Delaware Reporting Statute

The information on this page was last updated by Horty, Springer & Mattern on January 31, 2017.

DELAWARE

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

Del. Code Ann. tit. 24 § 1730. Duty to report unprofessional conduct and inability to practice medicine.

(a) Every person to whom a certificate to practice medicine is issued has a duty to report to the Board if that person is treating professionally another person who possesses a certificate to practice medicine for a condition defined in § 1731(c) of this title, if, in the reporting person’s opinion, the person being treated may be unable to practice medicine with reasonable skill or safety. The reporting person shall provide the Board with a written report which includes the name and address of the person being treated, the exact condition being treated, and the reporting person’s opinion of whether or not action should be taken under § 1731 of this title. A person reporting to the Board or testifying in any proceeding as a result of making a report pursuant to this section is immune from claim, suit, liability, damages, or any other recourse, civil or criminal, so long as the person acted in good faith and without gross or wanton negligence; good faith being presumed until proven otherwise, and gross or wanton negligence required to be shown by the complainant.

(b) (1) Every person to whom a certificate to practice medicine is issued and health care facility as defined in § 1740 of this title has a duty to report to the Board within 30 days:

a. Any change in hospital privileges; and

b. Any disciplinary action taken by a medical society against that person; and

c. Any reasonably substantiated incidents involving violence, threat of violence, abuse, or neglect by a person toward any other person.

(2) Every person certified to practice medicine in this State shall report to the Board within 30 days any civil or criminal investigation in any jurisdiction which concerns that person’s certification or license or other authorization to practice medicine. The Board may require an applicant to provide sufficient documentation to enable the Board to determine whether to investigate, pursuant to § 1732 of this title, or whether there are grounds for discipline under § 1731(b) of this title.

(c) Every person to whom a certificate to practice medicine is issued has a duty to report to the Board, within 60 days, all information concerning medical malpractice claims settled or adjudicated to final judgment, as provided in Chapter 68 of Title 18, and, within 30 days, all information required to be reported under § 1731A(f) of this title.

(d) Every person to whom a certificate to practice medicine is issued has a duty to report, within 30 days of the day he or she becomes aware, of the existence of a report to the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families under Chapter 9 of Title 16 against that person concerning child abuse or neglect or a report to the Division of Long-Term Care Residents Protection under Chapter 85 of Title 11 against that person concerning adult abuse, neglect, mistreatment, or financial exploitation.

§ 1731A. Duty to Report.

(a) Any person may report to the Board information that the reporting person reasonably believes indicates that a person certified and registered to practice medicine in this State is or may be guilty of unprofessional conduct or may be unable to practice medicine with reasonable skill or safety to patients by reason of mental illness or mental incompetence; physical illness, including deterioration through the aging process or loss of motor skill; or excessive use or abuse of drugs, including alcohol. The following have an affirmative duty to report, and must report, such information to the Board in writing within 30 days of becoming aware of the information:

(1) All persons certified to practice medicine under this chapter;

(2) All certified, registered, or licensed healthcare providers;

(3) The Medical Society of Delaware;

(4) All healthcare institutions in the State;

(5) All State agencies other than law enforcement agencies;

(6) All law enforcement agencies in the State, except that such agencies are required to report only new or pending investigations of alleged criminal conduct specified in § 1731(b)(2) of this title, and are further required to report within 30 days of the close of a criminal investigation or the arrest of a person licensed under this chapter.

(b) If a person certified to practice medicine in this State voluntarily resigns from the staff of a healthcare institution, or voluntarily limits that person’s own staff privileges at a healthcare institution, or fails to reapply for hospital or staff privileges at a healthcare institution, the healthcare institution and the person shall promptly report in writing such conduct to the Board if the conduct occurs while the person is under formal or informal investigation by the institution or a committee thereof for any reason related to possible unprofessional conduct or possible inability to practice medicine with reasonable skill or safety to patients by reason of mental illness or mental incompetence; physical illness; or excessive use or abuse of drugs, pursuant to § 1731 of this title.

