(a) In this section—
(1) "medical quality assurance program" means any activity carried out by or for the Coast Guard to assess the quality of medical care, including activities conducted by individuals, military medical or dental treatment facility committees, or other review bodies responsible for quality assurance, credentials, infection control, patient care assessment (including treatment procedures, blood, drugs, and therapeutics) medical records, health resources management review and identification and prevention of medical or dental incidents and risks.
(2) "medical quality assurance record" means the proceedings, records, minutes, and reports that emanate from quality assurance program activities described in paragraph (1) and are produced or compiled by the Coast Guard as part of a medical quality assurance program.
(3) "health care provider" means any military or civilian health care professional who, under regulations prescribed by the Secretary, is granted clinical practice privileges to provide health care services in a military medical or dental treatment facility or who is licensed or certified to perform health care services by a governmental board or agency or professional health care society or organization.
(b) Medical quality assurance records created by or for the Coast Guard as part of a medical quality assurance program are confidential and privileged. The records may not be disclosed to any person or entity except as provided in subsection (d).
(c)(1) Medical quality assurance records are not subject to discovery and may not be admitted into evidence in any judicial or administrative proceeding, except as provided in subsection (d).
(2) Except as provided in this section, an individual who reviews or creates medical quality assurance records for the Coast Guard or who participates in any proceeding that reviews or creates the records may not testify in any judicial or administrative proceeding with respect to the records or with respect to any finding, recommendation, evaluation, opinion, or action taken by that person in connection with the records.
(d)(1) Subject to paragraph (2), a medical quality assurance record may be disclosed, and an individual referred to in subsection (c) may testify in connection with a record only as follows:
(A) To a Federal executive agency or private organization, if necessary to license, accredit, or monitor Coast Guard health care facilities.
(B) To an administrative or judicial proceeding commenced by a present or former Coast Guard or Coast Guard assigned Public Health Service health care provider concerning the termination, suspension, or limitation of clinical privileges of the health care provider.
(C) To a governmental board or agency or to a professional health care society or organization, if necessary to perform licensing, or privileging, or to monitor professional standards for a health care provider who is or was a member or an employee of the Coast Guard or the Public Health Service assigned to the Coast Guard.
(D) To a hospital, medical center, or other institution that provides health care services, if necessary to assess the professional qualifications of any health care provider who is or was a member or employee of the Coast Guard or the Public Health Service assigned to the Coast Guard and who has applied for or been granted authority or employment to provide health care services in or on behalf of the institution.
(E) To an officer, member, employee, or contractor of the Coast Guard or the Public Health Service assigned to the Coast Guard if for official purposes.
(F) To a criminal or civil law enforcement agency or instrumentality charged under applicable law with the protection of the public health or safety, if a qualified representative of the agency or instrumentality makes a written request that the record or testimony be provided for a purpose authorized by law.
(G) In an administrative or judicial proceeding commenced by a criminal or civil law enforcement agency or instrumentality referred to in subparagraph (F), but only with respect to the subject of the proceeding.
(2) Except in a quality assurance action, the identity of any individual receiving health care services from the Coast Guard or the identity of any other individual associated with the agency for the purposes of a medical quality assurance program that is disclosed in a medical quality assurance record shall be deleted from that record or document before any disclosure of the record is made outside the Coast Guard. This requirement does not apply to the release of information under section 552a of title 5.
(e) Except as provided in this section, a person having possession of or access to a record or testimony described by this section may not disclose the contents of the record or testimony.
(f) Medical quality assurance records may not be made available to any person under section 552 of title 5.
(g) An individual who participates in or provides information to an individual that reviews or creates medical quality assurance records is not civilly liable for participating or providing the information if the participation or provision of information was in good faith based on prevailing professional standards at the time the medical quality assurance program activity took place.
(h) Nothing in this section shall be construed as—
(1) authority to withhold from any person aggregate statistical information regarding the results of Coast Guard medical quality assurance programs;
(2) authority to withhold any medical quality assurance record from a committee of either House of Congress, any joint committee of Congress, or the Government Accountability Office if the record pertains to any matter within their respective jurisdictions;
(3) limiting access to the information in a record created and maintained outside a medical quality assurance program, including a patient's medical records, on the grounds that the information was presented during meetings of a review body that are part of a medical quality assurance program.
(i) Except as otherwise provided in this section, an individual who willfully discloses a medical quality assurance record knowing that the record is a medical quality assurance record, is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $3,000 in the case of a first offense and not more than $20,000 in the case of a subsequent offense.
(Added Pub. L. 102–587, title V, §5203(a), Nov. 4, 1992, 106 Stat. 5072; amended Pub. L. 104–324, title VII, §746(b), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3943; Pub. L. 108–271, §8(b), July 7, 2004, 118 Stat. 814.)
A prior section 645, acts Aug. 4, 1949, ch. 393, §1, 63 Stat. 547; Sept. 3, 1954, ch. 1263, §34, 68 Stat. 1239; Aug. 23, 1958, Pub. L. 85–738, §§4, 5, 72 Stat. 833, provided for settlement of claims incident to activities of Coast Guard, prior to repeal, effective two years after Sept. 26, 1968, by Pub. L. 90–525, §2, Sept. 26, 1968, 82 Stat. 877. See section 2733 of Title 10, Armed Forces.
2004—Subsec. (h)(2). Pub. L. 108–271 substituted "Government Accountability Office" for "General Accounting Office".
1996—Subsecs. (d) to (h). Pub. L. 104–324 redesignated subsec. (d), relating to disclosure by person with access to a record or testimony, as (e) and redesignated former subsecs. (e) to (h) as (f) to (i), respectively.