Hayes v. Premier Living, Inc., 2007 N.C. App. LEXIS 370 (N.C. Ct. App. 2007)

In wrongful death case against nursing home, Defendants appealed trial court’s order granting motion to compel three incident reports prepared by staff, and denying Defendants’ motion for protective order based on peer review privilege. Incident reports were prepared by nursing home following unusual circumstances and documented facts surrounding them. Defendants provided affidavit of Administrator stating that the home used a continuous quality improvement team to assess quality of care and that purpose of reports was to maintain and improve quality. In deposition, however, Administrator said team does not typically use individual reports, but discusses trends. Nurses preparing reports are not part of the CQI team. “The peer review privilege is designed to encourage candor and objectivity in the internal workings of medical review committees.” Here, Defendants did not present any evidence showing that the reports were (1) part of the CQI team’s proceedings; (2) produced by the CQI team; or (3) considered by the CQI team. The peer review statute does not protect any and all records which may be subject to consideration by the CQI team; rather, it protects only those records which were actually a part of the team’s proceedings, produced by the team of considered by the team. Because the reports did not fall into any protected class of documents, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in compelling production of the reports

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