(c) Upon receiving a report pursuant to subsection (a) or (b) of this section, or on its own motion, the Board shall investigate any evidence which appears to show that the person reported is or may be guilty of unprofessional conduct or may be unable to practice medicine with reasonable skill or safety to patients by reason of mental illness or mental incompetence; physical illness; or excessive use or abuse of drugs, pursuant to § 1731 of this title.

(d) When an investigation is necessary pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the Executive Director, with the approval of the assisting Board members who must be or must include a physician and a public member when the investigation relates to the quality of medical care provided by a physician or to the competency of a physician to engage safely in the practice of medicine, has the authority to inquire from any organization which undertakes physician peer review or physician quality assurance evaluations whether or not there has been any peer review, quality assurance, or similar process instituted involving the physician under investigation. The Executive Director may, by subpoena, compel the production of a list of the medical records reviewed during the peer review process, a list of the quality assurance indicators, and/or a list of other issues which were the basis for the peer review, quality assurance, or similar process. The lists produced must identify each item with a unique medical identifier to replace the patient’s name and specific identifying information. If necessary, after receiving the lists the Executive Director may, by subpoena, compel the production of the relevant medical records. However, the individual, hospital, organization, or institution shall remove the patient’s name and specific identifying information from the records prior to complying with the subpoena. If, after having reviewed the records produced, an assisting physician Board member and an assisting public Board member consider it necessary, the Executive Director may, by subpoena, compel the production of the patient’s name. The Board shall take reasonable steps to protect the identity of the patient in so far as such protection does not, in the opinion of the Board, adversely affect the Board’s ability to protect the public interest. An individual, hospital, organization, or institution that furnishes information to the Board pursuant to a subpoena issued pursuant to this subchapter with respect to any patient is not solely by reason of furnishing the information liable in damages to any person or subject to any other recourse, civil or criminal.

(e) The Board shall promptly acknowledge all reports received under this section. Individuals or entities reporting under this section must be promptly informed of the Board’s final disposition of the reported matters.

(f) Malpractice insurance carriers and insured persons certified to practice medicine in this State shall file with the Board a report of each final judgment, settlement, or award against the insured persons. A person not covered by a malpractice insurance carrier shall also file a report with the Board. A report required to be filed under this subsection must be made to the Board within 30 days of a final judgment, settlement, or award.

(g) An individual, institution, agency, or organization required to report under this section who does so in good faith is not subject to civil damages or criminal prosecution for reporting.

(h) The Executive Director shall initially review every report made to the Board under this subchapter. The Executive Director may defer the investigation of a report pending a reported licensee’s evaluation and treatment for substance abuse or for physical or mental illness, provided sufficient safeguards exist to protect the licensee’s patients and the public. Safeguards may include a verifiable, voluntary cessation of the practice of medicine or a limited or monitored practice. Upon completion of the reported licensee’s evaluation and treatment, the Executive Director may resume investigation of the report pursuant to the requirements of this chapter. If the Executive Director determines that a deferral is warranted, the case shall be summarized and placed before the Board for its information.

(i) Pursuant to the authority conferred herein and by § 1713 of this title, the Board shall have the authority to impose a fine, not to exceed $10,000 for the first violation, and not to exceed $50,000 for any subsequent violation, on any person, any healthcare provider, any healthcare institution, and the Medical Society of Delaware for violation of any duty imposed by this chapter, and said fine shall be imposed pursuant to the procedures of this chapter.

(j) Upon receiving a complaint involving potential criminal conduct, the Board shall promptly report the complaint to appropriate law-enforcement agencies, including the Delaware Department of Justice.

§ 1731. Unprofessional conduct and inability to practice medicine.

(a) A person to whom a certificate to practice medicine in this State has been issued may be disciplined by the Board for unprofessional conduct, as defined in subsection (b) of this section, by means of levying a fine, or by the restriction, suspension, or revocation, either permanent or temporary, of that person’s certificate to practice medicine, or by other appropriate action, which may include a requirement that a person who is disciplined must complete specified continuing education courses. The Board shall permanently revoke the certificate to practice medicine in this State of a person who is convicted of a felony sexual offense.

