The second year of the 2011-2012 legislative session proved successful in SCHA’s efforts to achieve monumental peer review reform. Representative Jim Harrison (R-Richland) and Senator Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee) each introduced legislation to improve our state’s peer review statute, and through collaboration with the South Carolina Association for Justice (SCAJ) and the South Carolina Medical Association (SCMA), House bill 4008 (H.4008) became the vehicle for strengthening medical peer review procedures in South Carolina. After a prolonged stay on the Senate calendar due to legislative objections, Senator Ray Cleary (R-Georgetown) was instrumental in clearing the path for H.4008 and shepherding monumental peer review reform through the General Assembly.
While the previous statute limited confidentiality to only a committee of the medical staff, peer review protection is now extended to all hospital employees, committees, and agents of a healthcare system. The newly amended statute also strengthens the confidentiality of root cause analyses and provides clarification on who has the right to waive confidentiality. With these legislative improvements, providers can employ the peer review process with greater candor and openness, allowing them to focus more on evaluating the quality of care provided rather than worrying about the confidentiality of the information shared.