Overview

This category includes businesses providing health care and social assistance. The services provided by businesses in this category are delivered by trained professionals. All industries in the category share the labor inputs of health practitioners or social workers with the requisite expertise. This category includes hospitals and health care clinics, and the business establishments of health practitioners such as doctors, dentists, marriage and family therapists, opticians, optometrists, orthotists, electrologists, dieticians, nutritionists, prosthetists and psychologists.

Business types included in this category:
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals

    This industry comprises establishments known and licensed as general medical and surgical hospitals primarily engaged in providing diagnostic and medical treatment (both surgical and nonsurgical) to inpatients with any of a wide variety of medical conditions. These establishments maintain inpatient beds and provide patients with food services that meet their nutritional requirements. These hospitals have an organized staff of physicians and other medical staff to provide patient care services. These establishments usually provide other services, such as outpatient services, anatomical pathology services, diagnostic X-ray services, clinical laboratory services, operating room services for a variety of procedures, and pharmacy services.

  • Individual and Family Services

    This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in providing nonresidential social assistance services for children and youth; provide for the welfare of children in such areas as adoption and foster care, drug prevention, life skills training, and positive social development; providing nonresidential social assistance services to improve the quality of life for the elderly, persons diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities, or persons with disabilities; provide for the welfare of individuals in such areas as day care, nonmedical home care or homemaker services, social activities, group support, and companionship; and providing nonresidential individual and family social assistance services.

  • Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories

    This industry comprises establishments known as medical and diagnostic laboratories primarily engaged in providing analytic or diagnostic services, including body fluid analysis and diagnostic imaging, generally to the medical profession or to the patient on referral from a health practitioner.

  • Offices of Dentists

    This industry comprises establishments of health practitioners having the degree of D.M.D. (Doctor of Dental Medicine), D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery), or D.D.Sc. (Doctor of Dental Science) primarily engaged in the independent practice of general or specialized dentistry or dental surgery. These practitioners operate private or group practices in their own offices (e.g., centers, clinics) or in the facilities of others, such as hospitals or HMO medical centers. They can provide either comprehensive preventive, cosmetic, or emergency care, or specialize in a single field of dentistry.

  • Offices of Other Health Practitioners

    This industry group comprises establishments of independent health practitioners (except physicians and dentists).

  • Offices of Physicians

    This industry comprises establishments of health practitioners having the degree of M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) or D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy) primarily engaged in the independent practice of general or specialized medicine (e.g., anesthesiology, oncology, ophthalmology, psychiatry) or surgery. These practitioners operate private or group practices in their own offices (e.g., centers, clinics) or in the facilities of others, such as hospitals or HMO medical centers.

  • Outpatient Care Centers

    This industry comprises establishments with medical staff primarily engaged in providing a range of family planning services on an outpatient basis, such as contraceptive services, genetic and prenatal counseling, voluntary sterilization, and therapeutic and medically induced termination of pregnancy; providing outpatient services related to the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders and alcohol and other substance abuse; providing general or specialized outpatient care (except family planning centers and outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers); physicians and other medical staff primarily engaged in providing a range of outpatient medical services to the health maintenance organization (HMO) subscribers with a focus generally on primary health care; medical staff primarily engaged in providing outpatient kidney or renal dialysis services; medical staff primarily engaged in providing general or specialized outpatient care (except family planning centers, outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers, HMO medical centers, kidney dialysis centers, and freestanding ambulatory surgical and emergency centers).

  • Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals

    This industry comprises establishments known and licensed as psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals primarily engaged in providing diagnostic, medical treatment, and monitoring services for inpatients who suffer from mental illness or substance abuse disorders. The treatment often requires an extended stay in the hospital. These establishments maintain inpatient beds and provide patients with food services that meet their nutritional requirements. They have an organized staff of physicians and other medical staff to provide patient care services. Psychiatric, psychological, and social work services are available at the facility. These hospitals usually provide other services, such as outpatient services, clinical laboratory services, diagnostic X-ray services, and electroencephalograph services.

General Considerations

Before starting a business, you probably will need to register with the Florida Department of State, the IRS and the Florida Department of Revenue. For businesses located outside of the State of Florida, evidence of registration with their Division of Corporations or Corporate Registry may be required.

