Thursday, May 12, 2016
PATRICIA T. CONN, ETC. VS. BABYLIN REBUSTILLO, ET AL. A-1421-15T3
PATRICIA T. CONN, ETC. VS. BABYLIN REBUSTILLO, ET AL.
The Patient Safety Act (PSA), N.J.S.A. 26:2H-12.23 to -12.25, establishes an absolute privilege for two categories of documents. N.J.S.A. 26:2H-12.25(f) (subsection (f) privilege) applies to the first category, which consists of documents received by the Department of Health (the Department) pursuant to the mandatory reporting requirement, N.J.S.A. 26:2H-12.25(c) (subsection (c)) or the voluntary disclosure provision, N.J.S.A. 26:2H-12.25(e) (subsection (e)). N.J.S.A. 26:2H-12.25(g) provides a similar privilege (subsection (g) privilege) to a second category of documents, developed as part of a "self-critical analysis" that might never be provided to the
Department. In this interlocutory appeal, we review the statutory criteria and scope of the subsection (f) privilege and clarify the distinction between the thresholds for the application of the subsection (f) and subsection (g) privileges. We conclude: the subsection (f) privilege is not subject to review to determine whether the health care facility complied with the "process requirements" set forth in the PSA; the privilege covers all "documents, materials, or information received by the department" pursuant to N.J.S.A. 26:28-12.25(c) or (e); and attaches to those items upon receipt by the Department.