Section 22-11A-68

Immunity from liability for those involved in investigation.

(a) Members and staff of the State Board of Health, the State Committee of Public Health, the Board of Medical Examiners, the Medical Licensure Commission, the Board of Nursing, the Board of Dental Examiners, the Board of Podiatry, physicians, hospitals, other health care facilities, and other entities and persons required to report or furnish information under this article and any expert review panels, consultants to any expert review panel, and agents and employees of the Alabama Department of Public Health shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability for making reports or furnishing any information required by this article or for actions taken or actions not taken in the line and scope of official or required duties during their investigations, hearings, rulings, and decisions.

(b) All information collected during the investigation of an infected health care worker is privileged and shall be released in one of the following ways only:

(1) To professional licensing boards, employers, and patients in a manner provided elsewhere in this article, and to employees, agents, and consultants of the Department of Public Health, provided that any release of information under this subsection shall conform to rules adopted by the Board of Health and shall be restricted to individuals with a legitimate need to know the information.

(2) Upon the lawful order of a court of competent jurisdiction. The information shall be released only upon a finding by the court that the interest of the party applying for the information outweighs the privacy interest of any individuals identified, and the public interest and the interest of the Board of Health in safeguarding the confidentiality of the information. No order shall be issued without notice and an opportunity to be heard by the Board of Health. Upon application by the Board of Health, the court shall also afford an opportunity to be heard by any individual identified in the information, who may be represented by counsel anonymously. Any order issued ex parte or without an opportunity for a hearing as provided in this subsection shall be void unless the hearing is waived by the affected parties. The court may examine the information in camera before deciding upon the terms of its release. Any order releasing the information shall include any terms the court finds are necessary to protect the legitimate privacy interests of identified persons and shall include an additional protective order specifying the individuals to whom the information may be released and enjoining the individuals from releasing it to any other persons. An individual violating the court order may be punished for civil and criminal contempt.

(c) Any individual releasing information in violation of subsection (b) of this section shall not be exempt from liability for the release of the information. Any person providing information to the Department of Public Health in connection with an investigation conducted hereunder shall not be subject to liability for providing records or other information which the individual knows or reasonably believes to be truthful.

(Acts 1993, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 93-846, p. 57, §9; Acts 1995, No. 95-541, p. 1125, §1.)