The information on this page was last updated by Horty, Springer & Mattern on April 10, 2019.
Ala. Code §6-5-333 Dentists, chiropractors, and physicians serving on utilization and quality control committees, peer review committees, or professional standards review committees; consultants thereto and employees thereof; dental, chiropractic and medical societies and associations; appeal to Alabama Dental Association; confidentiality.
(a) Any dentist, chiropractor, or physician licensed to practice medicine in Alabama who serves on a peer review or a utilization and quality control committee or professional standards review committee or a similar committee or a committee of similar purpose or any dentist, physician, chiropractor, or individual who serves as a consultant or employee to one of said committees established either by a dental society or dental association or by a chiropractic society or chiropractic association or by a state medical association or county medical society to review any aspect of dental care, chiropractic care, or medical care at the request of a government agency, a patient, dentist, provider of dental benefits, chiropractor, provider of chiropractic benefits, physician licensed to practice medicine in Alabama, or third party insurer shall not be liable to any person for damages as a result of any action taken or recommendation made by him within the scope of his function as a member of or employee or consultant to such review committee if such action was taken or recommendation made without malice and in a reasonable belief that such action or recommendation is warranted by the facts made known to him. No dental association or dental society, chiropractic association or chiropractic society, or state medical association or county medical society shall be liable for damages for any action taken or recommendation made by a review committee or any member of said committee or consultants or employees to said committee.
(b) Within the words and meaning of this section, a “committee” shall mean members of a committee of dentists, chiropractors, or physicians licensed to practice medicine in Alabama formed or appointed to evaluate the diagnosis or the performance of services of other dentists or dental auxiliary personnel, chiropractors or chiropractic auxiliary personnel or physicians licensed to practice medicine in Alabama or physician auxiliary personnel when such evaluation is requested by a government agency, by the fiscal intermediary responsible for the administration of group health care programs, by the recipient of dental, chiropractic, or medical services, or by a dentist, chiropractor, or physician licensed to practice medicine in Alabama.
(c) The provider or recipient of dental services evaluated by a review committee described in subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall have the right to appeal the decisions of said review committee to the Alabama Dental Association. No provider of dental care services or recipient of same or fiscal intermediary or government agency shall be bound by a ruling of a review committee established pursuant to this section on a controversy, dispute or question unless he agrees in advance either specifically or generally to be bound by the ruling.
(d) All information, interviews, reports, statements, or memoranda furnished to any committee as defined in this section, and any findings, conclusions, or recommendations resulting from the proceedings of such committee are declared to be privileged. The records and proceedings of any such committees shall be confidential and shall be used by such committee and the members thereof only in the exercise of the proper functions of the committee and shall not be public records nor be available for court subpoena or for discovery proceedings. Nothing contained herein shall apply to records made in the regular course of business by a hospital, dentist, dental auxiliary personnel, chiropractor, chiropractic auxiliary personnel, physician, physician auxiliary personnel, or other provider of health care and information, documents, or records otherwise available from original sources are not to be construed as immune from discovery or use in any civil proceedings merely because they were presented during proceedings of such committee.
§22-21-8 Confidentiality of accreditation, quality assurance credentialing materials, etc.
(a) Accreditation, quality assurance and similar materials as used in this section shall include written reports, records, correspondence, and materials concerning the accreditation or quality assurance or similar function of any hospital, clinic, or medical staff. The confidentiality established by this section shall apply to materials prepared by an employee, advisor, or consultant of a hospital, clinic, or medical staff and to materials prepared by an employee, advisor or consultant of an accrediting, quality assurance or similar agency or similar body and to any individual who is an employee, advisor or consultant of a hospital, clinic, medical staff or accrediting, quality assurance or similar agency or body.
(b) All accreditation, quality assurance credentialing and similar materials shall be held in confidence and shall not be subject to discovery or introduction in evidence in any civil action against a health care professional or institution arising out of matters which are the subject of evaluation and review for accreditation, quality assurance and similar functions, purposes, or activities. No person involved in preparation, evaluation or review of accreditation, quality assurance or similar materials shall be permitted or required to testify in any civil action as to any evidence or other matters produced or presented during the course of preparation, evaluation, or review of such materials or as to any finding, recommendation, evaluation, opinion, or other action of such accreditation, quality assurance or similar function or other person involved therein. Information, documents, or records otherwise available from original sources are not to be construed as being unavailable for discovery or for use in any civil action merely because they were presented or used in preparation of accreditation, quality assurance or similar materials nor should any person involved in preparation, evaluation, or review of such materials be prevented from testifying as to matters within his knowledge, but the witness testifying should not be asked about any opinions or data given by him in preparation, evaluation, or review of accreditation, quality assurance or similar materials.
§34-24-58 Decisions, opinions, etc., of utilization review committee privileged.
(a) The decisions, opinions, actions and proceedings rendered, entered or acted upon in good faith and without malice and on the basis of facts reasonably known or reasonably believed to exist of any committee of physicians or surgeons, acting as a committee of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, or any state, county or municipal medical association or society, or as a committee of any licensed hospital or clinic, or the medical staff thereof, undertaken or performed within the scope and function of such committee as legally defined herein shall be privileged, and no member thereof shall be liable for such decision, opinion, action or proceeding.
(b) Within the words and meaning of this section, a committee shall include one formed or appointed as a utilization review committee, or similar committee, or committee of similar purpose, to evaluate or review the diagnosis or treatment or the performance of medical services which are preformed with respect to private patients or under public medical programs of either state or federal design, with respect to any physical or mental disease, injury or ailment or to define, maintain or apply the professional or medical standards of the association, society, hospital, clinic or medical staff from, by or for which it was appointed.