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Wash. Rev. Code § 74.42.640

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Quality assurance committee

Nursing home facilities may establish quality assurance committees. These committees must include, at minimum, “the director of nursing services,” a physician chosen by the facility, and three facility staff members.

Quality assurance committees must meet quarterly in order to identify quality of care issues and plan solutions for these issues.

The department of social and health services or long-term ombudsman may not compel, unless authorized by law, a quality assurance committee to disclose any records or reports created by the committee that are not related to a “statutory or regulatory mandate.”  However, the department may obtain information from a quality assurance committee to ensure their compliance with this section. Any information obtained for compliance purposes is not subject to discovery or admissible in a civil action.

All information obtained and created by a quality assurance committee is not subject to discovery and is barred from submission into evidence in any civil action. Individuals that participate on a quality assurance committee or participate in the creation or collection of information for such a committee may not testify about the information. However, Washington does permit: (1) the discovery of the identity of individuals involved in the claim so long as their involvement is independent of quality improvement activities; and (2) the testimony of an individual regarding the facts that gave rise to a committee proceeding so long as the individual obtained their knowledge independent of the proceeding.

Quality assurance committees may share information with other quality assurance committees so long as the committees comply with HIPAA. Such shared information is immune from discovery and barred from evidence in a civil trial.

The public records act does not apply to information created and maintained by quality assurance committees.

Facilities must document in a resident’s record any injuries or losses sustained by the resident, facility actions to address the resident’s needs, and the “resident’s outcome.”

Current as of June 2015