The information on this page was last updated by Horty, Springer & Mattern on September 24, 2019.
Rev. Code of Wash. §18.71.0195. Disciplinary reports – Confidentiality – Immunity
(1) The contents of any report filed under RCW 18.130.070 shall be confidential and exempt from public disclosure pursuant to chapter 42.56 RCW, except that it may be reviewed
(a) by the licensee involved or his or her counsel or authorized representative who may submit any additional exculpatory or explanatory statements or other information, which statements or other information shall be included in the file, or
(b) by a representative of the commission, or investigator thereof, who has been assigned to review the activities of a licensed physician.
Upon a determination that a report is without merit, the commission’s records may be purged of information relating to the report.
(2) Every individual, medical association, medical society, hospital, ambulatory surgical facility, medical service bureau, health insurance carrier or agent, professional liability insurance carrier, professional standards review organization, agency of the federal, state, or local government, or the entity established by RCW 18.71.300 and its officers, agents, and employees are immune from civil liability, whether direct or derivative, for providing information to the commission under RCW 18.130.070, or for which an individual health care provider has immunity under the provisions of RCW 4.24.240, 4.24.250, or 4.24.260.
§18.130.070. Rules requiring reports – Court orders – Immunity from liability – Licensees required to report
(1)(a) The secretary shall adopt rules requiring every license holder to report to the appropriate disciplining authority any conviction, determination, or finding that another license holder has committed an act which constitutes unprofessional conduct, or to report information to the disciplining authority, an impaired practitioner program, or voluntary substance abuse monitoring program approved by the disciplining authority, which indicates that the other license holder may not be able to practice his or her profession with reasonable skill and safety to consumers as a result of a mental or physical condition.
(b) The secretary may adopt rules to require other persons, including corporations, organizations, health care facilities, impaired practitioner programs, or voluntary substance abuse monitoring programs approved by a disciplining authority, and state or local government agencies to report:
(i) Any conviction, determination, or finding that a license holder has committed an act which constitutes unprofessional conduct; or
(ii) Information to the disciplining authority, an impaired practitioner program, or voluntary substance abuse monitoring program approved by the disciplining authority, which indicates that the license holder may not be able to practice his or her profession with reasonable skill and safety to consumers as a result of a mental or physical condition.
(c) If a report has been made by a hospital to the department pursuant to RCW 70.41.210, or by an ambulatory surgical facility pursuant to RCW 70.230.110, a report to the disciplining authority is not required. To facilitate meeting the intent of this section, the cooperation of agencies of the federal government is requested by reporting any conviction, determination, or finding that a federal employee or contractor regulated by the disciplining authorities enumerated in this chapter has committed an act which constituted unprofessional conduct and reporting any information which indicates that a federal employee or contractor regulated by the disciplining authorities enumerated in this chapter may not be able to practice his or her profession with reasonable skill and safety as a result of a mental or physical condition.
(d) Reporting under this section is not required by:
(i) Any entity with a peer review committee, quality improvement committee or other similarly designated professional review committee, or by a license holder who is a member of such committee, during the investigative phase of the respective committee’s operations if the investigation is completed in a timely manner; or
(ii) An impaired practitioner program or voluntary substance abuse monitoring program approved by a disciplining authority under RCW 18.130.175 if the license holder is currently enrolled in the treatment program, so long as the license holder actively participates in the treatment program and the license holder’s impairment does not constitute a clear and present danger to the public health, safety, or welfare.
(2) If a person fails to furnish a required report, the disciplining authority may petition the superior court of the county in which the person resides or is found, and the court shall issue to the person an order to furnish the required report. A failure to obey the order is a contempt of court as provided in chapter 7.21 RCW.
(3) A person is immune from civil liability, whether direct or derivative, for providing information to the disciplining authority pursuant to the rules adopted under subsection (1) of this section.
(4)(a) The holder of a license subject to the jurisdiction of this chapter shall report to the disciplining authority:
(i) Any conviction, determination, or finding that he or she has committed unprofessional conduct or is unable to practice with reasonable skill or safety; and
(ii) Any disqualification from participation in the federal medicare program, under Title XVIII of the federal social security act or the federal medicaid program, under Title XIX of the federal social security act.
