Title 5
Businesses and Professions

Chapter 54
Physician Assistants

R.I. Gen. Laws § 5-54-23

§ 5-54-23. Reports relating to professional conduct and capacity — Regulations — Confidentiality — Immunity.

In addition to the requirements of § 42-14-2.1:

(1) The board, with the approval of the director, shall adopt regulations requiring any person, including, but not limited to, corporations, healthcare facilities, health-maintenance organizations, organizations and federal, state, or local governmental agencies, or peer-review boards to report to the board any: conviction, determination, or finding that a licensed physician assistant has committed unprofessional conduct as defined in § 5-54-2, or to report information that indicates that a licensed physician assistant may not be able to practice with reasonable skill and safety to patients as the result of any mental or physical condition. The regulations shall include the reporting requirements of subsections (2)(i), (2)(ii), and (2)(iii).

(2) The following reports, in writing, shall be filed with the board:

(i) Every insurer providing professional liability insurance to a physician assistant licensed under the provisions of this chapter shall send a complete report to the board reporting any formal notice of any claim; settlement of any claim or cause of action; or final judgment rendered in any cause of action for damages for death or personal injury caused by a physician assistant’s negligence, error, or omission in practice or his or her rendering of unauthorized professional services. The report shall be sent within thirty (30) days after service of the complaint or notice, settlement, judgment, or arbitration award on the parties. All the reports shall present an in-depth, factual summary of the claim in question.

(ii) All hospital and licensed healthcare facilities including, but not limited to, nursing homes and health maintenance organizations and the division of drug control must report within thirty (30) days of this action, any action, disciplinary or otherwise, taken for any reason, that limits, suspends, or revokes a physician assistant’s privilege to practice, either through formal action by the institution or facility or through any voluntary agreement with the physician assistant.

(iii) Within ten (10) days after a judgment by a court of this state that a physician assistant licensed under the provisions of this chapter has been convicted of a crime or is civilly liable for any death or personal injury caused by his or her negligence, error, or omission in his or her practice or his or her rendering unauthorized professional services, the clerk of the court that rendered the judgment shall report the judgment to the board.

(3) The board shall publicly report any change of privileges, of which it is aware, to the board of trustees or other appropriate body of all licensed hospitals, licensed healthcare facilities, health-maintenance organizations, and any other parties that the board deems appropriate, within thirty (30) days; provided, that notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, the board may, in instances where the change of privilege is not related to quality of patient care, elect not to disseminate the report of changed privileges. This election may be made in executive session and no decision not to disseminate shall be made except by the majority vote of the members present at the meeting and only upon a finding of fact by the board after inquiry that the change was not related to quality of patient care.

(4) The contents of any report file shall be confidential and exempt from public disclosure, except that it may be reviewed:

(i) By the licensee involved or his or her counsel or authorized representative who submits any additional exculpatory or explanatory statements or other information, which statements or information shall be included in the file; or

(ii) By the chief administrative officer, a representative of the board, or investigator of the board, who shall be assigned to review the activities of a licensed physician assistant.

(5) Upon determination that a report is without merit, the board’s records shall be purged of information relating to the report.

(6) If any person refuses to furnish a required report, the board may petition the superior court of any county in which the person resides or is found, and the court shall issue to the person an order to furnish the required report. Any failure to obey the order shall be punished by the court as a civil contempt is punished.

(7) Every individual medical association, medical society, physician-assistant professional organization, healthcare facility, health-maintenance organization, peer-review board, medical-service bureau, health insurance carrier or agent, professional-standards review organization, and agency of the federal, state, or local government shall be immune from civil liability, whether direct or derivative, for providing information in good faith to the board pursuant to this statute or the regulations outlined in subsection (1) or requirements of subsection (2).

(8) Nondisclosure agreements shall be prohibited insofar as they forbid parties from making reports regarding competency and/or unprofessional conduct to the board.

History of Section.
P.L. 1998, ch. 364, § 2.