific assessment of a physician’s medical knowledge, decision making process, patient communication skills and level of psychological functioning. It is designed to help organizations such as the Board of Medicine and hospital medical staff’s make decisions regarding whether a physician demonstrates the abilities and attributes to practice medicine in a safe and competent manner.

Referral Guidelines

A referral to Florida CARES program is appropriate in any situation where there is a legitimate question regarding the physician’s ability to practice medicine. In some cases a medical skill deficiency will be obvious and referral to Florida CARES program for an assessment is not warranted. In other cases it is uncertain whether the problem is an unfortunate incident or an indication of an underlying deficiency in medical knowledge or clinical decision making skills. In these situations a Florida CARES evaluation can be very useful. While there are a myriad of situations where a Florida CARES referral would be of value, some of the more common circumstances include where a physician is

  • Returning to practice after treatment for chemical dependency;
  • Returning to practice after an extended leave of absence;
  • Diagnosed with a physical or mental illness that could affect his or her ability to practice medicine;
  • The subject of a patient care or malpractice complaint before the Board in which the knowledge or judgment of the physician is in question.