(b) Failure to report within thirty days of notice of the conviction, determination, finding, or disqualification constitutes grounds for disciplinary action.
§70.41.210. Duty to report restrictions on health care practitioners’ privileges based on unprofessional conduct–Penalty
(1) The chief administrator or executive officer of a hospital shall report to the department when the practice of a health care practitioner as defined in subsection (2) of this section is restricted, suspended, limited, or terminated based upon a conviction, determination, or finding by the hospital that the health care practitioner has committed an action defined as unprofessional conduct under RCW 18.130.180. The chief administrator or executive officer shall also report any voluntary restriction or termination of the practice of a health care practitioner as defined in subsection (2) of this section while the practitioner is under investigation or the subject of a proceeding by the hospital regarding unprofessional conduct, or in return for the hospital not conducting such an investigation or proceeding or not taking action. The department will forward the report to the appropriate disciplining authority.
(2) The reporting requirements apply to the following health care practitioners: Pharmacists as defined in chapter 18.64 RCW; advanced registered nurse practitioners as defined in chapter 18.79 RCW; dentists as defined in chapter 18.32 RCW; naturopaths as defined in chapter 18.36A RCW; optometrists as defined in chapter 18.53 RCW; osteopathic physicians and surgeons as defined in chapter 18.57 RCW; osteopathic physician’s assistants as defined in chapter 18.57A RCW; physicians as defined in chapter 18.71 RCW; physician assistants as defined in chapter 18.71A RCW; podiatric physicians and surgeons as defined in chapter 18.22 RCW; and psychologists as defined in chapter 18.83 RCW.
(3) Reports made under subsection (1) of this section shall be made within fifteen days of the date: (a) A conviction, determination, or finding is made by the hospital that the health care practitioner has committed an action defined as unprofessional conduct under RCW 18.130.180; or (b) the voluntary restriction or termination of the practice of a health care practitioner, including his or her voluntary resignation, while under investigation or the subject of proceedings regarding unprofessional conduct under RCW 18.130.180 is accepted by the hospital.
(4) Failure of a hospital to comply with this section is punishable by a civil penalty not to exceed five hundred dollars.
(5) A hospital, its chief administrator, or its executive officer who files a report under this section is immune from suit, whether direct or derivative, in any civil action related to the filing or contents of the report, unless the conviction, determination, or finding on which the report and its content are based is proven to not have been made in good faith. The prevailing party in any action brought alleging the conviction, determination, finding, or report was not made in good faith, shall be entitled to recover the costs of litigation, including reasonable attorneys’ fees.
(6) The department shall forward reports made under subsection (1) of this section to the appropriate disciplining authority designated under Title 18 RCW within fifteen days of the date the report is received by the department. The department shall notify a hospital that has made a report under subsection (1) of this section of the results of the disciplining authority’s case disposition decision within fifteen days after the case disposition. Case disposition is the decision whether to issue a statement of charges, take informal action, or close the complaint without action against a practitioner. In its biennial report to the legislature under RCW 18.130.310, the department shall specifically identify the case dispositions of reports made by hospitals under subsection (1) of this section.
(7) The department shall not increase hospital license fees to carry out this section before July 1, 2008.
§70.41.220. Duty to keep records of restrictions on practitioners’ privileges – Penalty
Each hospital shall keep written records of decisions to restrict or terminate privileges of practitioners. Copies of such records shall be made available to the board within thirty days of a request and all information so gained shall remain confidential in accordance with RCW 70.41.200 and 70.41.230 and shall be protected from the discovery process. Failure of a hospital to comply with this section is punishable by [a] civil penalty not to exceed two hundred fifty dollars.
