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Chapter 360-11 GEORGIA PROFESSIONAL HEALTH PROGRAM

Rule 360-11-.01 Definitions

(1) "Board" means the Georgia Composite Medical Board.
(2) "Entity" means an organization or medical professional association, which conducts professional health programs.
(3) "Health care professional" means an applicant, an individual licensed, certified, or permitted by the Board.
(4) "Impaired" means the inability of a health care professional to practice with reasonable skill and safety to patients by reason of illness or use of alcohol, drugs, narcotics, chemicals, or any other type of material, or as a result of any mental or physical condition.
(5) "Wellness Committee" means a committee of the Board.
(6) "Medical Director" means the Georgia licensed physician employed by the PHP to coordinate the activities of the professional heath program.
(7) "Professional health program" or "PHP" means a program established for the purposes of coordinating the evaluations and/or assessment of health care professionals to determine whether the health care professionals can practice with reasonable care and safety, and/or monitoring and rehabilitation of impaired health care professionals.
(8) "Rehabilitation" means restoration to good health or restoration of the ability to practice with reasonable skill and safety through therapy.

Rule 360-11-.02 Contract

The board shall be authorized to conduct a professional health program and to enter into a contract with an entity for the purpose of establishing and conducting such professional health program.

Rule 360-11-.03 Professional Health Program (PHP)

(1) The PHP must employ a Georgia licensed physician to act as the Medical Director to coordinate the activities of the PHP.
(2) The PHP must have a policy approved by the Board to provide services for the mental/physical evaluation of health care professionals who have been referred to the PHP or have contacted the PHP directly.
(3) In the provision of services to evaluate health care professionals or to monitor or rehabilitate impaired health care professionals, the PHP shall have a policy approved by the Board to identify approved treatment programs.
(4) The PHP shall maintain records for a period of ten years and shall keep such records confidential.
(5) The PHP shall inform each participant of the program's procedures, responsibilities of program participants, and the possible consequences of noncompliance with the program.
(6) The PHP shall submit a written report to the Board through the Board's Wellness Committee within 72 hours of each instance where the health care professional has:
(a) Failed to comply with the terms of participation;
(b) Refused to cease practice when he/she has been found to be unable to practice with reasonable skill and safety;
(c) Withdrawn from participation in the program against medical advice;
(d) Engaged in conduct or behavior which indicates that health care professional is believed to constitute an imminent danger to the public or to himself or herself; or
(e) Failed to abide by the terms and conditions of a monitoring agreement.
(7) Any report required under paragraph (6) above shall include evaluations, treatment records, medical records, documents or information relevant to the health care professional. All such information, evaluations, documents, reports, treatment records or medical records received by the Board shall be privileged and confidential and shall not be public records nor available for court subpoena or for discovery proceedings but may be used by the Board in the course of its investigations and may be introduced as evidence in administrative hearings conducted by the Board.

Rule 360-11-.04 Participation in Professional Health Program

(1) A health care professional who participates in the PHP shall bear all costs associated with such participation and shall be fully accountable to the Board for his/her professional practice during the period of PHP treatment.
(2) A health care professional who is referred to or who participates in the PHP is free not to comply with the recommendations of the PHP however, if he/she does not comply, all information concerning his/her conduct, evaluation, treatment, and/or monitoring will be forwarded to the Board.
(3) A health care professional who participates in the PHP program agrees to provide access to the PHP of any and all records relating to the mental or physical condition of the health care professional, including psychiatric records.

Rule 360-11-.05 Confidentiality

(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of Code Sections 43-34-7 and 43-34-8, the Board shall be authorized to provide pertinent information regarding health care professionals, as determined by the Board and in its sole discretion, to an entity for its purposes in conducting a PHP.
(2) All information, interviews, reports, statements, memoranda, or other documents furnished by the Board or other source to the an entity under contract with the Board for a PHP or produced by the entity, and any findings, conclusions, recommendations, or reports resulting from the monitoring or rehabilitation of health care professionals pursuant to a contract with the Board are declared to be privileged and confidential and shall not be subject to Article 4 of Chapter 18 of Title 50, relating to open records.
(3) All records of the PHP shall be confidential and shall be used by the PHP and its employees and agents only in the exercise of the proper function of the PHP pursuant to its contract with the Board. Such information, interviews, reports, statements, memoranda, or other documents furnished to or produced by the PHP and any findings, conclusions, recommendations, or reports resulting from the monitoring or rehabilitation of health care professionals shall not be available for court subpoenas or for discovery proceedings.
(4) Notwithstanding the above, the Board is authorized to use any such information in a manner and hearing consistent with the provisions of O.C.G.A. Section 43-34-8, and the Board rules.

Rule 360-11-.06 Limitation on Liability

(1) Any entity that contracts with the Board for a PHP shall be immune from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed, for the performance of any functions or duties under the contract if performed in accordance with the terms of such contract and the provisions of law.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provisions of the law, the members of the Wellness Committee and Board shall not be liable in damages to any person for any acts, omissions or recommendations made by them in good faith while acting within the scope of their responsibilities pursuant to the law and rules.
(3) No person who in good faith and without malice makes a report to the Board shall be liable for damages to any person.

Rule 360-11-.07 Template

The Board's standard protocol template is available at www.medicalboard.georgia.gov.

Rule 360-11-.08 Repealed

Rule 360-11-.09 Repealed

Rule 360-11-.10 Repealed

Rule 360-11-.11 Repealed

Rule 360-11-.12 Repealed