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RULE §186.21Investigations

(a) Investigation of complaints shall be conducted in accordance with Chapter 178 of this title (relating to Complaints) and Chapter 179 of this title (relating to Investigations) and referred to an informal settlement conference in accordance with Chapter 187 of this title (relating to Procedural Rules), if appropriate. If the provisions of Chapters 178, 179 or 187 of this title conflict with the Act or rules under this chapter, the Act and provisions of this chapter shall control.

(b) Confidentiality. All complaints, adverse reports, investigation files, other investigation reports, and other investigative information in the possession of, or received, or gathered by the advisory board, the Medical Board, or their employees or agents relating to a person, certificate holder or temporary permit holder, an application for certificate, or a criminal investigation or proceeding are privileged and confidential and are not subject to discovery, subpoena, or other means of legal compulsion for their release to anyone other than the advisory board, the Medical Board, or their employees or agents involved in certificate holder or temporary permit holder discipline.

(c) Patient identity. In any disciplinary investigation or proceeding regarding a respiratory care practitioner conducted under or pursuant to the Act, the advisory board and Medical Board shall protect the identity of any patient whose medical records are examined and utilized in a public proceeding except for those patients who testify in the public proceeding or who submit a written release in regard to their records or identity.

(d) Permitted disclosure of investigative information. Investigative information in the possession of the advisory board, the Medical Board, or the boards' employees or agents which relates to certificate holder discipline and information contained in such files may not be disclosed except in the following circumstances:

  (1) to the appropriate licensing or regulatory authorities in other states or the District of Columbia or a territory or country where the respiratory care practitioner is licensed, registered, or certified or has applied for a certificate or license or to a peer review committee reviewing an application for employment or privileges or the qualifications of the certificate holder with respect to retaining employment or privileges;

  (2) to appropriate law enforcement agencies if the investigative information indicates a crime may have been committed and the advisory board shall cooperate with and assist all law enforcement agencies conducting criminal investigations of certificate holders by providing information relevant to the criminal investigation to the investigating agency and any information disclosed by the advisory board or Medical Board to an investigative agency shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed by the investigating agency except as necessary to further the investigation;

  (3) to a health-care entity upon receipt of written request. Disclosures by the advisory board or Medical Board to a health-care entity shall include only information about a complaint filed against a respiratory care practitioner that was resolved after investigation by a disciplinary order of the advisory board or by an agreed settlement, and the basis and current status of any complaint under active investigation; and

  (4) to other persons if required during the investigation.

(e) Complaints. The advisory board shall keep information on file about each complaint filed with the advisory board, consistent with the Act. If a written complaint is filed with the advisory board that the advisory board has the authority to resolve relating to a person certified by the advisory board, the advisory board, at least as frequently as quarterly and until final determination of the action to be taken relative to the complaint, shall notify in a manner consistent with the Act, the parties to the complaint of the status of the complaint unless the notice would jeopardize an active investigation.

(f) Renewal of certificates. A certificate holder shall furnish a written explanation of his or her answer to any question asked on the application for certificate renewal, if requested by the advisory board. This explanation shall include all details as the advisory board may request and shall be furnished within 30 days of the date of the advisory board's request.

Source Note: The provisions of this §186.21 adopted to be effective April 3, 2017, 42 TexReg 1758

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