In an area where there is “a dearth of case law,” the New Mexico USDC has ruled that the peer-review privilege contained in the federal Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act preempts any state peer-review privilege. The preemption is limited to “patient safety work product” submitted to a certified Patient Safety Organization that a state peer-review privilege does not otherwise protect. Quimbey v. Cmty. Health Sys. Prof’l Servs. Corp., 2016 WL 8716224 (D.N.M. Oct. 20, 2016). You may read the decision here.
The Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act, “a federal overlay to state peer-review statutes,” creates a voluntary reporting system for healthcare providers to share information on adverse medical events to a certified Patient Safety Organization (PSO). The goal, of course, is to improve the quality of patient care.
The Act, codified at 42 U.S.C. §§ 299b–21 to 299b–26 and available here, creates an evidentiary privilege for “patient safety work product,” which is information that a provider develops for and reports to a PSO. 42 U.S.C. § 299b–21(7)(A). The privilege prevents disclosure of patient safety work product in any federal, state, or administrative proceeding. Id. § 299b–22. More…