§70.41.230. Duty of hospital to request information on physicians granted privileges
(1) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, prior to granting or renewing clinical privileges or association of any physician or hiring a physician, a hospital or facility approved pursuant to this chapter shall request from the physician and the physician shall provide the following information:
(a) The name of any hospital or facility with or at which the physician had or has any association, employment, privileges, or practice during the prior five years: PROVIDED, That the hospital may request additional information going back further than five years, and the physician shall use his or her best efforts to comply with such a request for additional information;
(b) Whether the physician has ever been or is in the process of being denied, revoked, terminated, suspended, restricted, reduced, limited, sanctioned, placed on probation, monitored, or not renewed for any professional activity listed in (b)(i) through (x) of this subsection, or has ever voluntarily or involuntarily relinquished, withdrawn, or failed to proceed with an application for any professional activity listed in (b)(i) through (x) of this subsection in order to avoid an adverse action or to preclude an investigation or while under investigation relating to professional competence or conduct:
(i) License to practice any profession in any jurisdiction;
(ii) Other professional registration or certification in any jurisdiction;
(iii) Specialty or subspecialty board certification;
(iv) Membership on any hospital medical staff;
(v) Clinical privileges at any facility, including hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, or skilled nursing facilities;
(vi) Medicare, medicaid, the food and drug administration, the national institute of health (office of human research protection), governmental, national, or international regulatory agency, or any public program;
(vii) Professional society membership or fellowship;
(viii) Participation or membership in a health maintenance organization, preferred provider organization, independent practice association, physician-hospital organization, or other entity;
(ix) Academic appointment;
(x) Authority to prescribe controlled substances (drug enforcement agency or other authority);
(c) Any pending professional medical misconduct proceedings or any pending medical malpractice actions in this state or another state, the substance of the allegations in the proceedings or actions, and any additional information concerning the proceedings or actions as the physician deems appropriate;
(d) The substance of the findings in the actions or proceedings and any additional information concerning the actions or proceedings as the physician deems appropriate;
(e) A waiver by the physician of any confidentiality provisions concerning the information required to be provided to hospitals pursuant to this subsection; and
(f) A verification by the physician that the information provided by the physician is accurate and complete.
(2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, prior to granting privileges or association to any physician or hiring a physician, a hospital or facility approved pursuant to this chapter shall request from any hospital with or at which the physician had or has privileges, was associated, or was employed, during the preceding five years, the following information concerning the physician:
(a) Any pending professional medical misconduct proceedings or any pending medical malpractice actions, in this state or another state;
(b) Any judgment or settlement of a medical malpractice action and any finding of professional misconduct in this state or another state by a licensing or disciplinary board; and
(c) Any information required to be reported by hospitals pursuant to RCW 18.71.0195.
(4) The Washington medical commission or the board of osteopathic medicine and surgery shall be advised within thirty days of the name of any physician denied staff privileges, association, or employment on the basis of adverse findings under subsection (1) of this section.
(5) A hospital or facility that receives a request for information from another hospital or facility pursuant to subsections (1) and (2) of this section shall provide such information concerning the physician in question to the extent such information is known to the hospital or facility receiving such a request, including the reasons for suspension, termination, or curtailment of employment or privileges at the hospital or facility. A hospital, facility, or other person providing such information in good faith is not liable in any civil action for the release of such information.
(8) Violation of this section shall not be considered negligence per se.
Wash. Admin. Code §246-853-150. Health care institutions
The chief administrator or executive officer of any hospital or nursing home shall report to the board [of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery] when any [osteopathic] physician’s clinical privileges are terminated or are restricted based on a determination that a physician has committed an act or acts which may constitute unprofessional conduct or that a physician may be mentally or physically impaired. Said officer shall also report if a physician accepts voluntary termination or restriction of clinical privileges in lieu of formal action based upon unprofessional conduct or upon being mentally or physically impaired.
