Vermont Peer Review Statute

The information on this page was last updated by Horty, Springer & Mattern on June 11, 2018.

VERMONT

PEER REVIEW

Vt. Stat. Ann. Tit. 26 §1441. Definitions and purpose

As used in this subchapter, the term “peer review committee” shall mean the Vermont professional standards review organization or its subsidiary committees, the Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care, Inc., or its subsidiary committees, a peer review committee or other comparable committee established by a health maintenance organization in accordance with the provisions of section 9414 of Title 18, or a committee of a state or local professional association or of a hospital or other health care provider which is formed to evaluate and improve the quality of health care rendered by providers of health services or to determine that health services rendered were professionally indicated or were performed in compliance with the applicable standard of care or that the cost of health care rendered was considered reasonable by the providers of professional health services in the area.

§1442. Immunity from liability of members of committee of professional society formed to maintain standards

(a) There shall be no monetary liability on the part of, and no cause of action for damages shall arise against, any member of a peer review committee, any peer review committee or its predecessor or subsidiary organization, any person acting or employed as staff for a peer review committee, any person under a contract or other formal agreement with a peer review committee, or any person who participates with or assists a peer review committee for any act or proceeding related to peer review activities undertaken or performed within the scope of the functions of the peer review committee; provided that the member, peer review committee, predecessor or subsidiary organization, or person acts without malice, has made a reasonable effort to obtain the facts of the matter acted upon, and the action is taken with the reasonable belief that the action is warranted by the facts known after a reasonable effort to obtain all the facts. For purposes of this section, liability of a committee shall be determined with reference to acts taken by a majority of the members of the committee present at a meeting at which there was a quorum.

(b) The subchapter shall not be construed to confer immunity from liability on any professional association or upon any health professional while performing services other than as a member of a peer review committee.

(c) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section shall not apply in the case of a violation of section 1443 of this title or any law relating to confidentiality of medical records.

§1443. Records immune from discovery

(a) The proceedings, reports and records of committees defined in section 1441 of this title including information and evidence required to be reported pursuant to section 1317 of this title shall be confidential and privileged, and shall not be subject to discovery or introduction into evidence in any civil action against a provider of professional health services arising out of the matters which are subject to evaluation and review by such committee, and no person who was in attendance at a meeting of such committee shall be permitted or required to testify in any such civil action as to any findings, recommendations, evaluations, opinions, or other actions of such committees or any members thereof. However, information, documents, or records otherwise available from original sources are not to be construed as immune from discovery or use in any such action merely because they were presented during the proceedings of such committee, nor shall any person who testifies before such committee or who is a member of such committee be prevented from testifying as to matters within his or her knowledge, but such witness shall not be asked about his or her testimony before such committee or about opinions formed by him or her as a result of such committee hearings.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, a peer review committee shall provide a board with all supporting information and evidence pertaining to information required to be reported under section 1317 of this title and shall provide access to such information and evidence to the department of health as provided in and for the purpose of determining a hospital’s compliance with chapter 43a of Title 18.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1318 of this title, relating to accessibility and confidentiality of disciplinary matters, the proceedings, reports, records, reporting information, and evidence of a peer review committee provided by the committee to a board in accordance with the provisions of section 1317 of this title or to the department of health in accordance with chapter 43a of Title 18 and subsection (b) of this section may be used by the board or by the commissioner of health or board of health for disciplinary and enforcement purposes but shall not be subject to public disclosure.