(a) As used in this section:
Terms Used In Connecticut General Statutes 19a-12e
- Allegation: something that someone says happened.
- Arrest: Taking physical custody of a person by lawful authority.
- Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
- License: includes the whole or part of any Department of Public Health permit, approval or similar form of permission required by the general statutes and which further requires: (A) Practice of the profession by licensed persons only. See Connecticut General Statutes 19a-13
- Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
- permit: includes any authorization issued by the department to allow the practice, limited or otherwise, of a profession which would otherwise require a license. See Connecticut General Statutes 19a-17
- Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
(1) “Health care professional” means any individual licensed or who holds a permit pursuant to chapter 368v, 370, 372, 373, 375 to 378, inclusive, 379 to 381b, inclusive, 383 to 385, inclusive, 388 or 397a to 399, inclusive;
(2) “Assistance program” means the program established pursuant to § 19a-12a to provide education, prevention, intervention, referral assistance, rehabilitation or support services to health care professionals who have a chemical dependency, emotional or behavioral disorder or physical or mental illness; and
(3) “Hospital” has the same meaning as provided in § 19a-490.
(b) (1) Any health care professional or hospital shall, and any other person may, file a petition when such health care professional, hospital or person has any information that appears to show that a health care professional is, or may be, unable to practice his or her profession with reasonable skill or safety for any of the following reasons: (A) Physical illness or loss of motor skill, including, but not limited to, deterioration through the aging process; (B) emotional disorder or mental illness; (C) abuse or excessive use of drugs, including alcohol, narcotics or chemicals; (D) illegal, incompetent or negligent conduct in the practice of the profession of the health care professional; (E) possession, use, prescription for use or distribution of controlled substances or legend drugs, except for therapeutic or other medically proper purposes; (F) misrepresentation or concealment of a material fact in the obtaining or reinstatement of a license to practice the profession of the health care professional; or (G) violation of any provision of the chapter of the general statutes under which the health care professional is licensed or any regulation established under such chapter.
(2) A health care professional or hospital shall, and any other person may, file a petition described in this subsection not later than thirty days after obtaining information to support such petition. Each petition shall be filed with the Department of Public Health on forms supplied by the department, shall be signed and sworn and shall set forth in detail the matters complained of.
(c) Any health care professional or hospital that refers a health care professional for intervention to the assistance program shall be deemed to have satisfied the obligations imposed on the health care professional or hospital pursuant to this section with respect to a health care professional’s inability to practice with reasonable skill or safety due to chemical dependency, emotional or behavioral disorder or physical or mental illness.
(d) A health care professional who has been the subject of an arrest arising out of an allegation of the possession, use, prescription for use or distribution of a controlled substance or legend drug or alcohol shall, not less than thirty days after such arrest, notify the Department of Public Health. The health care professional shall be deemed to satisfy this obligation if the health care professional seeks intervention with the assistance program.
(e) A health care professional shall report to the department any disciplinary action similar to an action specified in subsection (a) of § 19a-17 taken against the health care professional by a duly authorized professional disciplinary agency of any state, the District of Columbia, a United States possession or territory or a foreign jurisdiction, not later than thirty days after such action. Failure to report in accordance with the provisions of this subsection may constitute a ground for disciplinary action under § 19a-17.
(f) No health care professional, hospital or person filing a petition in accordance with the provisions of this section or providing information to the department or the assistance program shall, without a showing of malice, be liable for damage or injury to the health care professional. The assistance program shall not be liable for damage or injury to the health care professional without a showing of malice.
(g) The department shall investigate each petition filed pursuant to this section in accordance with the provisions of subdivisions (10) and (11) of subsection (a) of § 19a-14, to determine if probable cause exists to issue a statement of charges and to institute proceedings against the health care professional under subsection (j) of this section. Such investigation shall be concluded not later than eighteen months after the date the petition is filed with the department and, unless otherwise specified by this subsection, the record of such investigation shall be deemed a public record, in accordance with § 1-210, at the conclusion of such eighteen-month period. Any such investigation shall be confidential prior to the conclusion of such eighteen-month period and no person shall disclose his or her knowledge of such investigation to a third party unless the health care professional requests that such investigation and disclosure be open, except the department shall provide information to the person who filed the petition as provided in subdivision (12) of subsection (a) of § 19a-14. If the department determines that probable cause exists to issue a statement of charges, the entire record of such proceeding shall be public unless the department determines that the health care professional is an appropriate candidate for participation in the assistance program. If at any time subsequent to the filing of a petition and during the eighteen-month period following the filing of the petition, the department makes a finding of no probable cause, the petition and the entire record of such investigation shall remain confidential, except as provided in subdivision (12) of subsection (a) of § 19a-14, unless the health care professional requests that such petition and record be open.
(h) As part of an investigation of a petition filed pursuant to this section, the department may order the health care professional to submit to a physical or mental examination to be performed by a physician or an advanced practice registered nurse chosen from a list approved by the department. The department may seek the advice of established medical organizations or licensed health professionals in determining the nature and scope of any diagnostic examinations to be used as part of any such physical or mental examination. The chosen physician or advanced practice registered nurse shall make a written statement of his or her findings.
(i) If the health care professional fails to obey a department order to submit to examination or attend a hearing, the department may petition the superior court for the judicial district of Hartford to order such examination or attendance, and said court or any judge assigned to said court shall have jurisdiction to issue such order.
(j) Subject to the provisions of § 4-182, no license shall be restricted, suspended or revoked by the Department of Public Health, and no health care professional’s right to practice shall be limited by the department, until the health care professional has been given notice and opportunity for hearing in accordance with said section.