Businesses and Professions
Dentists and Dental Hygienists
R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-31.1-27
§ 5-31.1-27. Dental peer review.
(a) Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter, healthcare providers may make confidential healthcare information available to dental peer-review committees without authorization.
(b) Confidential healthcare information before a dental peer-review committee remains strictly confidential, and any person found guilty of the unlawful disclosure of that information is subject to the penalties provided in this chapter.
(c) Except as provided in this section, the proceedings and records of dental peer-review committees are not subject to discovery or introduction into evidence. No person who was in attendance at a meeting of that committee is permitted or required to testify as to any matters presented during the proceedings of the committee or as to any findings, recommendations, evaluations, opinions, or other actions of the committee or any members of the committee. Confidential healthcare information discoverable or admissible from original sources is not to be construed as immune from discovery or use in any proceeding merely because that information was presented during proceedings before the committee, nor is a member of the committee or other person appearing before it to be prevented from testifying as to matters within his or her knowledge and in accordance with the other provisions of this chapter, but that witness cannot be questioned about his or her testimony or other proceedings before the dental peer-review committee or about opinions formed by him or her as a result of those proceedings.
(d) The provisions of subsection (c) limiting discovery and testimony do not apply in any legal action brought by a dental peer-review committee to restrict or revoke a dentist's hospital staff privilege, or his or her license to practice dentistry, or to cases where a member of the dental peer-review committee or the legal entity that formed this committee or within which that committee operates is sued for actions taken by that committee, provided that in this legal action personally identifiable confidential healthcare information may not be used without written authorization of that person or his or her authorized representative or upon court order.
(e) Nothing in this chapter limits the authority, which may be provided by law, of the board of examiners in dentistry to require a dental peer-review committee to report to it any disciplinary actions or recommendations of the committee, or to transfer to it records of the committee's proceedings or actions, including confidential dental information, or restrict or revoke a dentist's license to practice dentistry; provided, that in that legal action, personally identifiable confidential healthcare information may not be used without written authorization of this person or his or her authorized representative or upon court order.
(f) No member of a dental peer-review committee nor the legal entity that formed or within which that committee operates nor any person providing information to the committee is criminally or civilly liable for the performance of any duty, function, or activity of that committee or based upon providing information to the committee; provided, that the action is without malice and is based upon a reasonable belief that the action is warranted.
History of Section.
P.L. 1987, ch. 358, § 2.