Protect Peer Review Privileges, or Risk Serious Consequences
January 25, 2022
Avoid Bad Faith Charge
The most important thing to remember about confidentiality protections afforded to patient safety investigations by state law is they represent an exception to the strong policy in favor of allowing patients to access information about their own treatment, says Mark R. Ustin, JD, partner with Farrell Fritz in Albany, NY.
“They tend to be limited. You want to make sure that any disclosures occur only in the context of formal proceedings eligible for protection, and you have to pay close attention to any exceptions to those protections,” Ustin explains. “For instance, sometimes the statements of a malpractice defendant will not be afforded the same protection as statements of other individuals investigating the alleged malpractice. Once the privilege is forfeited in one place, that can lead a court to determine that it was forfeited elsewhere, forcing the disclosure of statements or documents that you never thought would be subject to disclosure.”
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