Rev. Code of Wash. §18.130.180. Unprofessional conduct
The following conduct, acts, or conditions constitute unprofessional conduct for any license holder under the jurisdiction of this chapter:
(1) The commission of any act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, or corruption relating to the practice of the person’s profession, whether the act constitutes a crime or not. If the act constitutes a crime, conviction in a criminal proceeding is not a condition precedent to disciplinary action. Upon such a conviction, however, the judgment and sentence is conclusive evidence at the ensuing disciplinary hearing of the guilt of the license holder of the crime described in the indictment or information, and of the person’s violation of the statute on which it is based. For the purposes of this section, conviction includes all instances in which a plea of guilty or nolo contendere is the basis for the conviction and all proceedings in which the sentence has been deferred or suspended. Nothing in this section abrogates rights guaranteed under chapter 9.96A RCW;
(2) Misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact in obtaining a license or in reinstatement thereof;
(3) All advertising which is false, fraudulent, or misleading;
(4) Incompetence, negligence, or malpractice which results in injury to a patient or which creates an unreasonable risk that a patient may be harmed. The use of a nontraditional treatment by itself shall not constitute unprofessional conduct, provided that it does not result in injury to a patient or create an unreasonable risk that a patient may be harmed;
(5) Suspension, revocation, or restriction of the individual’s license to practice any health care profession by competent authority in any state, federal, or foreign jurisdiction, a certified copy of the order, stipulation, or agreement being conclusive evidence of the revocation, suspension, or restriction;
(6) Except when authorized by RCW 18.130.345, the possession, use, prescription for use, or distribution of controlled substances or legend drugs in any way other than for legitimate or therapeutic purposes, diversion of controlled substances or legend drugs, the violation of any drug law, or prescribing controlled substances for oneself;
(7) Violation of any state or federal statute or administrative rule regulating the profession in question, including any statute or rule defining or establishing standards of patient care or professional conduct or practice;
(8) Failure to cooperate with the disciplining authority by:
(a) Not furnishing any papers , documents, records, or other items;
(b) Not furnishing in writing a full and complete explanation covering the matter contained in the complaint filed with the disciplining authority;
(c) Not responding to subpoenas issued by the disciplining authority, whether or not the recipient of the subpoena is the accused in the proceeding; or
(d) Not providing reasonable and timely access for authorized representatives of the disciplining authority seeking to perform practice reviews at facilities utilized by the license holder;
(9) Failure to comply with an order issued by the disciplining authority or a stipulation for informal disposition entered into with the disciplining authority;
(10) Aiding or abetting an unlicensed person to practice when a license is required;
(11) Violations of rules established by any health agency;
(12) Practice beyond the scope of practice as defined by law or rule;
(13) Misrepresentation or fraud in any aspect of the conduct of the business or profession;
(14) Failure to adequately supervise auxiliary staff to the extent that the consumer’s health or safety is at risk;
(15) Engaging in a profession involving contact with the public while suffering from a contagious or infectious disease involving serious risk to public health;
(16) Promotion for personal gain of any unnecessary or inefficacious drug, device, treatment, procedure, or service;
(17) Conviction of any gross misdemeanor or felony relating to the practice of the person’s profession. For the purposes of this subsection, conviction includes all instances in which a plea of guilty or nolo contendere is the basis for conviction and all proceedings in which the sentence has been deferred or suspended. Nothing in this section abrogates rights guaranteed under chapter 9.96A RCW;
(18) The procuring, or aiding or abetting in procuring, a criminal abortion;
(19) The offering, undertaking, or agreeing to cure or treat disease by a secret method, procedure, treatment, or medicine, or the treating, operating, or prescribing for any health condition by a method, means, or procedure which the licensee refuses to divulge upon demand of the disciplining authority;
(20) The willful betrayal of a practitioner-patient privilege as recognized by law;
(21) Violation of chapter 19.68 RCW;
(22) Interference with an investigation or disciplinary proceeding by willful misrepresentation of facts before the disciplining authority or its authorized representative, or by the use of threats or harassment against any patient or witness to prevent them from providing evidence in a disciplinary proceeding or any other legal action, or by the use of financial inducements to any patient or witness to prevent or attempt to prevent him or her from providing evidence in a disciplinary proceeding;
(23) Current misuse of:
(b) Controlled substances; or
(c) Legend drugs;
(24) Abuse of a client or patient or sexual contact with a client or patient;
(25) Acceptance of more than a nominal gratuity, hospitality, or subsidy offered by a representative or vendor of medical or health-related products or services intended for patients, in contemplation of a sale or for use in research publishable in professional journals, where a conflict of interest is presented, as defined by rules of the disciplining authority, in consultation with the department, based on recognized professional ethical standards.
(26) Violation of RCW 18.130.420;
(27) Performing conversion therapy on a patient under age eighteen.