OCCUPATIONS AND PROFESSIONS
PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS
329:29-a Proceedings of Physician Practice Quality Assurance Program; Confidentiality.
I. In this section:
(a) "Physician practice" means a physician licensed under this chapter, or group of such physicians, or an organization employing such physician or group, together with all licensed professionals and other staff affiliated therewith.
(b) "Quality assurance program" means a comprehensive, ongoing, and organization-wide system of mechanisms established by a physician practice in accordance with rules adopted by the department of health and human services, for monitoring and evaluating the quality and appropriateness of the care provided to patients, so that important problems and trends in the delivery of care are identified and steps are taken to correct problems and to take advantage of opportunities to improve care. For the purpose of participating in a quality assurance program, physician practices consisting of fewer than 3 physicians shall, while maintaining patient confidentiality, associate with other physician practices so that a quality assurance program shall in all cases involve at least 3 physicians.
(c) "Records" means records of interviews, internal review and investigations, and all reports, statements, minutes, memoranda, charts, statistics, and other documentation generated during the activities of a quality assurance program. "Records" shall not mean original medical records or other records kept relative to any patient in the course of business of operating as a physician practice.
II. Records of a quality assurance program, including those of its functional components and committees, as defined by the physician practice's quality assurance plans, and testimony by persons participating in or appearing before the quality assurance program or its functional components or committees, relating to the activities of the quality assurance program shall be confidential and privileged and shall be protected from direct or indirect means of discovery, subpoena, or admission into evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding. However, information, documents, or records otherwise available from original sources are not to be construed as immune from discovery or use in any such civil or administrative action merely because they were presented to a quality assurance program, and any person who supplies information or testifies as part of a quality assurance program, or who is a member of a quality assurance program committee, may not be prevented from testifying as to matters within his or her knowledge, but such witness may not be asked about his or her testimony before such program, or opinions formed by him or her, as a result of committee participation. Further, a program's records shall be discoverable in either of the following cases:
(a) A judicial or administrative proceeding brought by a physician practice to revoke or restrict the license or certification of a member physician or staff member; or
(b) A proceeding alleging repetitive malicious action and personal injury brought against a physician practice.
III. The governing body of a physician practice may waive privileges under this section and release information or present records of the quality assurance program by discovery, subpoena, or admission into evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding. Without waiving privileges under this section, the governing body of a physician practice may voluntarily release information or present records to a hospital quality assurance committee established under RSA 151:13-a, which information or records shall be subject to the privileges and immunities set forth in that section.
IV. No person or entity shall be held liable in any action for damages or other relief arising from their good faith participation in a quality assurance program, or from the providing of information to a quality assurance program or in any judicial or administrative proceeding.
Source. 2001, 113:2, eff. Jan. 1, 2002.