38 USC 5705 - Confidentiality of medical quality-assurance records
Sec. 5705. Confidentiality of medical quality-assurance records(a) Records and documents created by the Department as part of a medical quality-assurance program (other than reports submitted pursuant to section 7311 (g)  of this title) are confidential and privileged and may not be disclosed to any person or entity except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.
(1) Subject to paragraph (2) of this subsection, a record or document described in subsection (a) of this section shall, upon request, be disclosed as follows:
(A) To a Federal agency or private organization, if such record or document is needed by such agency or organization to perform licensing or accreditation functions related to Department health-care facilities or to perform monitoring, required by statute, of Department health-care facilities.
(B) To a Federal executive agency or provider of health-care services, if such record or document is required by such agency or provider for participation by the Department in a health-care program with such agency or provider.
(C) To a criminal or civil law enforcement governmental agency or instrumentality charged under applicable law with the protection of the public health or safety, if a qualified representative of such agency or instrumentality makes a written request that such record or document be provided for a purpose authorized by law.
(D) To health-care personnel, to the extent necessary to meet a medical emergency affecting the health or safety of any individual.
(2) The name of and other identifying information regarding any individual patient or employee of the Department, or any other individual associated with the Department for purposes of a medical quality-assurance program, contained in a record or document described in subsection (a) of this section shall be deleted from any record or document before any disclosure made under this subsection if disclosure of such name and identifying information would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
(3) No person or entity to whom a record or document has been disclosed under this subsection shall make further disclosure of such record or document except for a purpose provided in this subsection.
(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed as authority to withhold any record or document from a committee of either House of Congress or any joint committee of Congress, if such record or document pertains to any matter within the jurisdiction of such committee or joint committee.
(5) Nothing in this section shall be construed as limiting the use of records and documents described in subsection (a) of this section within the Department (including contractors and consultants of the Department).
(6) Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing or requiring withholding from any person or entity the disclosure of statistical information regarding Department health-care programs (including such information as aggregate morbidity and mortality rates associated with specific activities at individual Department health-care facilities) that does not implicitly or explicitly identify individual patients or employees of the Department, or individuals who participated in the conduct of a medical quality-assurance review.
(c) For the purpose of this section, the term "medical quality-assurance program" means—
(1) with respect to any activity carried out before October 7, 1980, a Department systematic health-care review activity carried out by or for the Department for the purpose of improving the quality of medical care or improving the utilization of health-care resources in Department health-care facilities; and
(2) with respect to any activity carried out on or after October 7, 1980, a Department systematic health-care review activity designated by the Secretary to be carried out by or for the Department for either such purpose.
(1) The Secretary shall prescribe regulations to carry out this section. In prescribing such regulations, the Secretary shall specify those activities carried out before October 7, 1980, which the Secretary determines meet the definition of medical quality-assurance program in subsection (c)(1) of this section and those activities which the Secretary has designated under subsection (c)(2) of this section. The Secretary shall, to the extent appropriate, incorporate into such regulations the provisions of the administrative guidelines and procedures governing such programs in existence on October 7, 1980.
(2) An activity may not be considered as having been designated as a medical quality-assurance program for the purposes of subsection (c)(2) of this section unless the designation has been specified in such regulations.
(e) Any person who, knowing that a document or record is a document or record described in subsection (a) of this section, willfully discloses such record or document except as provided for in subsection (b) of this section shall be fined not more than $5,000 in the case of a first offense and not more than $20,000 in the case of a subsequent offense.
 See References in Text note below.
Last modified: July 21, 2011