Section 22-11A-63

Investigation by State Health Officer.

(a) Upon notification of the existence of an infected health care worker, the State Health Officer shall undertake an investigation of the practice of the health care worker. In the investigation, the State Health Officer shall seek advice of individuals and organizations deemed necessary. The investigation shall determine if the infected health care worker performs invasive procedures. If the health care worker is determined not to perform invasive procedures, no review panel shall be established, no restrictions shall be placed on his or her practice, and all information obtained in the investigation shall be confidential as provided for in Section 22-11A-69. If the infected health care worker is determined to perform invasive procedures, the State Health Officer shall cause an expert review panel to be formed. To the extent possible, the review shall be conducted so that the identity of the health care worker shall not be disclosed to the expert review panel. However, disclosure of the health care worker's identity shall be made when any member of the review panel shall deem it necessary to make a recommendation to the State Health Officer or by the attendance of the infected health care worker at the expert review panel.

(b) The expert review panel may include the physician of the infected health care worker, and shall include the following:

(1) A health care worker with expertise in procedures performed by the infected health care worker chosen by the licensing board of the health care worker, if licensed.

(2) A physician appointed by the State Health Officer with expertise in infectious diseases other than one providing care to the infected health care worker.

(3) A public health physician appointed by the State Health Officer.

(4) Two representatives of the licensing board of the infected health care worker, if licensed, and if the health care worker's practice is institutionally based, a representative of the affected institution appointed by the institution.

(5) Other individuals determined necessary by the State Health Officer.

(c) The expert review panel formed pursuant to this section shall review the overall practice and procedures performed by the infected health care worker and shall consider:

(1) The procedures performed by the infected health care worker.

(2) The adherence to universal precautions by the infected health care worker.

(3) The past history of the health care worker of occupational injury while performing the invasive procedures.

(4) Any prior evidence of the health care worker related to patient transmission of HIV, HBV, HCV, or other disease designated by the State Board of Health.

(5) The presence of conditions such as dermatitis, dementia, neuropathy, or other conditions that may increase the risk of transmission.

(6) Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on the management of infected health care workers.

(d) The performance of invasive procedures alone shall not present sufficient cause to limit the practice of the infected health care worker. The health care worker is entitled to be present at meetings of the expert review panel and to present any information pertinent to the panel deliberations. All meetings of the expert review panel shall be held in executive session and shall not be open to the public.

(e) The expert review panel shall recommend to the State Health Officer limitations, if any, on the practice of the infected health care worker that are reasonable and necessary to protect the patients of the health care worker and the public. The expert review panel shall also provide recommendations to the State Health Officer about the need to notify patients who previously may have had an invasive procedure performed by an infected health care worker. The State Health Officer shall accept the recommendations of the expert review panel and issue a final order based on the recommendations.

(f) The State Health Officer shall provide a written final order to the infected health care worker specifying those restrictions, limitations, conditions, or prohibitions with which the infected health care worker shall comply in order to continue to engage in medical, dental, podiatric, or nursing practice, or to continue to be employed at a health care facility. If restrictions or conditions limit the practice of the health care worker, the administrator of the institution in which the health care worker practices, the employer of the infected health care worker, and the appropriate licensing board of the infected health care worker shall be provided a copy of the final order of the State Health Officer. For health care workers no longer performing invasive procedures, the final order shall include those notifications as may have been deemed necessary in Section 22-11A-69.

(g) The final order of the State Health Officer may be appealed to the State Committee of Public Health by delivery of written notice of appeal to the State Health Officer not more than 30 days after the date of the State Health Officer's final order. The appeal may be heard by the State Committee of Public Health in its entirety or may be assigned to an administrative law judge or hearing officer for trial and recommended decision. All hearings, administrative proceedings, and deliberations of the committee in connection with the appeal shall be held in executive session and shall not be open to the public. The committee shall accept, modify, or reject the final order of the State Health Officer.

(Acts 1993, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 93-846, p. 57, §4; Act 2015-467, §1.)