The Vermont Statutes Online
§ 1917. Protection and disclosure of information
(a) All information made available to the Department and its designees under this chapter shall be confidential and privileged, exempt from the public access to records law, and, in any civil or administrative action against a provider of professional health services arising out of the matters which are subject to evaluation and review by the Department, immune from subpoena or other disclosure and not subject to discovery or introduction into evidence.
(b) No person with access to information made available to the Commissioner or his or her designees under this chapter shall be permitted or required to testify as to any findings, recommendations, evaluations, opinions, or other actions of the Department in any civil or administrative action against a provider of professional health services arising out of the matters which are subject to evaluation and review by the Department.
(c) Within the Department, access to peer review protected information shall be limited to individuals responsible for verifying compliance with the safety system and for providing necessary consultation and supervision to that program.
(d) Reports made to the Department pursuant to subdivision 1915(4) of this chapter shall not constitute a waiver of peer review or any other privilege.
(e) Hospitals may replace health care provider identifying information in peer review materials with a surrogate identifier that allows for tracking of adverse events involving the same provider without disclosing the provider's identity.
(f) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b) of this section:
(1) Hospitals and the Department staff responsible for verifying compliance with the safety system are authorized to disclose information necessary to comply with their reporting obligations in section 1916 of this chapter.
(2) The Department staff responsible for verifying compliance with the patient safety surveillance and improvement system may disclose information to others in the Department, and the Department may disclose information to the Board of Health and others responsible for carrying out the Department's enforcement responsibilities with respect to this chapter if the Department reasonably believes that a hospital deliberately or repeatedly has not complied with the requirements of this chapter and any rules adopted hereunder. The Commissioner, the Board of Health, and others responsible for carrying out the Department's enforcement responsibilities with respect to this chapter are authorized to disclose such information during the course of any legal or regulatory action taken against a hospital for deliberate or repeated noncompliance with the requirements of this chapter and any rules adopted hereunder. Information disclosed under this subdivision shall otherwise maintain all applicable protections under this section and otherwise provided by law.
(g) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a hospital from making a good faith report to regulatory or law enforcement authorities based on information, documents, or records known or available to it from original sources. Information, documents, or records otherwise available from original sources are not to be construed as immune from discovery or use in any other action merely because they were made available to the Department's patient safety surveillance and improvement system. (Added 2005, No. 215 (Adj. Sess.), § 324; amended 2017, No. 113 (Adj. Sess.), § 69.)