90-21.22A. Medical review and quality assurance committees.

(a) As used in this section, the following terms mean:

(1) "Medical review committee." - A committee composed of health care providers licensed under this Chapter that is formed for the purpose of evaluating the quality of, cost of, or necessity for health care services, including provider credentialing. "Medical review committee" does not mean a medical review committee established under G.S. 131E-95.

(2) "Quality assurance committee." - Risk management employees of an insurer licensed to write medical professional liability insurance in this State, who work in collaboration with health care providers licensed under this Chapter, and insured by that insurer, to evaluate and improve the quality of health care services.

(b) A member of a duly appointed medical review 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.

(c) The proceedings of a medical review or quality assurance committee, the records and materials it produces, and the materials it considers shall be confidential and not considered public records within the meaning of G.S. 132-1, 131E-309, or 58-2-100; and shall not be subject to discovery or introduction into evidence in any civil action against a provider of health care services who directly provides services and is licensed under this Chapter, a PSO licensed under Article 17 of Chapter 131E of the General Statutes, an ambulatory surgical facility licensed under Chapter 131E of the General Statutes, or a hospital licensed under Chapter 122C or Chapter 131E of the General Statutes or that is owned or operated by the State, which civil action results from matters that 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. 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 may testify in a civil action but cannot be asked about the person's testimony before the committee or any opinions formed as a result of the committee hearings.

(d) This section applies to a medical review committee, including a medical review committee appointed by one of the entities licensed under Articles 1 through 67 of Chapter 58 of the General Statutes.

(e) Subsection (c) of this section does not apply to proceedings initiated under G.S. 58-50-61 or G.S. 58-50-62. (1997-519, s. 4.3; 1998-227, s. 3; 2002-179, s. 18; 2004-149, s. 2.6.)