122C-30. Peer review committee; immunity from liability; confidentiality.

For purposes of peer review functions of a facility licensed under the provisions of this Chapter:

(1) A member of a duly appointed peer review committee or quality assurance committee who acts without malice or fraud shall not be subject to liability for damages in any civil action on account of any act, statement, or proceeding undertaken, made, or performed within the scope of the functions of the committee; and

(2) Proceedings of a peer review or quality assurance committee, the records and materials it produces, and the material it considers shall be confidential and not considered public records within the meaning of G.S. 132-1, "Public records' defined," and shall not be subject to discovery or introduction into evidence in any civil action against a facility or a provider of professional health services that results from matters which are the subject of evaluation and review by the committee. No person who was in attendance at a meeting of the committee shall be required to testify in any civil action as to any evidence or other matters produced or presented during the proceedings of the committee or as to any findings, recommendations, evaluations, opinions, or other actions of the committee or its members. However, information, documents or records otherwise available are not immune from discovery or use in a civil action merely because they were presented during proceedings of the committee, and nothing herein shall prevent a provider of professional health services from using such otherwise available information, documents or records in connection with an administrative hearing or civil suit relating to the medical staff membership, clinical privileges or employment of the provider. Documents otherwise available as public records within the meaning of G.S. 132-1 do not lose their status as public records merely because they were presented or considered during proceedings of the committee. A member of the committee or a person who testifies before the committee may be subpoenaed and be required to testify in a civil action as to events of which the person has knowledge independent of the peer review or quality assurance process, but cannot be asked about the person's testimony before the committee for impeachment or other purposes or about any opinions formed as a result of the committee hearings. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1053, s. 2; 2004-149, s. 2.8.)