(1) It is the intent of the Legislature that good faith participants in the process of investigating and disciplining physicians pursuant to the state-mandated peer review process shall, in addition to receiving immunity from retaliatory tort suits pursuant to s. 456.073(12), be protected from federal antitrust suits filed under the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, 15 U.S.C.A. ss. 1 et seq. Such intent is within the public policy of the state to secure the provision of quality medical services to the public. (2) Each licensed facility, as a condition of licensure, shall provide for peer review of physicians who deliver health care services at the facility. Each licensed facility shall develop written, binding procedures by which such peer review shall be conducted. Such procedures shall include:
(a) Mechanism for choosing the membership of the body or bodies that conduct peer review.
(b) Adoption of rules of order for the peer review process.
(c) Fair review of the case with the physician involved.
(d) Mechanism to identify and avoid conflict of interest on the part of the peer review panel members.
(e) Recording of agendas and minutes which do not contain confidential material, for review by the Division of Health Quality Assurance of the agency.
(f) Review, at least annually, of the peer review procedures by the governing board of the licensed facility.
(g) Focus of the peer review process on review of professional practices at the facility to reduce morbidity and mortality and to improve patient care.
(3) If reasonable belief exists that conduct by a staff member or physician who delivers health care services at the licensed facility may constitute one or more grounds for discipline as provided in this subsection, a peer review panel shall investigate and determine whether grounds for discipline exist with respect to such staff member or physician. The governing board of any licensed facility, after considering the recommendations of its peer review panel, shall suspend, deny, revoke, or curtail the privileges, or reprimand, counsel, or require education, of any such staff member or physician after a final determination has been made that one or more of the following grounds exist:
(b) Being found to be a habitual user of intoxicants or drugs to the extent that he or she is deemed dangerous to himself, herself, or others.
(c) Mental or physical impairment which may adversely affect patient care.
(d) Being found liable by a court of competent jurisdiction for medical negligence or malpractice involving negligent conduct.
(e) One or more settlements exceeding $10,000 for medical negligence or malpractice involving negligent conduct by the staff member.
(f) Medical negligence other than as specified in paragraph (d) or paragraph (e).
(g) Failure to comply with the policies, procedures, or directives of the risk management program or any quality assurance committees of any licensed facility.
(4) Pursuant to ss. 458.337 and 459.016, any disciplinary actions taken under subsection (3) shall be reported in writing to the Division of Health Quality Assurance of the agency within 30 working days after its initial occurrence, regardless of the pendency of appeals to the governing board of the hospital. The notification shall identify the disciplined practitioner, the action taken, and the reason for such action. All final disciplinary actions taken under subsection (3), if different from those which were reported to the agency within 30 days after the initial occurrence, shall be reported within 10 working days to the Division of Health Quality Assurance of the agency in writing and shall specify the disciplinary action taken and the specific grounds therefor. The division shall review each report and determine whether it potentially involved conduct by the licensee that is subject to disciplinary action, in which case s. 456.073 shall apply. The reports are not subject to inspection under s. 119.07(1) even if the division’s investigation results in a finding of probable cause.
(5) There shall be no monetary liability on the part of, and no cause of action for damages against, any licensed facility, its governing board or governing board members, peer review panel, medical staff, or disciplinary body, or its agents, investigators, witnesses, or employees; a committee of a hospital; or any other person, for any action taken without intentional fraud in carrying out the provisions of this section.
(6) For a single incident or series of isolated incidents that are nonwillful violations of the reporting requirements of this section or part II of chapter 408, the agency shall first seek to obtain corrective action by the facility. If correction is not demonstrated within the timeframe established by the agency or if there is a pattern of nonwillful violations of this section or part II of chapter 408, the agency may impose an administrative fine, not to exceed $5,000 for any violation of the reporting requirements of this section or part II of chapter 408. The administrative fine for repeated nonwillful violations may not exceed $10,000 for any violation. The administrative fine for each intentional and willful violation may not exceed $25,000 per violation, per day. The fine for an intentional and willful violation of this section or part II of chapter 408 may not exceed $250,000. In determining the amount of fine to be levied, the agency shall be guided by s. 395.1065(2)(b). (7) The proceedings and records of peer review panels, committees, and governing boards or agent thereof which relate solely to actions taken in carrying out this section are not subject to inspection under s. 119.07(1); and meetings held pursuant to achieving the objectives of such panels, committees, and governing boards are not open to the public under the provisions of chapter 286.
(8) The investigations, proceedings, and records of the peer review panel, a committee of a hospital, a disciplinary board, or a governing board, or agent thereof with whom there is a specific written contract for that purpose, as described in this section shall not be subject to discovery or introduction into evidence in any civil or administrative action against a provider of professional health services arising out of the matters which are the subject of evaluation and review by such group or its agent, and a person who was in attendance at a meeting of such group or its agent may not be permitted or required to testify in any such civil or administrative action as to any evidence or other matters produced or presented during the proceedings of such group or its agent or as to any findings, recommendations, evaluations, opinions, or other actions of such group or its agent or any members thereof. However, information, documents, or records otherwise available from original sources are not to be construed as immune from discovery or use in any such civil or administrative action merely because they were presented during proceedings of such group, and any person who testifies before such group or who is a member of such group may not be prevented from testifying as to matters within his or her knowledge, but such witness may not be asked about his or her testimony before such a group or opinions formed by him or her as a result of such group hearings.
(9)(a) If the defendant prevails in an action brought by a staff member or physician who delivers health care services at the licensed facility against any person or entity that initiated, participated in, was a witness in, or conducted any review as authorized by this section, the court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to the defendant.
(b) As a condition of any staff member or physician bringing any action against any person or entity that initiated, participated in, was a witness in, or conducted any review as authorized by this section and before any responsive pleading is due, the staff member or physician shall post a bond or other security, as set by the court having jurisdiction of the action, in an amount sufficient to pay the costs and attorney’s fees.
(10)(a) A hospital’s compliance with the requirements of this chapter or s. 766.110(1) may not be the sole basis to establish an agency or partnership relationship between the hospital and physicians who provide services within the hospital. (b) A hospital may create an agency relationship with a physician by written contract signed by the hospital and:
1. The physician;
2. A health care professional association; or
3. A corporate medical group and its employees.
A written contract is not the exclusive means to establish an agency or partnership relationship between a hospital and any other person described in this paragraph.