After completing these steps, you may need to get a license from one of these Florida agencies:

  • Agency for Health Care Administration – health care clinics, residential treatment facilities, hospitals, drug-free workplace laboratories, clinical laboratories, multiphasic health testing centers, abortion clinics
  • Department of Business and Professional Regulation – health care clinic establishments that purchase prescription drugs
  • Department of Children and Family Services – license to provide substance abuse services
  • Department of Health – physicians, dentists, marriage and family therapists, opticians, optometrists, orthotists, electrology facilities, dieticians, nutritionists, prosthetist, psychologists, pain management, trauma and biomedical waste generators

Business owners in this category may also wish to explore assistance offered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Get Started

The following represents your interactive licensing checklist for this business category. Select the expandable blue bars below for more information on the specific licenses, permits or registrations that may be required to open your business. We have also included a printable version of the following checklist available at the top of this page for your convenience.

Register your business with the Department of State

Department of State

The Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations serves as the state’s central depository for a number of commercial activities. These activities include a variety of business entity filings, trade and service mark registrations, federal lien recordings, judgment lien filings, uniform commercial code financing statements, fictitious name registrations, notary commissions, and cable and video service franchises.

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Agency Introduction

The Department of State (DOS) is where you register your business. You can search and access filed information for corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, general partnerships, trademarks, fictitious name registrations and liens. Also, electronic filing and certification can be processed via the Department’s website.


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Apply for your Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Internal Revenue Service

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the nation’s tax collection agency and administers the Internal Revenue Code enacted by Congress.

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Agency Introduction

If you are required to report employment taxes or give tax statements to employees, you need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to send with all items you report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or Social Security Administration. If you do not intend to hire others, you may skip this step.


  • You may apply for an EIN online if your principal business is located in the United States or U.S. Territories. The person applying online must have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number (SSN, ITIN, EIN). You are limited to one EIN per responsible party per day.

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Register your business with the Department of Revenue

Department of Revenue

The Florida Department of Revenue administers three programs: general tax administration, property tax oversight and child support. The general tax administration program works with Florida businesses that are required to register for, collect, report and remit the taxes and fees administered by the Department.

The Department also manages the State of Florida’s New Hire Reporting Center. Federal and state laws require employers to report newly hired, re-hired and temporary employees within 20 days of an employee’s start date. This information is used to assist the Department’s child support program with child support orders. The employment information reported through the state’s New Hire Reporting Center is also used to detect and prevent public assistance and reemployment assistance fraud.

For additional information, please visit www.floridarevenue.com.

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Agency Introduction

A business owner or contractor may need to register for, collect, report and/or remit one or more of the taxes, fees and licenses administered by the Florida Department of Revenue. This is dependent on the structure of a business, the activities of a business, and whether the business hires employees. In addition, businesses must report newly hired, re-hired and temporary employees through the State of Florida’s New Hire Reporting program managed by the Florida Department of Revenue.


Reporting Employment Information

The Department manages the State of Florida’s New Hire Reporting Center. Federal and state laws require employers to report newly hired, re-hired and temporary employees within 20 days of an employee’s start date. The Department’s Child Support program utilizes employment information and employer cooperation to assist with child support order compliance. The reported employment information through the state’s New Hire Reporting Center is also used to detect and prevent public assistance and reemployment fraud.

  • Register your business to report newly hired, re-hired or temporary employees within 20 days of an employee’s start date.

    More info

  • The Department of Revenue’s Child Support Program works with employers in a variety of ways to ensure compliance with child support orders when applicable. Employers must work with the Child Support Program to respond to income withholding requests and to enroll children in medical insurance plans. Once registered with the New Hire Reporting Center, businesses will be able to access the Child Support Employer Services website to report employee termination and bonus or lump sum payments, request replacement copies of income withholding notices currently in place for employees, and use the Program’s online calculator to get pro-rated child support amounts for employees that have more than one child support case.

    More info

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Business Taxes, Fees and Surcharge

Businesses in this category may be required to register for, collect, report and/or remit one or more of the following taxes and fees.

  • Most corporations and certain entities conducting business, or who are incorporated in Florida, including out-of-state corporations, must file a Florida corporate income tax return.

    Register online or by submitting a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1), or by filing the Florida Corporate Income/Franchise Tax Return (Form F-1120).

    More info

  • Reemployment Assistance gives partial, temporary income to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own and are able and available for work. If your business will employ workers in Florida, you may register online or submit a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1).

    More info

  • Before conducting business, anyone selling, renting, leasing or repairing goods, providing certain services, charging admissions, or renting or leasing short-term lodging, housekeeping accommodations, or commercial real property must register with the Department of Revenue.

    Additionally, use tax is due on the use or consumption of taxable goods or services when sales tax was not paid at the time of purchase.

    Register online or by submitting a Florida Business Tax Application (Form DR-1).

