131E-128.1. Nursing home medication management advisory committee.

(a) Definitions. - As used in this section, unless the context requires otherwise, the term:

(1) "Advisory committee" means a medication management committee established under this section to advise the quality assurance committee.

(2) "Medication-related error" means any preventable medication-related event that adversely affects a patient in a nursing home and that is related to professional practice, or health care products, procedures, and systems, including prescribing, prescription order communications, product labeling, packaging and nomenclature, compounding, dispensing, distribution, administration, education, monitoring, and use.

(3) "Nursing home" means a nursing home licensed under this Chapter and includes an adult care home operated as part of a nursing home.

(4) "Potential medication-related error" means a medication-related error that has not yet adversely affected a patient in a nursing home, but that has the potential to if not anticipated or prevented or if left unnoticed.

(5) "Quality assurance committee" means a committee established in a nursing home in accordance with federal and State regulations to identify circumstances requiring quality assessment and assurance activities and to develop and implement appropriate plans of action to correct deficiencies in quality of care.

(b) Purpose. - It is the purpose of the General Assembly to enhance compliance with this Part through the establishment of medication management advisory committees in nursing homes. The purpose of these committees is to assist nursing homes to identify medication-related errors, evaluate the causes of those errors, and take appropriate actions to ensure the safe prescribing, dispensing, and administration of medications to nursing home patients.

(c) Advisory Committee Established; Membership. - Every nursing home shall establish a medication management advisory committee to advise the quality assurance committee on quality of care issues related to pharmaceutical and medication management and use in the nursing home. The nursing home shall maintain the advisory committee as part of its administrative duties. The advisory committee shall be interdisciplinary and consist of the nursing home administrator and at least the following members appointed by the nursing home administrator:

(1) The director of nursing.

(2) The consultant pharmacist.

(3) A physician designated by the nursing home administrator.

(4) At least three other members of the nursing home staff.

(d) Meetings. - The advisory committee shall meet as needed but not less frequently than quarterly. The Director of Nursing or Staff Development Coordinator shall chair the advisory committee. The nursing home administrator shall ensure that a record is maintained of each meeting.

(e) Confidentiality. - The meetings or proceedings of the advisory committee, the records and materials it produces, and the materials it considers, including analyses and reports pertaining to medication-related error reporting under G.S. 131E-128.2 and pharmacy reports on drug defects and adverse reactions under G.S. 131E-128.4, shall be confidential and not be considered public records within the meaning of G.S. 132-1. The meetings or proceedings and records and materials also shall not be subject to discovery or introduction into evidence in any civil action against a nursing home or a provider of professional health services resulting from matters that are the subject of evaluation and review by the committee. No person who was in attendance at a meeting of the committee shall testify in any civil action as to any evidence or other matters produced or presented during the meetings or proceedings of the committee or as to any findings, recommendations, evaluations, opinions, or other actions of the committee or its members. Notwithstanding the foregoing:

(1) Information, documents, or records otherwise available, including any deficiencies found in the course of an inspection conducted under G.S. 131E-105, shall not be immune from discovery or use in a civil action merely because they were presented during meetings or proceedings of the advisory committee. A member of the advisory committee or a person who testifies before the committee may testify in a civil action but cannot be asked about that person's testimony before the committee or any opinion formed as a result of the committee meetings or proceedings.

(2) Information that is confidential and not subject to discovery or use in civil actions under this subsection may be released to a professional standards review organization that performs any accreditation or certification function. Information released to the professional standards review organization shall be limited to information reasonably necessary and relevant to the standards review organization's determination to grant or continue accreditation or certification. Information released to the standards review organization retains its confidentiality and is not subject to discovery or use in any civil action as provided under this subsection. The standards review organization shall keep the information confidential subject to this subsection.

(3) Information that is confidential and not subject to discovery or use in civil actions under this subsection may be released to the Department of Health and Human Services pursuant to its investigative authority under G.S. 131E-105. Information released to the Department shall be limited to information reasonably necessary and relevant to the Department's investigation of compliance with Part 1 of Article 6 of this Chapter. Information released to the Department retains its confidentiality and is not subject to discovery or use in any civil action as provided in this subsection. The Department shall keep the information confidential subject to this subsection.

(4) Information that is confidential and is not subject to discovery or use in civil actions under this subsection may be released to an occupational licensing board having jurisdiction over the license of an individual involved in an incident that is under review or investigation by the advisory committee. Information released to the occupational licensing board shall be limited to information reasonably necessary and relevant to an investigation being conducted by the licensing board pertaining to the individual's involvement in the incident under review by the advisory committee. Information released to an occupational licensing board retains its confidentiality and is not subject to discovery or use in any civil action as provided in this subsection. The occupational licensing board shall keep the information confidential subject to this subsection.

(f) Duties. - The advisory committee shall do the following:

(1) Assess the nursing home's pharmaceutical management system, including its prescribing, distribution, administration policies, procedures, and practices and identify areas at high risk for medication-related errors.

(2) Review the nursing home's pharmaceutical management goals and respond accordingly to ensure that these goals are being met.

(3) Review, investigate, and respond to nursing home incident reports, deficiencies cited by licensing or credentialing agencies, and resident grievances that involve actual or potential medication-related errors.

(4) Identify goals and recommendations to implement best practices and procedures, including risk reduction technology, to improve patient safety by reducing the risk of medication-related errors.

(5) Develop recommendations to establish a mandatory, nonpunitive, confidential reporting system within the nursing home of actual and potential medication-related errors.

(6) Develop specifications for drug dispensing and administration documentation procedures to ensure compliance with federal and State law, including the North Carolina Nursing Practice Act.

(7) Develop specifications for self-administration of drugs by qualified patients in accordance with law, including recommendations for assessment procedures that identify patients who may be qualified to self-administer their medications.

(g) Penalty. - The Department may take adverse action against the license of a nursing home upon a finding that the nursing home has failed to comply with this section, G.S. 131E-128.2, 131E-128.3, or 131E-128.4. (2003-393, s. 1; 2013-360, s. 12G.2(a), (b).)