Oklahoma Peer Review Statute

The information on this page was last updated by Horty, Springer & Mattern on June 20, 2018.

OKLAHOMA

PEER REVIEW

Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 63 §1-1709. Information concerning condition and treatment of patients – Restrictions – Exemption from liability – Review committees.

Any authorized person, hospital, sanatorium, nursing home or rest home, or other organization may provide information, interviews, reports, statements, memoranda or other data relating to the condition and treatment of any person to any of the following for use in the course of studies for the purpose of reducing morbidity or mortality: The State Board of Health; the Oklahoma State Medical Association, or any committee or allied society thereof; the American Medical Association, or other national organization approved by the State Board of Health, or any committee or allied medical society thereof; any in-hospital staff committee; or a city-county health department. No liability for damages or other relief shall arise or be enforced against any authorized person, institution or organization by reason of having provided such information or material, or by reason of having released or published the findings and conclusions of such groups to advance medical research and medical education, or by reason of having released or published generally a summary of such studies. The recipients shall use or publish such information or material only for the purpose of advancing medical research or medical education in the interest of reducing morbidity or mortality, except that a summary of such studies may be released by any such group for general publication. In all events, the identity of any person whose condition or treatment has been studied shall be confidential and shall not be revealed under any circumstances. Any information furnished shall not contain the name of the person upon whom information is furnished and shall not violate the confidential relationship of patient and doctor. All information, interviews, reports, statements, memoranda, or other data furnished by reason of this section, and any findings or conclusions resulting from such studies, are declared to be privileged communications which may not be used or offered or received in evidence in any legal proceeding of any kind or character, and any attempt to use or offer any such information, interviews, reports, statements, memoranda or other data, findings or conclusions, or any part thereof, unless waived by the interested parties, shall constitute prejudicial error in any such proceeding. Physicians and others appointed to hospital utilization review committees for the purpose of determining the optimum use of hospital services shall be immune from liability with respect to decisions made as to such utilization and actions thereunder so long as such physicians or others act in good faith; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall be construed to relieve any patient’s personal physician of any liability which he may have in connection with the treatment of such patient.

tit. 63 §1-1709.1. Peer review information.

A. As used in this section:

1. “Credentialing or recredentialing data” means:

a. the application submitted by a health care professional requesting appointment or reappointment to the medical staff of a health care entity or requesting clinical privileges or other permission to provide health care services at a health care entity,

b. any information submitted by the health care professional in support of such application,

c. any information, unless otherwise privileged, obtained by the health care entity during the credentialing or recredentialing process regarding such application, and

d. the decision made by the health care entity regarding such application;

2. “Credentialing or recredentialing process” means any process, program or proceeding utilized by a health care entity to assess, review, study or evaluate the credentials of a health care professional;

3. “Health care entity” means:

a. any hospital or related institution offering or providing health care services under a license issued pursuant to Section 1-706 of this title,

b. any ambulatory surgical center offering or providing health care services under a license issued pursuant to Section 2660 of this title,

c. the clinical practices of accredited allopathic and osteopathic state medical schools, and

d. any other entity directly involved in the delivery of health care services that engages in a credentialing or peer review process;

4. “Health care professional” means any person authorized to practice allopathic medicine and surgery, osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, optometry, chiropractic, psychology, dentistry or a dental specialty under a license issued pursuant to Title 59 of the Oklahoma Statutes;

5. “Peer review information” means all records, documents and other information generated during the course of a peer review process, including any reports, statements, memoranda, correspondence, record of proceedings, materials, opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations, credentialing data and recredentialing data, but does not include:

a. the medical records of a patient whose health care in a health care entity is being reviewed,

b. incident reports and other like documents regarding health care services being reviewed, regardless of how the reports or documents are titled or captioned,

c. the identity of any individuals who have personal knowledge regarding the facts and circumstances surrounding the patient’s health care in the health care entity,

d. factual statements regarding the patient’s health care in the health care entity from any individuals who have personal knowledge regarding the facts and circumstances surrounding the patient’s health care, which factual statements were generated outside the peer review process,

e. the identity of all documents and raw data previously created elsewhere and considered during the peer review process, or

f. copies of all documents and raw data previously created elsewhere and considered during the peer review process, whether available elsewhere or not; and

6. “Peer review process” means any process, program or proceeding, including a credentialing or recredentialing process, utilized by a health care entity or county medical society to assess, review, study or evaluate the credentials, competence, professional conduct or health care services of a health care professional.

B. 1. Peer review information shall be private, confidential and privileged except that a health care entity or county medical society shall be permitted to provide relevant peer review information to the state agency or board which licensed the health care professional who provided the health care services being reviewed in a peer review process or who is the subject of a credentialing or recredentialing process, with notice to the health care professional.

2. Nothing in this section shall be construed to abrogate, alter or affect any provision in the Oklahoma Statutes which provides that information regarding liability insurance of a health care entity or health care professional is not discoverable or admissible.