(b) “Unprofessional conduct” includes but is not limited to any of the following acts or omissions:

(1) The use of any false, fraudulent, or forged statement or document or the use of any fraudulent, deceitful, dishonest, or unethical practice in connection with a certification, registration, or licensing requirement of this chapter, or in connection with the practice of medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter;

(2) Conduct that would constitute a crime substantially related to the practice of medicine;

(3) Any dishonorable, unethical, or other conduct likely to deceive, defraud, or harm the public;

(4) The practice of medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter under a false or assumed name;

(5) The practice of medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter without a certificate or other authorizing document or renewal of such document, unless otherwise authorized by this chapter;

(6) The use, distribution, or issuance of a prescription for a dangerous or narcotic drug, other than for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes;

(7) Advertising of the practice of medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter in an unethical or unprofessional manner;

(8) Solicitation or acceptance of a fee from a patient or other person by fraudulent representation that a manifestly incurable condition, as determined with reasonable medical certainty, can be permanently cured;

(9) Knowing or intentional performance of an act which, unless authorized by this chapter, assists an unauthorized person to practice medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter;

(10) The failure to provide adequate supervision to an individual working under the supervision of a person who is certified and registered to practice medicine;

(11) Misconduct, including but not limited to sexual misconduct, incompetence, or gross negligence or pattern of negligence in the practice of medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter;

(12) Wilful violation of the confidential relationship with or confidential communications of a patient;

(13) Wilful failure to report to the Board as required by § 1730(a) of this title;

(14) Wilful failure to report to the Board as required by § 1730(b) of this title;

(15) Wilful failure to report to the Board as required by § 1730(c) of this title;

(16) Unjustified failure upon request to divulge information relevant to the authorization or competence of a person to practice medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter to the Board, to any committee thereof, to the Executive Director, or to anyone designated by the Executive Director to request such information;

(17) The violation of a provision of this chapter or the violation of an order or regulation of the Board related to medical procedures or to the procedures of other professions or occupations regulated under this chapter, the violation of which more probably than not will harm or injure the public or an individual;

(18) Charging a grossly exorbitant fee for professional or occupational services rendered;

(19) Suspension or revocation of a certificate to practice medicine or of the authorizing document to practice another profession or occupation regulated under this chapter, or other disciplinary action taken by the regulatory authority in another state or territory. In making its determination, the Board may rely upon decisions made by the appropriate authorities in other states and may not permit a collateral attack on those decisions;

(20) Signing the death certificate of a person prior to the actual time of death of the person;

(21) A violation of § 1764A of this title;

(22) Wilful failure to report to the Board when required by § 1731A of this title; and

(23) Wilful failure to comply with § 1769B of this title.

(c) A certificate to practice medicine or an authorizing document to practice another profession or occupation regulated under this chapter is subject to restriction, suspension, or revocation, either temporarily or permanently, in case of the inability of the holder to practice medicine or other profession or occupation with reasonable skill or safety to patients by reason of 1 or more of the following:

(1) Mental illness or mental incompetence;

(2) Physical illness, including, but not limited to, deterioration through the aging process or loss of motor skill;

(3) Excessive use or abuse of drugs, including alcohol.

(d) The Board may establish, by class and not by individual, requirements for continuing education and/or reexamination as a condition for renewal of registration and for recertification to practice medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter, or as a condition to continue to practice medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter after disciplinary sanctions are imposed or after inability to practice with reasonable skill or safety to patients has been determined.

(e) A person who files a complaint with the Board or any of its members, the Executive Director, or the Division, or who provides information to the Board or any of its members, the Executive Director, or the Division regarding a complaint, or who testifies as a witness at a hearing before the Board or any of its hearing panels or committees concerning unprofessional conduct by a person certified to practice medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter in this State or concerning the inability of a person certified to practice medicine or other profession or occupation regulated under this chapter for the reasons set forth in subsection (c) of this section, may not be held liable in any cause of action arising out of the filing of the complaint, the providing of information, or the giving of testimony, provided that the person does so in good faith and without gross or wanton negligence.

(f) The provisions of this section apply to any person to whom a certificate, license, or other authorizing document to practice a profession or occupation has been issued pursuant to this chapter.