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Professional Assistance Oversight Committee. Duties. Access to professional assistance program records. Corrective action plans. Confidentiality of records and proceedings - Conn. Gen. Stat. § 19a-12b

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Health care professional organizations operating within Connecticut may establish an “assistance program” that will provide support to health care professionals dealing with substance abuse issues, physical illness, or mental illness. A “medical review committee” will determine a health care professional’s eligibility for the assistance program. Health care professionals that have received or may receive discipline by a licensing board, have been charged or convicted of a felony, or have allegedly harmed a patient are not eligible for the assistance program. The assistance program must immediately notify and submit their records to the Department of Public Health (“department”) upon learning that a program participant has received discipline from a licensing board, been charged with a felony, or is accused of harming a patient.

Information obtained by the program while assisting a health professional is confidential. Such information may only be disclosed if “reasonably necessary” to provide the assistance or during a legal proceeding if the professional waives their confidentiality privilege.

Medical review committee proceedings are not discoverable and are inadmissible as evidence in civil actions involving the professional that is the subject matter of the proceeding. However the following items are admissible in civil actions: (1) writings made outside of committee proceedings; (2) testimony of persons that obtained knowledge independent of committee proceedings; (3) if the action involves harm to a patient, evidence that a health professional was restricted from practicing when they provider service that resulted in the alleged harm; and (4) the health professional’s participation in the assistance program so long as the court believes there is good cause for the disclosure, the professional receives notice of the disclosure, and the professional has an opportunity to request a hearing on the disclosure.

The assistance program must, unless excused by the Professional Assistance Oversight Committee, obtain an annual audit of the program. The auditor may not copy files, remove files from the premises, or disclose identifying information and must destroy identifying information upon completion of the audit.

Current as of June 2015