    More info

  • This surtax, imposed by most Florida counties, applies to most transactions subject to sales or use tax. Businesses must also collect the applicable discretionary sales surtax from the purchaser at the time of sale, then report and remit it to the Department of Revenue.

    No additional registration is required.

    More info

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Apply for a license from the Agency for Health Care Administration

Agency for Health Care Administration

The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is the agency charged with licensing and regulating health care providers and health care businesses in Florida. Health care providers and other health care related professionals will need to coordinate with AHCA to obtain applicable licenses, registrations and/or permits.

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  • An abortion clinic is a licensed facility for the termination of pregnancy. This does not include a hospital or a physician’s office where abortions are performed but not used primarily for the performance of pregnancy terminations.

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  • All facilities, including physician offices, performing any clinical laboratory testing, are required to obtain a federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) certificate. Facilities performing any non-waived clinical laboratory testing or testing using a microscope must also obtain a state clinical laboratory license before the laboratory is authorized to perform testing.

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  • Florida’s CHMOs are dually regulated by AHCA and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). AHCA monitors quality of care-related issues and the OIR monitors financial and contractual issues. To become a commercially licensed HMO, an organization must receive a certificate of authority from OIR and a health care provider certificate from the AHCA.

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  • CSUs provide brief psychiatric intervention, primarily for low-income individuals with acute psychiatric conditions. Inpatient stays average 3 to 14 days, resulting in return to the patient’s own home, placement in a long-term mental health facility, or other living arrangements.

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  • Forensic toxicology laboratories are specialized laboratories licensed by the State of Florida for the purpose of performing drug testing for employers within the state.

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  • The Health Care Clinic Unit licenses entities where health care services are provided to individuals and which tender charges for reimbursement for such services, including a mobile clinic and a portable equipment provider.

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  • A hospital offers services more intensive than those required for room, board, personal services and general nursing care, and offers facilities and beds for use beyond 24 hours by individuals requiring medical, surgical, psychiatric, testing, diagnosis, treatment, or care for illness, injury, deformity, infirmity, abnormality, disease, or pregnancy. Also available are clinical laboratory services, diagnostic X-ray services, and treatment facilities for surgery, obstetrical care, or other definitive medical treatment of similar extent.

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  • Multiphasic Health Testing Centers are locations that collect specimens that are delivered to a licensed clinical laboratory for analysis and provide limited health testing services such as: height and weight determinations, blood pressure testing, limited audio and visual testing and electrocardiograms. The testing center may be a fixed or mobile facility.

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  • Prepaid Health Clinics (PHCs) are health plans that provide health care services to groups and individual subscribers who have made regular premium payments to the plan. These plans emphasize effective cost and quality controls. PHCs meet similar quality of care requirements as HMOs and must also be accredited.

    More info

  • Residential Treatment Centers for Children and Adolescents (RTC) are 24 hour residential programs, including therapeutic group homes, licensed by the Agency. These centers were designed to provide mental health treatment and services to children under the age of 18 who have been diagnosed as having mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders.

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  • Residential Treatment Facilities (RTF) are community-based residences for individuals exhibiting symptoms of mental illness who are in need of a structured living environment. Residents are limited to those 18 years of age or over. These facilities were designed to provide long-term residential care with an overlay or coordination of mental health services. A state license covers five levels of care that range from having nurses on staff for 24 hours a day to independent apartment residences that receive only weekly staff contact.

    More info

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Apply for a license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation

Department of Business and Professional Regulation

The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) is the agency charged with licensing and regulating businesses and professionals in Florida. A variety of businesses will need to coordinate with DBPR to obtain applicable licenses, registrations and/or permits.

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Agency Introduction

DBPR’s Division of Drugs, Devices and Cosmetics provides licensing for health care clinic establishments under this category.


Division of Drugs, Devices and Cosmetics

This division licenses, inspects and regulates manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers of drugs, devices and cosmetics. The division requires a health care clinic establishment permit for the purchase of prescription drugs by a place of business at location that provides health care or veterinary services.

  • Section 499.01(2)(r), Florida Statutes: Effective January 1, 2009, a health care clinic establishment permit is required for the purchase of a prescription drug by a place of business at one general physical location that provides health care or veterinary services, which is owned and operated by a business entity that has been issued a federal employer tax identification number. For the purpose of this paragraph, the term “qualifying practitioner” means a licensed health care practitioner defined in s. 456.001, or a veterinarian licensed under chapter 474, who is authorized under the appropriate practice act to prescribe and administer a prescription drug.

