§ 2994-m. Ethics review committees. 1. Establishment of an ethics review committee, written policy. Each hospital shall establish at least one ethics review committee or participate in an ethics review committee that serves more than one hospital, and shall adopt a written policy governing committee functions, composition, and procedure, in accordance with the requirements of this article. A hospital may designate an existing committee, or subcommittee thereof, to carry out the functions of the ethics review committee provided the requirements of this section are satisfied.

2. Functions of the ethics review committee. (a) The ethics review committee shall consider and respond to any health care matter presented to it by a person connected with the case.

(b) The ethics review committee response to a health care matter may include:

(i) providing advice on the ethical aspects of proposed health care;

(ii) making a recommendation about proposed health care; or

(iii) providing assistance in resolving disputes about proposed health care.

(c) Recommendations and advice by the ethics review committee shall be advisory and nonbinding, except as specified in subdivision five of section twenty-nine hundred ninety-four-d of this article and subdivision three of section twenty-nine hundred ninety-four-e of this article.

3. Committee membership. The membership of ethics review committees must be interdisciplinary and must include at least five members who have demonstrated an interest in or commitment to patient’s rights or to the medical, public health, or social needs of those who are ill. At least three ethics review committee members must be health or social services practitioners, at least one of whom must be a registered nurse and one of whom must be a physician. At least one member must be a person without any governance, employment or contractual relationship with the hospital. In a residential health care facility the facility must offer the residents’ council of the facility (or of another facility that participates in the committee) the opportunity to appoint up to two persons to the ethics review committee, none of whom may be a resident of or a family member of a resident of such facility, and both of whom shall be persons who have expertise in or a demonstrated commitment to patient rights or to the care and treatment of the elderly or nursing home residents through professional or community activities, other than activities performed as a health care provider.

4. Procedures for ethics review committee. (a) These procedures are required only when: (i) the ethics review committee is convened to review a decision by a surrogate to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment for: (A) a patient in a residential health care facility pursuant to paragraph (b) of subdivision five of section twenty-nine hundred ninety-four-d of this article; (B) a patient in a general hospital pursuant to paragraph (c) of subdivision five of section twenty-nine hundred ninety-four-d of this article; or (C) an emancipated minor patient pursuant to subdivision three of section twenty-nine hundred ninety-four-e of this article; or (ii) when a person connected with the case requests the ethics review committee to provide assistance in resolving a dispute about proposed care. Nothing in this section shall bar health care providers from first striving to resolve disputes through less formal means, including the informal solicitation of ethical advice from any source.

(b)(i) A person connected with the case may not participate as an ethics review committee member in the consideration of that case.