State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_90 > GS_90-48_2

§ 90‑48.2.  Boardagreements with special peer review organizations for impaired dentists.

(a)        The State Board of Dental Examiners may, under rules adoptedby the Board in compliance with Chapter 150B of the General Statutes, enterinto agreements with special impaired dentist peer review organizations formedby the North Carolina Dental Society. The organizations shall be made up ofDental Society members designated by the Society, the Board, and the DentalSchool of the University of North Carolina. Peer review activities to becovered by such agreements shall include investigation, review and evaluationof records, reports, complaints, litigation, and other information about thepractices and practice patterns of dentists licensed by the Board, as such mattersmay relate to impaired dentists. Special impaired dentist peer revieworganizations may include a statewide supervisory committee and variousregional and local components or subgroups. The statewide supervisory committeeshall consist of representatives from the North Carolina Dental Society, theUNC School of Dentistry, and the Board. When the statewide supervisorycommittee considers activities and programs that relate to impaired dentalhygienists pursuant to G.S. 90‑48.3, its membership shall be expanded toinclude two dental hygienists appointed upon the recommendation of the dentalhygienist member of the Board.

(b)        Agreements authorized under this section shall includeprovisions for the impaired dentist peer review organizations to receive relevantinformation from the Board and other sources, conduct any investigation,review, and evaluation in an expeditious manner, provide assurance ofconfidentiality of nonpublic information and of the peer review process, makereports of investigations and evaluations to the Board, and to do other relatedactivities for operating and promoting a coordinated and effective peer reviewprocess. The agreements shall include provisions assuring basic due process fordentists that become involved.

(c)        The impaired dentist peer review organizations that enterinto agreements with the Board shall establish and maintain a program forimpaired dentists licensed by the Board for the purpose of identifying,reviewing and evaluating the ability of those dentists to function as dentists,and to provide programs for treatment and rehabilitation. The Board may providefunds for the administration of these impaired dentist peer review programs.The Board shall adopt rules to apply to the operation of impaired dentist peerreview programs, with provisions for: definitions of impairment; guidelines forprogram elements; procedures for receipt and use of information of suspectedimpairment; procedures for intervention and referral; arrangements formonitoring treatment, rehabilitation, posttreatment support and performance;reports of individual cases to the Board; periodic reporting of statisticalinformation; and assurance of confidentiality of nonpublic information and ofthe peer review process.

(d)        Upon investigation and review of a dentist licensed by theBoard, or upon receipt of a complaint or other information, an impaired dentistpeer review organization that enters into a peer review agreement with theBoard shall report immediately to the Board detailed information about anydentist licensed by the Board, if:

(1)        The dentist constitutes an imminent danger to the public orhimself;

(2)        The dentist refuses to cooperate with the program, refusesto submit to treatment, or is still impaired after treatment and exhibits professionalincompetence; or

(3)        It reasonably appears that there are other grounds fordisciplinary action.

(e)        Impaired dentist peer review organizations operatingpursuant to this section shall have the same protections and responsibilitiesas traditional State and local dental society peer review committees underArticle 2A of this Chapter. In addition, any confidential patient informationand other nonpublic information acquired, created, or used in good faith by animpaired dentist peer review organization pursuant to this section shall remainconfidential and shall not be subject to discovery or subpoena in a civil case.No person participating in good faith in an impaired dentist peer reviewprogram developed under this section shall be required in a civil case todisclose any information (including opinions, recommendations, or evaluations)acquired or developed solely in the course of participating in the program.

(f)         Impaired dentist peer review activities conducted in goodfaith pursuant to any program developed under this section shall not be groundsfor civil action under the laws of this State, and the activities are deemed tobe State directed and sanctioned and shall constitute "State action"for the purposes of application of antitrust laws. (1993, c. 420, s. 2; 1999‑382, s. 4.)