C. In any civil action in which a patient or patient’s legal representative has alleged that the patient has suffered injuries resulting from negligence by a health care professional in providing health care services to the patient in a health care entity, factual statements, presented during a peer review process utilized by such health care entity, regarding the patient’s health care in the health care entity from individuals who have personal knowledge of the facts and circumstances surrounding the patient’s health care shall not be subject to discovery.

D. 1. In any civil action in which a patient or patient’s legal representative has alleged that the health care entity was independently negligent as a result of permitting the health care professional to provide health care services to the patient in the health care entity, the credentialing and recredentialing data, and the recommendations made and action taken as a result of any peer review process utilized by such health care entity regarding the health care professional prior to the date of the alleged negligence shall be subject to discovery pursuant to the Oklahoma Discovery Code.1

2. Any information discovered pursuant to this subsection:

a. shall not be admissible as evidence until a judge or jury has first found the health care professional to have been negligent in providing health care services to the patient in such health care entity, and

b. shall not at any time include the identity or means by which to ascertain the identity of any other patient or health care professional.

E. No person involved in a peer review process may be permitted or required to testify regarding the peer review process in any civil proceeding or disclose by responses to written discovery requests any peer review information.

tit. 76 §24. Definitions.

In Sections 25 through 29 of this act, the following definitions shall apply:

1. “Professional review body” means a public or private body organized in whole or in part for the purpose of maintaining standards of conduct and competence for accountants, architects, podiatric physicians, chiropractic physicians, dentists, professional engineers, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, psychologists or veterinarians;

2. “Professional review action” means an action or recommendation taken or made by a professional review body which adversely affects a person’s ability to perform a profession but shall not include actions taken or recommendations made by a private professional review body against a person who does not have a reasonable connection to the body’s sponsoring organization; and

3. “Sponsoring organization” means a professional association or an institution through which persons practice their professions in whole or in part.

tit. 76 §25. Professional review body, staff and personnel – Limitation of liability.

A professional review body, members and staff of such professional review body and persons who contract with such professional review body shall not be liable in any way in damages under any law of this state with respect to a professional review action taken in good faith by such professional review body.

tit. 76 §26. Persons supplying information to professional review body – Protection from liability.

Any person who supplies information in good faith and with reasonable belief that such information is true to a professional review body shall not be liable in any way in damages with respect to giving such information to the professional review body.

tit. 76 §28. Professional review body – Requirements for protection from liability.

Protection from liability pursuant to Section 6 of this act shall be available only on the condition that the professional review action is taken or recommendation is made under the following requirements:

A. The action is taken:

1. In reasonable belief that it will maintain or enhance the quality of professional standards of conduct or competence;

2. After reasonable effort to obtain facts pertinent to the matter;

3. After adequate notice and opportunity to be heard are afforded the professional involved; and

4. In reasonable belief that the facts warrant the action.

A professional review action shall be presumed to meet these standards unless the presumption is reed by a preponderance of the evidence.

B. The notice required in paragraph 3 of subsection A of this section must:

1. State that a professional review action has been proposed against the professional;

2. Inform the professional, in detail sufficient for him to prepare a defense, of the reasons for the proposed action;

3. State that the professional may request a hearing whether he has been previously contacted about the proposed action or complaint on which it is founded or not;

4. Inform the professional of the time limit of not less than twenty (20) days in which he must request a hearing or lose such right;

5. Explain the hearing procedure that will be used or the choice of procedures available for the professional’s choice if a hearing is requested; and

6. State that if a choice of hearing procedures is available, the professional must choose at the time he requests the hearing.

C. If the affected professional requests a hearing on a timely basis, the professional review body must give the professional notice no less than ten (10) days before the hearing of the place, time and date of the hearing, of the witnesses expected to be called against him, and of the exhibits expected to be used against him.

D. At the option of the professional review body, the hearing may be held before:

1. An arbitrator mutually acceptable to the professional and professional review body;

2. A hearing officer appointed by the professional review body provided the hearing officer is not in direct economic competition with the affected professional;

3. A panel of individuals appointed by the professional review body provided the individuals are not in direct economic competition with the affected professional; or

4. The entire professional review body.

E. The professional shall:

1. Have the right to be represented by legal counsel at any stage of the proceedings;

2. Have the right to have a record made of the hearing proceedings, copies of which may be obtained by the professional upon payment of reasonable fees set by the professional review body;

3. Have the right to call, examine and cross-examine witnesses;

4. Have the right to present evidence on his behalf which the arbitrator, hearing officer or chairman of the hearing panel determines is relevant;

5. Have the right to submit a written statement at the conclusion of the hearing;

6. Forfeit his right to a hearing if he fails without good cause shown to attend a properly scheduled hearing for which proper notice has been mailed by certified United States mail, return receipt requested; and

7. Receive a written statement explaining the action or decision not to act of the professional review body.

tit. 76 §29. Emergency exception from notice and hearing requirement.

Where failure to act expeditiously may reasonably result in an imminent danger to the public or individual, a professional review body may immediately act to prevent the danger without conducting a prior hearing or giving notice provided that notice and opportunity for hearing must follow the action within three (3) days.