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Apply for a license from the Department of Children and Families

Department of Children and Family Services

Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF)  works in partnership with local communities to protect the vulnerable, promote strong and economically self-sufficient families  and advance personal and family recovery and resiliency.

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Agency Introduction

The Department of Children and Families, Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health is the designated state authority for substance abuse, mental health, and medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction.


Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health

The Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (SAMH) is responsible for licensure and regulation of all substance abuse providers in the state. If you are interested in pursuing licensure to provide treatment for substance use disorder, it is recommended that you review and become familiar with the Licensure materials on the Department’s website as a starting point. Applicants may also contact their local SAMH Office with further questions. *Please note: new opioid treatment programs may only be established in response to the Department’s determination of need.

  • Review the Licensure materials on the Department’s website beginning with the following:
    1) Chapter 65D-30, F.A.C., explains the requirements for Licensure and programs
    2) Application Checklist for New Applicants
    3) Complete Application for Licensure
    4) Submit completed application and supporting documentation to the local SAMH Office in which services will be provided.
    *A contact list of local offices is located at the bottom of the Licensure and Regulation webpage.

    More info

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Apply for a license from the Department of Health

Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.  The department’s goal is to be the healthiest state in the nation through innovation, collaboration, accountability, responsiveness and excellence.

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  • The Florida Office Surgery Registration and Inspection Program was established to register and set standards for allopathic and osteopathic physicians performing surgery in an office setting. All physicians who perform liposuction procedures where more than 1,000 cubic centimeters of supernatant fat is removed, Level II procedures lasting more than five minutes and all Level III surgical procedures in an office setting must register with the Department of Health. The Department will register the offices and inspect those that are not nationally accredited to ensure the safety of the people of Florida.

    More info

  • License to become an Electrology Facility.

    More info

  • License to become an Optical Establishment.

    More info

  • Pain-management clinics are those that advertise in any medium for any type of pain-management services or where in any month a majority of patients are prescribed certain controlled substances for the treatment of chronic non-malignant pain. The Department of Health will register and inspect the clinics to ensure the safety of the people in Florida.

    NOTE: If the Pain Management Clinic will not be entirely physician-owned, registration with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is required. The processing time for this registration can be lengthy; therefore AHCA registration should be completed before applying for the Pain Management Clinic Registration. This process can be started through the link below.

    More info

  • The department is working with trauma professionals, hospitals, and communities to develop a trauma system that is inclusive, sustainable, and integrated for safe, effective, and efficient care of injured patients in Florida.

    More info

  • Apply for a Biomedical Waste Permit

    More info

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Explore assistance from the Department of Economic Opportunity (optional)

Department of Economic Opportunity

In collaboration with our partners, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) assists the Governor in advancing Florida’s economy by championing the state’s economic development vision and by administering state and federal programs and initiatives to help visitors, citizens, businesses, and communities.

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Agency Introduction

The Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) utilizes public and private sector expertise to attract, retain and grow businesses and create jobs in Florida. It also provides valuable resources for businesses and entrepreneurs; assistance with recruiting workers; and statistical information regarding Florida businesses and employment. Your business may qualify for various state or federal assistance.


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Federal & Local Government Requirements

This checklist provides state requirements only. Remember to check federal requirements and your local county and municipal agencies. The following organizations and websites can help:

  • Florida’s Small Business Development Center Network (FLSBDC) – State designated as Florida’s principal provider of small business assistance, the network provides no-cost, professional business consulting, in-person and on-demand training, and access to business research resources to help Florida businesses—no matter their stage of business—grow and succeed.
  • Florida Chamber of Commerce – The chamber is a Florida business organization whose goal is to further the interest of businesses in Florida.
  • County Websites – Florida’s county governments require various licenses, permits and filings above and beyond state requirements, depending on the type of business you wish to open. Find out about other public services and opportunities related to Florida counties and their governments by visiting the Florida Association of Counties website.
  • City Websites – Business owners should be aware of local government requirements, especially local business taxes (occupational licenses), building permits and inspections, planning and zoning, and community and economic development opportunities. The Florida League of Cities offers a comprehensive, alphabetical listing of municipality websites and additional information about local events and government requirements.

Disclaimer: The State of Florida operates OpenMyFloridaBusiness.gov as a public service to Florida residents and visitors worldwide. While efforts were made to verify that the content of this website is accurate and comprehensive, it is recommended that you consult with a professional (e.g., attorney, CPA, SBDC, etc.) to ensure you meet all requirements before starting your business. OpenMyFloridaBusiness.gov is not responsible for the content of external websites.