Title 26: Professions and Occupations
Chapter 23: MEDICINE
Sub-Chapter 01: General Provisions
26 V.S.A. § 1318. Accessibility and confidentiality of disciplinary matters
§ 1318. Accessibility and confidentiality of disciplinary matters
(a) It is the purpose of this section both to protect the reputation of licensees from public disclosure of unwarranted complaints against them and to fulfill the public's right to know of any action taken against a licensee when that action is based on a determination of unprofessional conduct.
(b) All meetings and hearings of the Board shall be open to the public, except in accord with 1 V.S.A. § 313.
(c)(1) The Commissioner of Health shall prepare and maintain a register of all complaints, which shall be a public record, and which shall show:
(A) with respect to all complaints, the following information:
(i) the date and the nature of the complaint, but not including the identity of the licensee; and
(ii) a summary of the completed investigation; and
(B) only with respect to complaints resulting in filing of disciplinary charges or stipulations or the taking of disciplinary action and except as provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection (c), the following additional information, except for medical and other protected health information contained therein pertaining to any identifiable person that is otherwise confidential by State or federal law:
(i) the name and business addresses of the licensee and complainant;
(ii) formal charges, provided they have been served or a reasonable effort to serve them has been made;
(iii) the findings, conclusions, and order of the Board;
(iv) the transcript of the hearing, if one has been made, and exhibits admitted at the hearing;
(v) stipulations presented to the Board at a public meeting;
(vi) final disposition of the matter by the courts; and
(vii) a summary of the final disposition of the matter indicating any charges that were dismissed and any charges resulting in a finding of unprofessional conduct.
(2) The Commissioner shall remove from the register any of the information described in subdivision (1)(B) of this subsection if the final disposition of the matter dismisses all charges filed against a licensee in the same action. The Commissioner shall ensure that the period for appealing an order has expired prior to removing any such information from the register, and shall remove that information within five business days of the expiration of the appeal period.
(d) The Commissioner shall not make public any information regarding disciplinary complaints, proceedings, or records, except the information required to be released under this section. The Commissioner shall, upon request, provide information that was maintained on the register under subdivision (c)(1) of this section but which was later removed from the register under the provisions of subdivision (c)(2) of this section.
(e) A licensee or applicant shall have the right to inspect and copy all information in the possession of the Department of Health pertaining to the licensee or applicant, except investigatory files which have not resulted in charges of unprofessional conduct and attorney work product.
(f) As used in this section, "disciplinary action" means action that suspends, revokes, limits, or conditions licensure or certification in any way, and includes reprimands and administrative penalties.
(g) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the disclosure of information by the Commissioner regarding disciplinary complaints to Vermont or other state or federal law enforcement or regulatory agencies in the execution of its duties authorized by statute or regulation, including the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living or the Department of Financial Regulation in the course of its investigations about an identified licensee, provided the agency or department agrees to maintain the confidentiality and privileged status of the information as provided in subsection (d) of this section.
(h) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the Board, at its discretion, from sharing investigative and adjudicatory files of an identified licensee with another state, territorial, or international medical board at any time during the investigational or adjudicative process.
(i) Neither the Commissioner nor any person who received documents, material, or information while acting under the authority of the Commissioner shall be permitted or required to testify in any private civil action concerning any confidential documents, material, or information. (Added 2001, No. 132 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. June 13, 2002; amended 2003, No. 34, § 5, eff. May 23, 2003; 2011, No. 61, § 2, eff. June 2, 2011; 2011, No. 78 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. April 2, 2012; 2013, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)