Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 780
By: Madla
Public Health


Currently, Texas law does not provide for a pharmacy peer review committee.
S.B. 780 establishes pharmacy peer review committees. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


SECTION 1.  Amends Section 17(q), Article 4542a-1, V.T.C.S. (Texas Pharmacy
Act), to include a pharmacy peer review committee as outlined in Section 42
of this Act among the persons and entities to whom the disclosure of Texas
State Board of Pharmacy (board) investigative files and all information and
materials compiled by the board in connection with an investigation is

SECTION 2.  Amends Article 4542a-1, V.T.C.S. (Texas Pharmacy Act), by
adding Section 42, as follows: 

Sec. 42.  PEER REVIEW.  (a)  Defines "pharmacy peer review committee" and
"pharmacy society or association" for the purpose of this section. 

(b)  Authorizes the establishment of a pharmacy peer review committee
(committee) to evaluate the quality of  pharmacy services or the competence
of pharmacists.  Authorizes the committee to investigate disagreements or
complaints, determine facts, and make recommendations or issue decisions in
a written report.  Sets forth the composition of the committee. 

(c)  Provides that all proceedings and records of a committee are
confidential and all communications made to the committee are privileged,
except as otherwise provided by this section.  Provides that, if a judge
makes a preliminary finding that such proceedings, records, or
communications are relevant to an anticompetitive action or an action
brought under federal civil rights provisions under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983
(Civil Action for Deprivation of Rights), then such proceedings, records,
or communications are not confidential to the extent they are deemed

(d)  Authorize the final report of and any written or oral communications
made to a committee and the records and proceedings of the committee to be
disclosed to another committee, appropriate state or federal agencies,
national accreditation bodies, or the state board of registration or
licensure of this or any other state. 

(e)  Requires that disclosure to the affected pharmacist of confidential
committee information pertinent to the matter under review not constitute
waiver of the confidentiality provisions of this section.  Requires that an
affected pharmacist be provided a written copy of the committee's
recommendation and final decision, including a statement of the basis for
the decision, if the committee takes action that could result in censure,
license suspension, restriction, limitation, or revocation by the board or
denial  of membership or privileges in a health care entity. 

(f)  Provides that records or determinations of or communications to a
committee are not subject to subpoena or discovery and are not admissable
as evidence in any civil judicial or administrative proceeding without
written waiver of the confidentiality privilege by the committee, unless
disclosure is required or authorized by law.  Authorizes any person or
organization in any civil judicial or administrative proceeding to invoke
the evidentiary privilege created by this section unless the person or
organization has secured written waiver of the privilege by the chairman,
vice chairman, or secretary of the affected committee.  Authorizes a
plaintiff in a suit under Subsection (i) of this section to disclose
records or determinations of or communications to a committee in rebuttal
to a defendant who is authorized to use otherwise confidential information
in the defendent's defense. Provides that any person seeking access to
privileged information must plead and prove waiver of the privilege.
Provides that a member, employee, or agent of a committee who provides
access to otherwise privilege communications or records in cooperation with
law enforcement authorities in criminal investigations is not considered to
have waived any privilege established under this section. 

(g)  Requires all persons, including governing bodies and medical staffs of
health care entities, to comply fully with a subpoena for documents or
information issued by the board as otherwise authorized by law.  Provides
that the disclosure of documents or information under such subpoena does
not constitute a waiver of the privilege associated with committee
proceedings.  Provides that failure to comply with such subpoena
constitutes grounds for disciplinary action against the facility or
individual by the appropriate licensing board. 

(h)  Provides that a cause of action does not accrue against the members,
agents, or employees of a committee from any act, statement, determination,
or recommendation made or act reported, without malice, in the course of
peer review according to this section. 

(i)  Authorizes a committee, a person participating in peer review, or a
health care entity named as a defendant in any civil action filed as a
result of participation in peer review to use otherwise confidential
information obtained for legitimate internal business and professional
purposes, including use in the committee's, person's, or entity's own
defense.  Provides that such use does not constitute a waiver of the
confidential and privileged nature of committee proceedings. 

(j)  Provides that reports, information, or records received and maintained
by the board pursuant to this section are considered investigative files
and are confidential and authorizes their release only as specified in
Section 17(g) of this Act. 

SECTION 3.  Effective date: September 1, 1999.

SECTION 4.  Emergency clause.